We are offering concrete pumps with a output range of 40 cu m/hr to 140 cu m/hr. Also, the various models of pumps offered by us can pump concrete up to a height of 450 m. All the concrete pumps offered by us are equipped with an automatic centralised lubrication system which ensures proper and timely lubrication, says Rajesh Kawoor, Vice President (Concrete Business), Universal Construction Machinery & Equipment. Excerpts from the interview.
How do you assess the recent budget and its positive implication on the CE sector?
The announcements in the recent budget relating to infrastructure are an indication of possible positive growth for the construction equipment. After looking at the progress for the last couple of years, we will have to wait and watch to see the impact of budget announcements on the construction equipment industry.
What was the impact of the slowdown on the concrete equipment segment? What sort of overall growth are you expecting?
There was definitely an impact of the slowdown on the concrete equipment sector, including concrete pumps. The impact has prevented a positive growth in the concrete equipment industry, but on the other side, there was no major decline in the concrete equipment sector.
The overall growth in the coming years will purely depend on projects taking off and investments coming in. As far as concrete pumps are concerned, there will be a big demand because the market trend shows there is lot of mechanisation taking place in the industry. If everything happens as per plans, then we are expecting a minimum annual growth of 25 per cent. We expect that the infrastructure sector will drive the growth of overall concrete equipment industry, whereas the real estate segment, along with the power segment, will drive the growth of concrete pumps.
Will you be going in for the 15 per cent exemption on investment on plant and machinery as recently announced in the Union Budget?
We will be checking the announcement as to its benefits. However, our investment will totally depend on our internal budgets and long-term investment plans.
The competition has become very intense. What is your take on this?
Looking at the prospective future of infrastructure in India, many international manufacturers have already set up their operations here and we also expect some more manufacturers to enter the market. With the fierce completion, only the manufacturers who can supply the equipment and maintain the highest quality levels with a lower operating cost, will survive. As far as Universal is concerned, we are benchmarking only the top manufacturers and we provide the machines in line with the similar products offered by these manufacturers; hence we do not see any panicky situation due to increased competition.
Is there any shift in terms of technology trends and user patterns in the concrete pumping industry?
If we look at the technology adopted in concrete pumps in the past, we have experience a vast improvement in recent years. The international concrete pump manufacturers are now able to offer a vast range of concrete pumps for various applications without compromising on quality.
In the past, the concrete pumps were used mainly in metros and major cities only. In recent years, we have seen the increase in demand of concrete pumps in the Tier II and Tier III cities. Also, in the past the concrete pumps were mainly used by big corporates but now these pumps are also used by medium and small contractors.
To what extent has the concrete industry come up with pumpable concrete?
There is an awareness coming in about the pumpable concrete. As concrete pumps are used on a larger scale compared to the past, users are paying more attention to pumpable concrete, to avoid pumping problems. The choking issue is reducing day by day. If the pumpable concrete parameters and concrete pump manufacturers' recommendations are followed, then the chances of concrete choking are negligible.
Does Universal provide pumping services?
At present, we are not providing pumping services. Depending on the market situation in future, we may take a call on this. In India, concrete pumping services are offered on a very small scale compared to developed countries. In the developed countries, pumping services are operated professionally and the quantity of concrete pumps is substantial compared to the contracting companies.
What is the demand-supply scenario for stationary and line pumps?
Currently, due to the market trend, there is a gap in the demand-supply scenario. With the progress of the construction industry, the demand for concrete pumps will increase substantially. Considering the future of the concrete pump industry, major concrete pump manufacturers have already built up capacities or are in the process of doing so.
To what extent has the concept of boom pumps caught on?
The concept of boom pumps is very well accepted by users in India and we see a good demand coming up for boom pumps in the future. The demand for boom pumps will mainly increase for time-bound projects. As we see the increase in independent townships coming up, the requirement for boom pumps will be on a rise. The increasing number of power projects will add to the demand for boom pumps.
What is the range of concrete pumps offered by Universal?
We are offering concrete pumps with an output range of 40 to 140 cu m/hr. Also, the various models of pumps offered by us can pump concrete up to a height of 450 m. All the concrete pumps offered by us are equipped with an automatic centralised lubrication system which ensures proper and timely lubrication. All the models offered are equipped with hydraulic accumulator which avoids overloading on the hydraulic systems. The concrete pumps offered by us are of the highest quality and most fuel-efficient, as also easy to maintain with a low maintenance cost.
What is the potential for concrete distributors?
We do not see any substantial demand in concrete distributors due to the usage limitations. As the users are looking towards faster job execution, they may consider the use of boom pumps keeping in mind the long term investments.
How fuel/energy efficient are Universal's concrete pumps?
The hydraulic system adopted by us avoids overload on the engine which ensures low fuel consumption in comparison to the pumps offered in the market. As we are competing with top manufacturers internationally, our designs are with the latest technology which ensures the highest level of reliability.
How has Universal addressed the issue of high noise level while the pumps are in operation?
The sound level of our concrete pumps is already within the prescribed limits and has not faced any complaints.
How have you addressed the problem of skilled technicians and operators for these products?
We have already addressed this issue and have set up a Knowledge Centre which is approved by CIDC. Our Knowledge Centre imparts practical as well as classroom training to the technicians and operators on a regular basis.
Tell us about your strength in the after sales and service.
We have one of the largest sales and service network through more than 75 offices and representations in India.
Is there any new model on the anvil?
We do not have any new products to be introduced in India but we are in discussions to launch a new product range shortly. Once we finalise the new product range, we will announce the same, maybe in the next couple of months.