23 October 2019

Highrise Handlers

Upping the ante

 

With India’s structural developments becoming more vertically inclined, the focus is now more on the scope of lifting equipment. High rise structures and skyscrapers have today emerged more as a necessity of urban development rather than an aesthetic appeal, mainly due to growing space constraints. The sprawling opportunities arising out of the verticalisation has led to the lifting equipment industry being dubbed ‘High Rise Handlers’ reports Prerna Sharma.

 

Backed by government initiatives like ‘Make in India’, the Indian vertical lifting equipment space has attracted numerous multinationals. While tower cranes and forklifts still dominate the material handling equipment market, a noteworthy change is being increasingly seen in the usage of niche machineries like aerial work platforms, articulated lifts, telescopic booms and telehandlers. This new change in the lifting equipment market has even encouraged construction equipment majors like JCB recently showcased three of its world-class range of material handling product solutions namely telehandlers, skid steer loaders and super loaders. Vipin Sondhi, MD & CEO, JCB India Ltd., stated, “We are delighted to showcase our wide range of ‘Made in India’ material handling products solutions for the Indian market. The industry is now progressing towards more safe and reliable practices and through these revolutionary products we foresee a great opportunity to replicate the global best practices in the material handling industry. Over the years, we have been witnessing a growing need for technologically advanced and intelligent product solutions in this industry. With the three product solutions, JCB is leading this paradigm shift in India. This world class range is a perfect combination of safety, productivity and versatility.”

 

 

DEMAND & POPULARITY

Infrastructure development has a direct impact on various sectors of the economy. The need for better infrastructure leads to high demand for telehandlers, as they can be useful in a wide range of construction activities. Massive spending on infrastructure construction projects, mining activities, and growth in industrial activity in all BRIC nations have made a positive impact on the telehandler market. Economic conditions of these nations will continue to boom, which in turn will boost the market for telehandlers in these countries.The other noteworthy change being witnessed in the vertical lifting equipment industry is due to the growing popularity of new-age construction materials and practices like precast products, pre-engineering buildings and demand for on-site installation of structures. These opportunities have particularly raised the demand for advanced and safe equipment like aerial work platforms, telehandlers and telescopic boom lifts, scissor lift etc., popularly known as ‘Access Equipment. Of these vibrant niche equipment, telescopic booms are the products most in demand in Indian construction space. Such niche lifting equipment have already established their supremacy in developed economies like the USA, Europe, Singapore and Japan. As per industry analysts, one of the major causes hindering the growth of the operation of specific equipment is the wide disparity ratio between man-to-machine communications as against USA and European nations.

 

“The concept of aerial work platforms and tele-handlers is new to the  Indian market. The easy availability of pick and carry cranes and costs associated with vertical lifting equipment has resulted in low demand,” opines Anil Lingayat, EVP and Business Head, Godrej Material Handling. He further adds that the growth for such niche equipment can be driven only with the increased focus on safety in construction and maintenance activities.

 

CHALLENGES

A major concern faced in the vertical lifting equipment market is the rising presence of unorganised manufacturers with the evolving opportunities. At the other end of the spectrum is the domination of the market by a handful of multinational construction equipment manufacturers. Over 40 per cent of the total market by value is dominated today by a handful of reputed names in the organised sector while the remainder is shared by more than 250 small crane manufacturing firms.

 

“A key challenge is from the Chinese players. The market is flooded with their products. The importance attached to safety is still not as high as we want it to be. People only focus on investing on the initial cost and fail to understand the real value of quality products. Creating technical awareness among customers is a major challenge. Dependence on manual workforce is another key barrier which needs to be brought down. We need stringent norms to maintain safety in the construction sector,” says Dr Vikram Mehta, MD, Spartan Engineering Industries Pvt Ltd.

 

 

ELECTRONIC INTELLIGENCE

Rising market opportunities and the need to execute projects within a stipulated time has enhanced the need for technically superior lifting equipment. Incorporating electronic intelligence is one such trend being embraced by manufacturers.

 

Says PV Ramdev, MD, Everest Engineering Equipment, “SYM tower cranes are designed to sustain very high wind velocity. The best and powerful technology in slewing operation (Rotating operation) is with RCV control. The VFD slewing system also can cross the wind if the design of the mechanism and VFD program match together to meet the permissible operational wind velocity. Otherwise the crane cannot cross the wind with a lifted load, and has to stop operation many times a day. If the heavy wind is in the same direction of rotation, then it is very difficult to stop the rotation at desired location. Therefore, an eddy current braking system is necessary on the slewing operation. During the holidays and non-working days, a weather wane system has to be actuated to make the crane rotate freely according to the direction of wind. The display boards on the counter jib are meant for the balancing of weather wane. Some customers are modifying this board to display their company name / project name and are actually calling for operational accidents.”

 

Godrej MHE’s Merlo telehandlers come with Boom Suspension System (BSS) which hydraulically dampens force at boom and Electronic Active System (EAS) that ensures stabilisers to adjust itself through hydro-pneumatic dampeners. “These equipment are electronically driven which means operator pushes accelerator pedal and all other parameters such as engine rpm, hydraulic pressure are maintained to provide maximum output from the machine. This can save fuel up to 30 per cent,” says Lingayat. Going further, the company has also launched a hybrid range in its product line.

 

JLG, another major involved in the sector has all its equipment drive systems on electric mode instead of the conventional systems. The lifting equipment major also offers a unique Mobile Analyzer, a diagnostic tool is designed especially to give technicians remote access to program, troubleshoot, calibrate or customise the JLG equipment performance. The Wi-Fi enabled evolution can be installed as a mobile application or tablet mobile device.

 

To make machines more efficient, manufacturers are modifying engines and hydraulic systems. They have been working on producing hydraulic pumps, which are more efficient and provide high output with a given engine and horsepower. Manufacturers are also focussing on making these machines fuel-efficient. With the use of different attachments, telehandlers can be used for various processes other than just pick and place. They can replace other machines on a construction site and can be used for skid steering, as loaders or backhoes.

 

SOUND SAFETY

When construction equipment are of such magnitude, then safety holds the crucial importance. “Safety is of paramount importance in equipment working at heights. All our hoists come with Centrifugal Safety Device, which activates by centrifugal force and stops the hoist in case the hoist’s speed exceeds a specific speed limit. Many such safety factors are part of our every single machine. Control Panel in the hoist is one of the most advanced feature of our hoists you would hardly find in any other manufacturer. It is provided with flash light for easy visibility, joystick for easy operation and emergency switches. The PLC functions cover lot of indicators like VFD Trip, Limit Switch Failure, Phase failure exit Door, Open Entry Door, Rack Search fault etc. The higher/ premium models also has a display screen, where the actual fault would be displayed for easy identification and repair. It is placed at a strategic position which would be easily viewed by the operator. These machines also come with mechanical lock and electrical sensors in critical areas like entry/ exit door, trap door, erection platform etc. This ensures hoist does not start if any door is left open. To add to these, overload alarm indicator is also provided as an option. All these safety features make Spartan’s hoists more reliable and competitive.” says Dr Vikram Mehta, MD, Spartan Engineering Industries Pvt Ltd.

 

“We know that construction-site safety is of the utmost importance. That is why our Rack & Pinion construction elevators adhere to all industry standards and safety requirements and can be customised to suit customer’s individual site requirements. It is a robust triple safety system comprising electromagnetic braking, centrifugal braking and is the ultimate safety device to boost user confidence, which makes it an incredible solution for construction companies.” Says Prem Raj K, MD, KYB-Conmat Pvt. Ltd.

 

"As the years pass by, the construction industry is becoming more advanced using latest technology and hence to keep pace with this sector and to ensure safe working at heights we have introduced our ACTIV SHEILD Bar which is a secondary guarding device which can be ordered with our new machines and as well as retrofitted on our old boom lifts." says Souma Ray, Director, Haulotte India

 

RENTAL SPACE

The rental equipment industry is capital intensive and requires huge amount of funds for acquisition and maintenance of equipment fleets, secure storage facilities, work on the fleets, and for operating the business. Factors such as cash inflows from business, equipment utilisation, dollar and time utilisation, and higher prices contributed to growth of the market. The economic downturn left many an equipment idle, which led to loss of revenue. Thus, renting an equipment is rising in popularity. However, equipment rental in India is very unorganised with very few players with fleet size greater than 1000.

 

Geographies pose a different challenge as it is difficult to hire equipment which is available locally in the same region. But renting options are limited in terms of getting right machines in good condition at right time for the required location.With better financing schemes available and increased use of rentals, the rental market is a dynamic alternative for users planning to moderate their large capital expenditures.

 

Building machinery rentals are expected to grow in tier 2 and tier 3 cities for small building ventures.

 

It is a suitable option for a large number of businesses to reduce heavy investments by saving on the high costs of equipment. Paradoxically, equipment finance is a challenge for rental companies if customers do not assure payment. Payment delays / non-payments are a norm which scare away equipment finance companies from lending freely to the rental players.

 

Moreover, the breakeven period is relatively long at 4-5 years which could be an impediment for financers.

 

“We believe that it is the beginning of the replacement cycle and that telehandlers have not penetrated all the markets yet. As a result, there is a huge market opportunity for telehandlers in other parts of the world as well in the coming years,” said Siddharth J.

 

WHAT LIES AHEAD?

According to Technavio’s market research analysts predicts that the global handling and lifting equipment market will grow at a steady CAGR of close to 11 per cent in the near future. The demand for handling and lifting equipment is on the rise due to rapid infrastructure development and increasing construction activities across the globe. Since handling and lifting equipment help to move materials between factories and warehouses, its demand among the end users in the manufacturing sector will increase significantly. Moreover, the ability of such equipment to bolster the efficiency of modern production processes will also lead to its increased adoption in sectors where the production processes are automated. The global telehandler market is expected to grow at a decent pace during the forecast period. Since this industry is capital intensive, a few large vendors that account for a major share of the market will dominate over the smaller players. Due to the advent of numerous complex construction projects, the dynamics of the overall market is rapidly changing. This change in the market dynamics will compel vendors to build new machines, which in turn will help them to keep up with the demand. An increase in urban population and living standards is leading to a rise in the construction of high-rise buildings. As of May 2015, around 460 high-rise buildings were under construction globally. APAC had the highest number of high-rise buildings under construction in 2015, accounting for around 74 per cent of the total number of high-rise buildings. The global telehandler market to grow moderately at a CAGR of around 5 per cent in the years. The widespread use of telehandlers for construction and agriculture purposes will bolster the prospects for market growth. Telehandlers are rapidly gaining popularity in the construction sector of most developed countries, as they are powerful and can reach places that cannot be accessed by other machines. Due to benefits like its 360° movement capability and high load bearing capacity, telehandlers have evolved from a typical landscaping and farming equipment into a much more sophisticated construction equipment. With just a few attachments, these machines can be used for various processes, which in turn will help to reduce the overall cost of operation.

 

 

KEY PLAYERS:

  • Everest Engineering
  • Gemini Power Hyraulics
  • Haulotte India
  • Ispat Infrastructure
  • KYB Conmat
  • Palfinger Cranes India
  • Spartan Engineering
  • Techno Machines
  • Terex India



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