The ongoing developments in the mining and ports segments are driving the demand for efficient material handling equipment with long lasting performance.
Bulk material handling systems are mainly used in coal and mineral processing applications, ports for handling bulk cargo, food processing, sand, gravel, etc. Conveyor systems are the majorly used bulk material handling equipment. Conveyors are mechanically operated material handling equipment, used to transport material. They provide a quick and effective transportation solution with a high degree of safety. Different types of conveyors used as bulk material handling systems include belt conveyors, screw conveyors, pipe conveyors, apron conveyors etc. There are also equipment such as stackers/reclaimers, hoppers and chutes used in bulk material handling. Equipment such as wheel loaders are also used in mining sites and ports to handle bulk materials. In India, bulk material handling application is steadily getting traction with increased production of coal, minerals, cement etc, and the bulk cargo handling at various ports.
Products and applications
The major industries that use bulk material handling equipments are ports, mining, thermal power, steel, cement, sugar and fertilisers. The customers in these segments are now looking for equipment that provide speed, volume and prolonged service. Says Avinash Goyal, Managing Director, ROLLWELL Conveyor Components, 'Customers today are expecting high speed conveyors to convey larger volume and longer distances, which has been supported very largely by ROLLWELL and its team.' ROLLWELL is into design and manufacture of bulk material handling equipment with specialisation in belt conveyors, pipe conveyors, screw conveyors, chain conveyors and roller conveyors for suitable applications including flow control equipment for conveyors such as rotary air lock valves; varied types of gates such as flap gates, sector gates, rod gates, rack and pinion gate, etc; bucket elevators, apron feeders, belt weigh feeders, packing plant equipment mainly bag diverters; and wagon, truck, trailer loading machines (with hanging type option). 'ROLLWELL has a capacity to manufacture 30,000-40,000 rollers per month along with 10,000 frames and 1,000 pulleys depending on size of the same. We also have capacity to handle fabrication of up to 200 tonnes per month,' says Goyal.
The major demand drivers of these products are large establishments in ports, steel and cement sector. ROLLWELL caters to almost all the big names in cement and steel industry such as FLSmidth, Tenova India, Ambuja Cement, Ultratech Cement, Tata Steel, JSW, Essar Group, Ramco, Chettinad etc. 'We have also approvals from BHEL ISG, NTPC, Mecon, etc,' claims Goyal.
ROLLWELL has done several large projects including the successful completion of the project for JSW Jaigarh Port with belt conveyor handling 11,000 TPH at belt speed of 4.5 m/sec in 2017, which is one of the most recent reputed installations in the country.
Says Charchit Mishra, Director, Orissa Stevedores, 'We have wheel loaders, reach stackers, dumpers, material handling cranes and conveyor systems under different variants (in tonnage) in our fleet for bulk material handling. Mining across various segments like coal, iron ore, limestone and other minerals are the major demand drivers. Other industrial sectors of shipyards, refineries and chemicals too add to the demand.' The company and its associates own a fleet of about 200 equipment from LiuGong.
Shoumik Bose, Managing Director, Ripley Group says, 'We have a fleet of around 500 equipment consisting of dumpers, wheel loaders, etc under different variants (in terms of tonnage) for the bulk material handling, along with other equipment such as excavators, forklifts and cranes. The primary materials being handled presently by us are coal, iron ore, chemicals, etc.' Ripley Group handles cargo in four major ports across India.
With the industry is maturing, major players in the user segment are looking for advanced handling system that provides productivity and economy to the users. Keeping this in mind, equipment OEMs are bringing in innovations to the existing product range while introducing latest systems into the new product range. According to Goyal, ROLLWELL has constantly focused on bringing about improvements in its products manufactured, which has brought in the faith of its customers for large volume business. He adds, 'The company has several proprietary improvements made in its production line and raw material quality, which has resulted in its excellence and profitably shall follow in due course of time.'
Mishra sees a lot of new developments in products and technologies in bulk material handling segment as he says, 'With mechanisation of ports, the demand for equipment with the latest and updated technology is need of the hour. Telematics combined with
GPS and load sensors being one of these, higher capacity equipment
such as cranes and loaders are the prime requirements.'
Says Bose, 'In this highly competitive market, higher tonnage and IT-enabled equipment are in demand. Furthermore, equipment with low owning cost and high fuel economy add value.'
Ports sector is coming up with many bulk cargo handling facilities where a lot of bulk handling equipment will be required. Also there are many stalled projects which have stated taking off in other sectors as well such as cement and power. Goyal states, 'Presently, there are several projects, which were on hold for a long time, being taken up for completion. Hence, we perceive a rapid growth and opportunity in the field of bulk material handling equipment.'
According to Bose, mining across various segments like coal, iron ore, limestone and other minerals are the major demand drivers. Other industrial segments of shipyards, refineries, chemicals and pharmaceuticals too add to the demand.
Challenges and opportunities
Goyal sees some challenges and opportunities for the sector, 'The challenge faced presently and in the past, has always been the unorganised and unrelated manufacturers who claim to deliver quality at lower costs and have no substance. The new opportunity is for achieving and delivering the requirements of high-speed, low-TIR and long-distance conveyors. There is also good potential for export.'
Mishra explains the few challenges the user industry is facing. 'Bulk material handling is a roller coaster ride as it is majorly dependent on government policies. More demand means more utilisation of the machine and vice versa. Also, owning and operating cost is the major challenge.'
Bose elaborates on the challenges and opportunities in the market, 'As this business is purely dependent on government policies, the best bidder wins. Any operator who loses the bid, owning cost of equipment is the major challenge. By owning LiuGong fleet of wheel loaders, we save a lot on owning and operating cost, thereby making the project viability.'
According to Goyal, the market for next five years will see good opportunity and scope for companies which will be able to deliver quality products and meet the customer requirements. The economy has been slow for a long time and therefore it is time for the industry to revive with growth post recession.'
Mishra elaborates, 'With the present government's commitment and entry of more private players, mining sector is poised for growth. Other industries like chemical and pharmaceutical too would add to the growth. With the opening of more ports in eastern region and under Sagarmala project, more materials would be transported through ports, thereby giving a solid boost to bulk material handling.'
Bose elaborates on the outlook for bulk material handling equipment with new opportunities emerging from ports sector. 'Ports handle almost 95 per cent of total international trade volume of India. The combined capacity of all the present ports together is expected to be about 2,500 million metric tonne (MMT) by 2025 from the present capacity of 1,765 MMT. The government also expects the private sector to invest over Rs 2 trillion in the next ten years out of which, approximately Rs 36,000 crore will be towards expansion of major ports and for the development of non-major and intermediate ports. All this would definitely give a boost to bulk material handling equipment.'
Bulk material handling segment has all the possibilities to grow in future considering the developments anticipated with new bulk handling terminals and setting up of new bulk handling equipment in the existing facilities. In mining, the scenario is still to improve with the sector is still to come out of the mining ban in certain states. Privatisation of commercial coal mining is expected to further improve the scenario of bulk material handling equipment. All in all, the bulk material handling equipment sector looks positive with the overall development plans in various industry sectors.