In light of the various infrastructure development initiatives by our government and expansion plans declared by various related agencies, the Bulk Material Handling Equipment (BMHE) sector is already witnessing quantum jumps in the market and expects this momentum to continue.
India has one of the largest natural mineral resources in the world. As such, wet and dry bulk handling has been a prime industry for the past several centuries. Over this long period, this industry has progressively adopted the latest equipment, technologies and methods to achieve high productivity, operational excellence, safety and cost efficiency. In light of the various infrastructure development initiatives by our government and expansion plans declared by various related agencies, the BMHE sector is already witnessing quantum jumps in the market and expects this momentum to continue.
Major paradigm shift to privatisation from government controlled operations earlier, for bulk handling in ports, mines and other sectors, will further pressurise the BMHE suppliers to deliver cheaper, better and more efficient equipment or even provide upgrades for existing set ups, in order to enable them optimise operating efficiencies.
Market trend: bullish
In absence of the availability of authentic data on BMHE business, it is not possible to present the existing and predicted business volumes or percentage growth figures for this sector. However, on examining the existing business opportunities and further growth prospects, it would be safe to assume a growth in double digits, spread over the next decade or so. Industry players opine along similar lines.
Nishant Jain, Head- Business Development, Rollwell Group of Companies confidently states, ¨The outlook for BMHE is bullish given the fact that India is poised to develop major infrastructure in construction, roads, ports and power. The government has announced construction of 25 km of road per day till 2016 and 30 km thereafter which will boost infrastructure development and thus consumption. The power industry is just waiting to get into top gear once the coal allocations get streamlined and some of the land acquisition issues are resolved. Most environmental related clearances have been already obtained and thus the cement and power industry will truly drive the BMHE.¨ However, he cautions, ¨Since the BMHE industry caters to core industries like cement, power, steel, ports etc, it is highly dependent on policy matters and health of the economy at large. The BMHE industry cannot scale up or down rapidly and at the same time maintain the quality, price and service levels which are expected from it. Thus a streamlined environment policy and clear roadmap for the economy is mandatory for the industry to thrive and survive. Having said that, the potential for infrastructure development in India is tremendous, we are a power hungry nation and there is no way this development will be stalled, it will only grow leaps and bounds and so will the need for BMHE to cater to the same.¨ Sameer Gandhi, Director, Gandhi Automations, visualises, ¨New generation material handling equipment will be computer aided. I see Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) future of bulk material handling. AGVs are material handling equipment that are used to move or transport goods, parts and materials between workstations, work centres and other material handling machines.¨ He adds, ¨Infrastructure growth is improving in India, new corporate houses are in expansion process and we see tremendous opportunity in coming years. Growth for our sector will be around 15 per cent, with passage of GST Bill in Parliament we are happy now.¨
Amol Garbhe, Key Account Manager, HBC-Radiomatic India Pvt Ltd confirms, ¨The market is growing. A clear indication is the entry of new players in this segment. With new government´s clear policy on coal mines, the sector will be open more. So the demand is going to increase.¨ On a cautionary note, he says, ¨The market condition is good for us. It is growing as compared to 2015-16. The major issue in India is the price consciousness. Also, the supply of Taiwan-based equipment which are not safe in operation has major population. But its good sign from the customer that they are now willing to opt for the safe systems like HBC radio remotes for their operation. This is very positive sign for us.¨
Innovations vs customer profile
Customer expectations are changing in line with the rapid business environment, competition, operational paradigms etc. Each player in its own specific space of products is continuously assessing the changed expectations and developing solutions to suitably address their challenges.
Jain mentions, ¨We have been innovating through introducing newer products, better material and changes in design. We introduced high speed conveyor idlers, low friction rollers for pipe conveyors, large pulleys of 2 m and above widths, domes for coal and limestone storage and circular roofs for petroleum tanks in india in the last seven years. We believe innovation is the key to ensure operational excellence and profitability.¨ He adds, ¨Our USP has been the life and performance of our equipment. However, lower costs, shorter lead times and innovation are the current expectations from the customers.¨ He proudly elaborates, ¨We primarily offer equipment for bulk material handling and storage. We are one of the leaders for belt conveyors and the largest conveyor idler manufacturer in India. We were the first company in India to develop conveyor idlers for high speed conveying of 7 m/sec and above. We designed, supplied and installed the first aluminium dome in India for limestone storage at Madras Cements. We recently completed India´s biggest covered pet coke storage facility at Reliance Industries. We are currently working on many pet coke/coal storage and handling solutions. All these developments have been made by using innovative technologies whereby the end objectives are met and CAPEX and OPEX is kept within control. We are catering to almost 85 per cent of the cement companies in India today and 80 per cent of private integrated steel plans along with major power plants and ports. In the coming years we expect power and cement sector to really fuel demand for BMHE.¨
¨Domestic market has understood the necessity of material handling products, few years back there was resistance to upgrade facilities with technologies, I have found people are embracing technology. People have understood the amount of time saved and efficiency achieved is far more important than one time capital expenditure¨ says Gandhi. On innovative aspect he explains, ¨Innovation is continuous process at Gandhi Automations all our products are customised as per order. We have come up with innovative product self-repairing high speed door. Prime Reset is a unique high-speed self-repairing door with the latest technology that prevents downtime of the door system. In case the curtain is impacted accidentally it will cause the curtain to move out of the guides without damage. The movement of the door is designed in such a way it can be recovered with a simple opening and closing operation. Gandhi Automations manufactures doors of the highest quality that meet the issue for greater flexibility desired by clients. High-speed self-repairing door in PVC is the most suitable solution in the field industries, it lowers the time of transition from one facility to another, avoiding any human error which can cause damage to the high speed door, and all this thanks to the innovative Anti Crash System. Gandhi Automations provides a world class product with great security.¨
Garbhe´s standpoints are, ¨The expectations from the OEMs are increasing. In order to cut down their costs, they always pressurise to match their price level expectations. But at the same time they don´t want to compromise on safety and features. We offer the wireless radio remote controls to operate EOT cranes, bulk material handling equipments. The concern for the safety of the operator is always major issue in the mines are. Therefore, more and more equipments manufacturers are going for the wireless radio controls.¨ He mentions on innovation, ¨Innovations are the key to success at HBC. Based on our customer feedback, we always try to improve our products to suit the market demand. The result is high success ration to win the customer confidence.¨
Gandhi presents his point of view, ¨Dock leveler, dock shelter and sectional overhead door are the products which are used in warehouse these are absolutely necessary for warehouse. Our major customers are from pharmaceutical, construction, automobile, manufacturing industries. All these industries have big warehouses and need are products. Pharma industry will give boost to our products in coming years.
Bulk material handling and the related equipment significantly contribute to the well being of the core industry, which is a major contributor to our GDP. Growth plans from biggies like Coal India to achieve a coal production one billion tonnes, privatised mining and infrastructure growth will be major demand drivers of this equipment category. On the other hand more domestic and international players are expected to enter this sector. Eventually, only the best and most innovative will be winners.
Commonly used BMHE
- Large wheel loaders
- Mobile cranes
- Port crane
- EOT crane
- Purpose-built material handler
Essar´s Iron Ore Handling Facility at Vizag Port
Essar´s iron-ore handling terminal at Vizag Port is boosting third-party business and displaying project and operations prowess in port sector.
Post the taking over of Visakhapatnam Port Trust´s (VPT´s) Iron Ore Handling Complex (OHC) on a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) basis for a period of 30 years in May 2015, Essar Vizag Terminals Limited (EVTL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Essar Ports Limited (EPL) has boosted the EPL´s strategy of diversifying its customer profile. Through addition of this facility EPL has seen its third-party cargo share jump to more than 8 per cent in FY 16 alone with the likes of JSW, NMDC/ MMTC etc. Once upgraded, the mechanised system will be able to reach a capacity of 8,000TPH, which will be one of the highest cargo-handling rate in Indian Major Ports.
During QI FY 17, EVTL handled 2.19 MT (29 vessels) of cargo as against 0.31 MT (06 vessels) in Q1 of FY16 on the backdrop of improving Indian steel sector performance and project upgradation works. EVTL is now operating with a net average loading rate of 3,000 TPH as against <1,000 TPH during Q1 of FY16 and is targeting to achieve 4,000 TPH by Q2 of FY 17 along with simultaneous project upgradation.
Essar´s iron-ore handling terminal at Vizag Port is an all-weather deep draft facility that has the wherewithal to serve the rapidly growing markets of South-East Asia, including China, Japan, and Korea. It can accommodate super capesize vessels and has dedicated rail-connectivity with Bacheli and Kirandal mining sources by which the facility has an advantage to serve western-sector of India. It is also integrated with its Essar Steel (pellet plant) in Vizag through a fully mechanised conveying facility with 6.7 km shipping conveyor system.
Commenting on this Rajiv Agarwal, Managing Director, Essar Ports said, ¨The iron-ore terminal in Vizag Port had successfully started its operations from May 2015 and has been undertaking simultaneous operations and project works with excellent outcomes. The terminal has boosted the third-party business and enhanced Essar Port´s presence on the east coast of India. Decades of experience of Essar in ports sector has been the foundation which has helped deliver significant improvements in the Vizag facility in such a short time.¨