Steel industry has the toughest and most demanding operating conditions. Equipment India finds out intelligent lifting solutions offered by major players.
Lifting equipment in the steel industry is subject to the roughest conditions like extremely high and variable ambient temperatures, difficult and heavy loads, as well as ever-changing and gruelling operations. Major players like Konecranes and Demag Cranes offer a wide range of reliable and versatile crane systems and other material handling solutions specially designed to operate under such extreme conditions.
Konecranes continually invests in research and development to ensure they offer the most effective and environmentally conscious lifting equipment for the steel industry. They also design customised equipment to meet customers´ unique requirements. Furthermore, their cranes can be equipped with automation function options, which, according to Saeesh Nevrekar, Country Manager, WMI Konecranes India, enable safety and also lead to better productivity
According to Saeesh, the steel industry has the toughest and most demanding operating conditions. He says, ¨Cranes are an integral part of steel mills. Industrial cranes are heavily relied on for work in extreme and varied conditions of steel mills. Even a single day of disruption in work can cost steel mills hugely. With so much at stake on a single machine, a lot of thought goes into buying cranes. Crane demand is directly proportional to the steel production capacity of the steel mill. There are many crane manufacturers in India who make cranes for the steel industry but when it comes to large capacity, stringent conditions and advanced automated cranes, only a few can provide them.¨
Speaking about growth drives, Vidyakant Miraje, Business Head-Process Cranes, Demag Cranes and Components (I), had this to say, ¨The growth drivers are basically, demand in other industries and inter alia per capita consumption of steel such as construction, infrastructure ´ bridges, dams, and buildings, automobile, general engineering, and railways. Currently all the above industries are facing a growth setback, thus paralysing demand for steel. The depreciated rupee, though, is an encouragement for export of steel. In our estimate, the impact of the slowdown and the shortage of raw material (ore) has constrained steel plants to operate at an average growth of 1-3 per cent this year as against the estimated growth of 9 per cent.¨
Vidyakant adds, ¨Steel manufacturers like SAIL, RINL, IISCO, Tata, JSW, JSPL, JSL, Essar, Bhushan, account for almost 80 per cent steel production of crude plus finished steel. Most of the major expansion projects taken up by manufacturers like SAIL, Tata, Essar are in an advanced stage of implementation or completion. Hence, a bulk of the crane and other material handling requirement for these plants is already procured.¨ Vidyakant then says, ¨A few projects related to the melt-shop, sinter plant, WRM, BRM are still underway and are likely to generate demand and excitement among crane manufacturers. Our estimate of these requirements is around Rs 300-400 crore.¨
According to Vidyakant, the governing codes are fairly up-to-date but lack encouraging optimization, which results in overweight, bulkier and higher power consuming equipment. Safety norms are based on age- old practices and completely outdated, he avers, saying they are, in fact, far from the norm followed in technologically advanced countries like Europe and the US.
Saeesh sums up the scene thus. ¨The future trend in material handling systems will be towards lighter, higher-efficiency equipment. The power consumption, material of construction, operating noise levels and eco-friendly features of this equipment will play a big role while introducing new products into the market.¨