Zoomlion has the second biggest population of installed tower cranes in the country across all segments. Over 550 Zoomlion tower cranes are working on various sites across India. The Zoomlion- ElectroMech joint venture aims to build on this strong base, says Tushar Mehendale, Managing Director, Electromech. Excerpts from the interview.
How do you assess the market potential for tower cranes in India?
Our estimate pegs the total demand for tower cranes in India to be approximately 600 units. Of these, 85-90 per cent of the demand is from the real estate construction sector, while the remaining comes from power, steel and cement. The total market size in terms of revenue is approximately Rs 450 crore.
Could you specify the growth potential for tower cranes from different verticals?
The current demand for tower cranes from the power, steel and cement sectors in India is quite low, amounting to only 25-30 units per year. The real estate sector drives the maximum demand and is expected to continue growing at 15-20 per cent per year. The fertiliser industry and ports segment currently generate negligible demand.
To what extent has the economic slowdown impacted growth?
The economic slowdown has certainly affected overall growth in the country. We don't foresee a revival till the next general elections, after which, a lot of uncertainty regarding economic policies should be alleviated. However, the real estate construction sector, which is the main driver for the tower cranes business, is still going strong and hasn't really been affected. This is primarily due to the huge shortfall in residential units that keeps real estate construction going.
Are there any specific regions or verticals that drive the demand for tower cranes?
There is certainly a large disparity in the demand for tower cranes from various regions as well as verticals. As mentioned earlier, just the real estate construction sector generates 85-90 per cent of the total demand for tower cranes in India. Region-wise, north India accounts for 45 per cent of the demand, western India 30 per cent, south India 20 per cent and east India, 5 per cent.
Does Electromech offer all the three major Zoomlion models?
Yes, the Zoomlion-ElectroMech joint venture offers the entire range of Zoomlion tower cranes in India.
There seems to be a certain pattern to accidents. What is your take on this?
Accidents involving any kind of equipment are primarily caused when safety norms are bypassed. It is important that proper training is provided to operators to ensure that the equipment is operated within safe parameters to avoid any untoward incidents. In addition to proper training, operators should carry out visual checks on a regular basis to ensure that structural joints and components such as the wire ropes are in good shape. Safety limit switches should not be neglected under any circumstance. Care should also be taken that the tower crane should not be operated when the wind speed increases beyond a pre-determined safe value.
How important is proper periodic maintenance?
Periodic maintenance and visual inspections ensure that the crane is always in good condition for proper functioning. Zoomlion-ElectroMech provides training for operators, maintenance personnel and site supervisors to ensure that proper guidelines for safety are followed.
/How supportive are the existing safety norms for tower cranes?
India does not have any existing safety norms for tower cranes. Safety is the prerogative of the end-user. The supplier plays an important role by training buyers on the proper use and maintenance of the crane.
Could you brief us on the frequency control hoisting mechanism used in the tower cranes?
Frequency control is a very important feature, especially for high capacity cranes. Used in all movement, ie, slewing, trolley and hoisting, frequency control ensures lower energy consumption and very smooth operation. While typically seen frequently in high capacity cranes, this feature is now becoming common in lower capacity cranes as well.
Which capacity range is the fastest moving in India?
The 5013 model is the most in demand tower crane in India. The demand for this type of crane comes exclusively from the real estate construction sector.
What is the current market trend as far as rentals of tower cranes are concerned?
Renting tower cranes is still in its nascent stages in the Indian construction industry; however, it is growing at a steady pace. We estimate that revenues from tower crane rentals will account for 15 per cent of total revenues generated by the tower crane industry in the next three to four years.
Any new Zoomlion model expected to be launched?
Zoomlion is a research-driven company with several firsts under its belt. As joint venture partners, one can expect any new model developed by Zoomlion to be available in the Indian market as well.