Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Material Handling Equipment

Material universe


The Indian material handling industry is optimistic of the new political dispensation kick-starting infrastructure projects and put their business back on course.



Despite the economic slowdown and the projects pushback witnessed in recent times India’s materials handling equipment (MHE) industry has been largely positive – even looking to bolster manufacturing capacities and launch new products. With the new incumbent government coming in in the wake of the national elections all the major players in the MHE sector are hopeful of forward movement and of business picking up. International analysts too are hopeful of an improvement in fortunes of the sector not just in India but elsewhere around the world. Global demand for materials handling products is expected to rise 4 percent annually through 2016 to $123.6 billion, according to a new study by The Freedonia Group. Furthermore TechNavio's analysts predict the material handling equipment market in India to grow at a CAGR of 15.62 percent through 2011-2015 on the strength of increased industrialisation across the states. There is an increase in investments in industries across India by both domestic and international companies, driving the demand for material handling equipment. The prospects for the material handling equipment market in India looks bright with many innovative and efficient products being introduced by material handling equipment vendors.

The MHE industry encompasses a diverse range of tools, vehicles, storage units, appliances and accessories involved in transporting, storing, controlling, enumerating and protecting products at any stage of manufacturing, distribution consumption or disposal. There is strong demand for these products in India, particularly so with the government s emphasis on project implementation – construction of airports, ports, new transportation modes like metros, new urbania and industrial zones – as part of its $1 trillion ambitions for infrastructure not to mention the key role to be played by the logistics sector which facilitates movement of material. 

Ergo, the growth potential for the materials handling equipment is huge. The four main main categories of material handling equipment include: storage, engineered systems, industrial trucks and bulk material handling. The product range includes forklifts, hand trucks, pallet jacks and stackers; overhead crane, hoist, and monorail systems, conveyors and conveyor equipment; and escalators, moving walkways, and passenger and freight elevators 





Thanks to challenges of labour input and high costs of employment the major opportunities will be in terms of sales of advanced equipment such as automated conveyors and automated guided vehicles.

End users will also be seeking energy efficient products, such as electric lift trucks in order to reduce costs. The growing significance of e-commerce is expected to fuel demand for automated equipment, as business will be conducted in large, lightly staffed warehouses. Supply chain visibility is crucial for warehouses and distribution centers where fast and efficient movement of goods is the solution to satisfying customer demand. Most companies today are not satisfied with material movement efficiency from source to destination. These companies are seeking new ways to get the right goods to the right place at the right time. Among the markets India and China will see the fastest gains, in large part because of rising manufacturing output which will spur demand for equipment to facilitate distribution and production. 

Demand in India is currently largely driven by overall industrial production and the requirement of companies' to automate production and facilitate the efficient flow of goods to market. The profitability of individual companies depends on product innovation and efficient operations. Large companies have economies of scale in purchasing and greater ability to offer a wider range of products to a diverse customer base. Small companies can compete by specialising in niche products. Some of the major vendors operating in the MHE market space are Demag Cranes & Components (India) Ltd, JCB, Bevcon Wayors, Action Construction Equipment Ltd, Godrej and Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd, Elecon Engineering Co, ElectroMech Material Handling Systems (India) Pvt. Ltd., Voltas Material Handling, TELCON Construction Solutions, Tractors India Ltd., Escorts Construction Equipment Ltd and ThyssenKrupp Industries India. Many of these companies have while launching new products in the MHE segments have also upped manufacturing capacities, and resorted to strategic tie ups in the hope of the business environment improving in the coming months. Admittedly the Indian market compared to the US, Europe or other developed countries like Japan and Singapore, is still in the process of maturing in terms of knowledge, use, and the importance of MH equipment. In India there is wide man:machine ratio disparity as compared to the USA and Europe. But the Indian MHE market is expected to evolve both in size and technology in the coming years with more infrastructure projects lined up at the award stage. Also, another driver for MHE growth will be demand for increased automation and safe working practices.

Currently the Indian MHE sector is adopting a wait and watch approach with the elections throwing up a new political dispensation.

From a manufacturing perspective they expect the incoming government to remove all blockages that have been put in place currently for timely and successful implementation of infrastructure projects. The moment mega projects start getting executed in the country – roads, ports, power etc – there will be a spillover effect across a host of supporting industry like steel, cement, machinery, etc. This will have a straight effect in increased demand for material handling equipment.

There is currently a sense of positive inevitability in India’s material handling universe – as one manufacturer describes it “the backbone of infrastructure growth”


Leave a Comment

Email Address
(will not be published)