05 April 2020

Industry Focus- Cranes

Demand Robust

Across the Spectrum


Fuelled by a rapidly rising population of tall buildings and major EPC infra projects being rolled out on the fast track, the demand for cranes across application verticals is turning robust. Tower cranes are registering maximum growth– lifted by tall building projects in India’s metropolises and across Tier II and Tier III cities and towns. And the trillion dollar drive to modernise India’s infrastructure is driving demand for all kinds of field cranes.


The government’s broad thrust of modernizing infrastructure has started showing results just after 18 months. Its rolling out infra projects on the fast track has unlocked the Earthmoving and Construction Equipment (ECE) industry’s growth potential, which became evident as sales of equipment rose to over 35 per cent during the first three quarters of 2016. Over all real estate as well as infrastructure construction drives demand for tower cranes – lower capacities for residential high rises and higher capacities for infrastructure construction such as cooling towers, dams etc. and in infrastructure projects such as bridges, metro rail, power projects, are the major demand drivers for these cranes. Another major demand driver for cranes is the urban infra sector like metro rail and elevated road corridors. Also the trend of using precast construction techniques in real estate is picking up which is driving the demand for tower crane in the 10 – 20 ton range. The tower crane market is in a fairly nascent stage in India as compared to developed markets. However there are gaps in product verticals in terms of types and capacities, such as pick and carry crane of capacity over 16 tonne and rough terrain cranes beyond 100-tonne capacity needs to be filled.




The shift in modernisation of construction methods to using precast technology, especially in the real estate sector is a major demand driver. Not only metros, but smaller cities and towns are growing rapidly with skyscrapers becoming the norm. With the demand for quicker time to market for projects, there is a concomitant rise in demand for tower cranes. Mumbai alone accounts for approximately 70-80 per cent of the demand for new tower cranes, and this is only expected to grow. According to some estimates, the domestic market size for tower cranes was around 700 units, annually. Even Tier-II towns are witnessing previously unseen level of development, and the skyline of cities such as Mumbai, Pune and Delhi are changing with skyscrapers becoming the norm. Mumbai alone accounts for approximately 70-80 per cent of the demand for new tower cranes. The tower cranes segment is expected to grow at 20 per cent annually over the next few years. According to Tata Strategic Management Group India’s mobile crane population is projected at 13,000 units in 2017. According to industry leader ElectroMech the sector should grow at a CAGR of 20 – 25 percent over the next few years. Cranes of different types and configurations are supplied in a very large range of operating parameters. The key basic types of cranes are pick-and-carry cranes, mounted cranes (on tyre, crawler, truck, gantry or tower) and boom cranes (lattice boom or hydraulically extendable boom, fixed boom, luffing boom or 360¦ slewing boom). Within these categories, some basic parameters to consider are the rated maximum load lifting capacity at minimum radius, boom length (minimum and maximum) and lifting height under hook. However the travelling tower crane requirements will also be on the rise. As a thumb rule, tower cranes sourced from China can be 30 per cent cheaper than European models with similar specifications.

“Increase in lifting capacities and working at greater heights are a regular demand. Most applications in construction are demanding it. We are moving with time to meet customers’ expectations and have come out with stronger cranes like LR 1750/2 with SX boom to meet new requirements in wind mills.

We also offer LTR crane, crawler mounted cranes with telescopic boom which are excellent for girder erections in metro projects and bridge construction. As the crane can travel with full capacity, it does the work for which a normal tyre mounted crane needs almost double capacity.

In tyre mounted cranes, we have come out with a new concept VarioBase allowing work in congested areas.

Our 3,000 ton crawler crane is being supplied to heavy refineries and nuclear power plants of 1,000 MW plus capacity,” Ajay Kumar Somani, Director - Mobile Crane Division, Liebherr India.




Considering the recent prolonged recession in the real estate and infra sector, most contractors are cash strapped to buy new equipment. With stressed balance sheets, rentals offer a viable option for developers and contractors to complete their requirement for cranes. It also spares them the complexity of managing a fleet. Long-term rentals are likely to gain momentum in the next few years. It is estimated that revenue from tower crane rentals will account for 15 per cent of the total revenue generated by the tower crane industry in the next three to four years. Considering the urgency to execute projects in hand on time, those contractors who can't own machines will go in for the rentals option.

Also, with builders and contractors cash strapped to buy new equipment and the urgency to acquire it, there is going to be a concomitant rise in equipment finance for purchasing new machines.


Schwing Stetter tied up with global tower crane major XCMG for their tower cranes in India. It did a lot of research and market study to configure their cranes to Indian market by finding out what exactly the customer is wanting by getting feedback on different tower crane manufacturers in India. All these shortcomings we talked to the customers and then finally we have designed this one with customer feedback. It is a customized design and we have tried to incorporate all the shortcomings of the tower cranes currently available in the market, so that customer is happy with what he's ultimately going to get. Currently it is busy collecting feedback on how their tower cranes are performing, and whether there are any operational issues. The company has also added new features and has focused on indigenization in order to bring down the cost of the product.



Now customers are more aware of what the global marketplace is offering and demand the same in India. They expect high-quality and well-timed customer service along with a reliable product. This has ensured that the major Indian manufacturers have stepped up their game through product upgrades or international tie ups. The industry has started becoming more and more customer oriented as compared to the past. Now manufacturers have to place enabling structures in place ensuring zero customer complaints and prompt responses to service calls. There is immense pressure on keeping project cost low and customers want to make sure that the equipment they procure helps them towards this goal. However, instead of just procuring the lowest cost equipment, customers are now aware that total cost of ownership is as important. This gives them advantages in terms of maximum uptime as well as the ability to use the same cranes across multiple projects, thus achieving their project timelines as well as controlling project costs. Most OEMs offer branded aftermarket services such as Manitowoc’s Crane Care, and Electromech’s Cranedge.

“Liebherr works consistently on developing modular systems for simple, practical, and quick assembly, which take into account of relevant safety, quality, and reliability aspects. Liebherr is also very keen on supporting our customers very closely with project proposals, technical solutions, and planning through our tower crane solutions, and also support from after sales department including familiarisation, training etc, so that our customers can execute projects safely and on time,” Krishna Kumar, (Divisional Head -Tower cranes), Liebherr India.

Safety, reliability, and user-friendliness are some of the most important features of tower cranes used in infrastructure and construction industry. High end tower cranes come with several innovative features such as parameter monitoring system, which ensures that all movements remain within the safe programmed limits. Self-climbing mechanism with anti-drop device ensures safe jacking operation. Climbing frame with platform is provided for easy and quick self-erection. Limit switches used in cranes help for smooth hoisting, slewing and trolley movement. Anti-twist device used for wire rope prevents twisting of wire ropes and hence avoids any potential danger. Trolley is equipped with safety features such as wire rope breakage protection, axle breakage protection and wire rope guide. Load limiter as well as moment limiter provided ensures extra safety measures.


High Flexibility
Liebherr India delivered its first telescopic crawler crane Liebherr LTR 1220, to EPC major NCC Ltd. They have short set-up times and particularly high flexibility in use as the crane is equipped with polyamide pads for operation on metro site and is currently deployed on the Nagpur Metro project. In this project the crane hoists girders for the two new metro lines which have a total length of 38 km. The LTR 1220 comes with double grouser crawler pads, which are useful in off-road operations. For operation inside a hall or on the road, polyamide plates can be installed on the double grouser crawler pads to protect the surface of the floor. Fitting of these polyamide plates is a job of few minutes.


Premium Mileage

SANY India, along with Sanghvi Movers Ltd., one of the largest Crane rental services company in India, celebrated completion of 15000 working hours of its versatile crawler crane SCC800C with lifting capacity of 80 tons, at L&T Hydro Carbon facility located at KATUPALLI, Tamilnadu. “The machine is ease of maintenance and has minimal breakdowns, which always keep the overall site operations on schedule,” comments K. Kumar, Sr. DGM, Production, L&T Hydrocarbon, Modular Fabrication Facility. With high stability and reliability, the crawler crane SCC800C has made excellent performance at various demanding applications like Metro Rail Construction where safety is of utmost importance. Its first deployment in India was in March of 2008 at DMRC DELHI MTG HAUZ KHAS Station where it successfully completed the project lasting for 18 months. The safety and sturdy features of SANY crawler crane SCC800C has been acknowledged and appreciated by various refineries and metro clients where it is of high importance.


Most global brands are entrenched players in the Indian crane market., including market leader Liebherr, Schwing Stetter –XCMG, Manitowoc which has the Potain and Grove brands in its stable. Indian brands include global players Escorts -Linden Comansa, ACE, Spartan etc. Another leading player Electromech has a tie-up with Chinese global major Zoomilon, for tower cranes, and similarly the company has tie-ups with other global brands Abus and Stahl for other niche applications. Anupam Industries has tied up with ALFA, part of Finalfa Group, Italy.



As the Indian market expands on the back of a rising tall building population and major infra projects, in addition to urban infra (especially road, rail and metro rail infra seeing a rapid buildup), the demand for all kinds of cranes is poised to rise rapidly.

However the buyer has become very discerning and is now focused on the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) rather than the initial cost. The Indian market for cranes is maturing up to global norms and only OEMs who can balance the cost-quality equation will garner maximum market share.

Also there’s plenty of potential for this segment to contribute to Make in India campaign since many are of these companies are exporting and have emerged global players .

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