Pick-and-carry (PnC) cranes with capacities of 12 tonne and above account for 70-80 per cent of the total PnC population. Anil Bhatia, Vice President - Sales & Marketing, TIL Ltd, elaborates on the market and technology trends.
What is the current market scenario for pick-and-carry cranes in India?
Pick-and-carry cranes are used for a wide range of material handling tasks and are capable of travelling good a distance on roads, i.e., they have good inter-site mobility. Owing to their lower price in comparison to other types of cranes, the pick-and-carry crane is extremely popular in the price-sensitive Indian market and comprises over 90 per cent of the total market for mobile cranes in the country. Infrastructural development and the impending expansion of the ports sector are expected to be the primary drivers of demand for pick-and-carry cranes in India. In addition, an uptick of activity in other core sectors like steel, cement, mining, power, etc, would also generate some incremental demand.
What is the change in approach from customers on factors such as load capacity, boom height, horizontal reach, mobility etc?
Intermediate travelling capability/inter-site mobility, ability to manoeuvre around tight corners, and a product price that would make rental operations viable - these are the essential considerations that go into the customer's choice of a pick-and-carry crane. Safety of operations is now an additional factor, especially in light of the stringent safety compliances of some big contractors and developers. Customer needs are what necessitated the inception of the category in the first place, and those needs remain the same as outlined. On the said parameters, pick-and-carry cranes have load capacities ranging from 9 to 25 tonne. Average height of lift varies between 6 m and 18 m. Horizontal reach is commensurate to boom length. And of course, mobility and manoeuvrability are the defining traits of the pick-and-carry category. Going forward, customer preference is expected to shift from the popular Hydra segment to the safer pick-and-carry cranes.
Please elaborate on your new product range. What are the new design changes / modification done in your range with regard to safety, ease of mobility, and ease of maintenance?
TIL has introduced the PIXEF® 215, a versatile hydraulic mobile crane and the first of its kind in the 15 tonne multitasking pick-and-carry crane segment. Equipped with a range of innovative features like the 360o non-continuous slew, carry deck, microprocessor-controlled safety system, etc, the PIXEF is a statement in safety, productivity, superior technology and performance, complemented with the unmatched product support and service from TIL. It is the ideal choice for rental, construction, mining, shipping, oil refineries, heavy industries and engineering sectors in India. The crane is fabricated from high tensile steel plates and sections. The boom is 6 m-13 m three-section, full power and fully synchronised through single double acting ram with lacing chain to ensure proportional telescoping of boom under single lever operating control. The slew system consists of a hydraulic motor, driving a pinion through double reduction gear unit. The pinion meshes with internally cut slew ring gear for 360¦ smooth and precise non-continuous rotation. The PIXEF is equipped with a load moment indicator (LMI) with an anti-two block system that assists the operator in efficient operation of the crane within the permissible limits of the load chart. The display panel shows the maximum load allowed, the actual hook load, length and angle of the boom and load radius in numerical values and provides a load utilisation bar graph. For non-permitted conditions, the LMI will warn the operator with an alarm and a warning light, automatically locking out all functions of the crane to prevent any possible accident.
What is the current demand-supply scenario?
Pick-and-carry cranes have a wide range of applications in the material handling business, viz, loading, unloading and shifting of materials on construction sites; erection jobs, e.g. in steel plants; timber handling; and general material handling in industrial yards and shipyards. And the requirement is across sectors, viz. power, steel, cement, railways, roads, mining, etc. Pick-and-carry cranes with capacities of 12 tonne and above account for 70-80 per cent of the total PnC population and the majority of them are owned by the contractor - hirer segment. Sales of pick-and-carry cranes are much higher than other varieties of mobile cranes, obviously owing to the fact that they account for over 90 per cent of the total mobile crane market. And the distribution is either direct by way of company-owned offices or through dealers with pan-India networks.
What are the future growth potential and the major growth drivers?
Overall, the mobile crane market has remained in slowdown mode over the last few years. However, sales of material handling equipment in general are expected to rise in tandem with the impending revival of the infrastructure sector. With the National Highways Authority of India planning to invest around Rs 16 lakh crore in road projects over the next five years, many new opportunities are also expected to open up for cranes very soon. The ambitious Sagarmala project and the proposed development of dedicated freight corridors (DFC) will also open up new avenues. There is also likely to be increased applications for material handling equipment in mining, defence projects, Metro projects and hiring contracts. Furthermore, we can see good traction in recent sectoral developments in oil, steel, cement, etc. All these combined together should give us the desired growth to the mobile cranes sector. As for pick-and-carry cranes in particular, demand is likely to shift towards higher capacity cranes. The demand for machines with over 12 tonne capacity is expected to grow and the 14-16 tonne machines will continue to remain popular. Overall, demand is likely to grow annually by 10-15 per cent over the next five-year horizon.
'Sales of pick-and-carry cranes are much higher than other varieties of mobile cranes, as they account for over 90 per cent of the total mobile crane market.'