23 February 2020

Industry Focus-Highrise Handlers

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By global standards, the tall building typology has just begun to take roots in India, where tall building population is expanding concomitant to its rapid urbanization. The emerging trend here is constructing tall with speed and safety. Consequently demand for high rise handlers will pile up high. But India’s manufacturing base for high rise handlers is yet to mature fully, and manufacturers are ramping up as demand goes vertical. Satish P Chavan reports.


Tall building construction methods are throwing up new challenges for in-situ placement of materials, which require specialized tall buildings’ construction equipment. Consequently equipment manufacturers are keeping pace with design requirements and construction methodology for high-rise projects, by designing their products accordingly. Operational safety and tall building construction equipment regulations are driving the market for such equipment, whose demand is touching new highs. Construction of tall buildings as always requires innovative approaches to construction methods and technologies, which will by and large determine the equipment for that particular project. But the two constants are equipment for transporting materials and people to great heights, and equipment for placing or pouring the materials at tall heights. While traditional equipment worked for average size buildings, tall buildings call for a totally different kind of equipment, especially that which will construct accurately at heights, because tall building technology relies a lot on precision. Over and above all this, the common denominator for all equipment is safety. While safety is taken into account at design stage itself by the manufacturers, the safety levels are getting better due to government regulation driving the use of such equipment. Basically tall building construction equipment can be broadly classified in the following equipment verticals: Tower crane; Aerial Work Platforms; Man & Material hoists; Mast climbers; Suspended Rope Platforms; Chutes; and Lifts.




Tower Cranes are among the most basic equipment in high rise construction. Most tower cranes use a climbing attachment with hydraulic jacks surrounding the mast as required. The climbing attachment lifts itself up off the erected mast and inserts a new mast section. Based on the emerging requirements for high-rise construction, manufactures offer tower cranes with internal climbing and external anchorage options. The tower cranes are available in different capacities with varying jib lengths to cover large radius. The layout design of high-rise construction decides the dimension of the lift shaft and determines the type of crane, either for inner climbing or for external installation. Factors such as whether the proposed high-rise is coming within clusters or in vicinity of other buildings are vital for easier erection and dismantling of the cranes. Presence of multiple tower cranes at a site with closer distance might hinder erection and quicker dismantling of the cranes. They also present a serious hazard of cranes colliding. Everest Engineering Equipment offers anti-collision and other smart devices which can fitted on any brand and type of tower crane. Most high-end models have anti-collision devices and other smart features for better control of twisting and placing of materials, calculating wind speed for accurate placement of materials etc. But the latest is using GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems) which use satellites to calculate proper placement and building of sections so the straight lines of the tower are maintained. The choice of tower crane depends on its load carrying capacity, luffing feature, or self-climbing feature etc.

Man & Material Hoists are an important equipment vertical construction because they carry materials and workers to the required floors. Two types of construction hoists, for passengers and materials, are the basic equipment. Hoists are available in various types and capacities. It is imperative that a passenger hoist be used to transport people. If both people and material need transporting, contractors must take into account the volume of people that need to be moved versus the volume of materials. Safety is always a paramount concern when you're working with materials as heavy as granite slabs. For example hoist needs to be light enough to set up on rooftops with a minimal amount of cribbing, and motorized to provide workers with a stable platform to move around safely and also be able top carry heavy weights.


Aerial Work Platforms (AWPs) are widely used in construction and mining industries, owing to the nature of work, complexity in structural design and elevation. AWPs are also utilized for maintenance and repair activities of high tension power lines, disaster management operations and in defense sectors. Incorporation of safety features, ease of handling, and maneuverability are some of the features driving the growth in the AWP market.


Suspended Rope Platforms (SRP) serve dual purpose of carrying materials and equipment, and workers on it, needing work at tall heights on the outside facades of tall buildings. They can work at variable heights to do maintenance or other construction work on the outside when a tall building is being constructed. Major manufacturers include;


Mast Climbers are used for carrying out external plastering work, and are more suitable to work in high-rise construction than instead of the conventional scaffolding techniques. Major manufacturers include;




The Indian market for high rise handlers is majorly driven by safety imperatives of workers and the work site. The other demand driver is servicing and maintenance of tall buildings, which basically rely on AWPs. However, safety in tall buildings remains a major concern. The most critical is fire safety. Sadly, there are no prescribed standards for operational safety in tall building construction equipment, but ethically responsible builders follow International Safety standards while designing their products.


According to building safety experts, nowadays most buildings in India use minimum structural safety standards that government has prescribed. Indian Codes follow lowest level of earthquake safety protection, designing for just one-fifth the intensity in a particular earthquake zone. The situation is more critical in north India, especially in the National Capital Region (NCR), which is classified as a high-damage risk zone. According to sources in the construction sector, all buildings in NCR are designed for lowest category, which is collapse prevention. There are four categories of earthquake resistant buildings: Earthquake Resistant-Operational, Earthquake Resistant-Immediate Occupancy, Earthquake Resistant-Life Safety, and Earthquake Resistant-Collapse Prevention. In terms of structural safety standards, most builders adhere to prescribed standards. But high-rise buildings need a separate code, Standards for 9-10 story buildings cannot be used for high-rise buildings. The Bureau of Indian Standards has agreed to draft a new code for seismic standards this year.


Although tall buildings symbolize India’s status, sadly many of them turned into death traps in fire incidents. Examples include: State Bank of India building, Mumbai; LIC building, Hotel Siddhartha, Gopala Towers, Hindustan Times building, all in New Delhi; and Carlton Tower in Bangalore. There is an urgent need for a Fire & Safety Audit of tall buildings in India, but it’s still pending and long overdue.


Most equipment verticals among highrise handlers is available in India, with equipment ranging from the high end -- featuring all kinds of safeties like automatic locking, SLI, and other Smart features – to simple no frills affordable equipment for medium and small contractors. Considering the way tall building population is expanding rapidly in India, building construction equipment manufacturers can expect buoyant demand in the long term, which will only turn robust every passing year.



An international survey conducted by University of Wolverhampton, UK, and  Deakin University, Australia,  of planning engineers in France, Germany, and UK, titled ‘Logistics of materials handling methods in high rise in-situ construction,’  based on a model high rise in-situ concrete framed building, identified eight items of plant equipment for materials handling.  Grouped on principal plant items only, five main alternatives were identified. The preferred choice indicated by contractors from each country was different; UK preferring group E (tower crane/skip, hoist and concrete pump); French preferring group B (tower crane/skip only); and German contractors preferring group D (tower crane/skip and concrete pump). In contrast to German and UK contractors, most (71.4 per cent) French respondents excluded a concrete pump as part of their MHE (Material Handling Equipment) methods, revealing that materials handling methods vary in each country.


Collectively (i.e. a European evaluation) responses indicated group D to be common choice. Other findings were that  98.2 per cent respondents planned use of a tower crane, and 58 per cent planned to utilize both a crane and concrete pump. Tower cranes still remain the most common method of handling for combined vertical and horizontal movement on multi-storey in-situ concrete projects. The survey found that company size has no any impact on planners' chosen MHE handling methods.


Selection factor importance was used to determine level of importance attached to transportation selection factors by planning engineers, and based on SFI scores, rankings were obtained for each country. Results indicate that only one of the eight selection factors (building form and location) was ranked significantly differently by respondents. Hence, it was assumed that rankings were similar, and an analysis of factors based on aggregated response from all contractors was conducted, which revealed ‘relative costs’ as most important, with speed of production and safety considerations ranked second and third, respectively.


Correlation analysis revealed significant association between many selection factors: including (P≤0.01); safety and speed of production; safety and specification (quality); relative costs and speed of production; quantity of concrete and speed of production; relative costs and specification (quality); relative costs and building form and location; and company practice and plant/ labour availability. Reasoned inferences were drawn on each of these pairings.



Product Classification

  • Static/mobile tower cranes
  • Concrete Skips
  • Telescopic hydraulic mobile crane
  • Telescopic handler
  • Materials/passenger hoist
  • AWP Platforms, Chutes & Lifts




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


“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 features of our hoists you would hardly find in any of our competitor.”





On a global perspective the demand for AWP’s has certainly increased, both in government and private sector. Rental sector is also seeing good demand of our equipment, which is an encouraging sign. But going forward as the AWP industry matures in India and people become more aware about the multiple advantages of using such equipment, the AWP industry will start seeing steady growth. In coming years this industry will become one of the fastest developing sector.

Souma Ray,Director, Haulotte India




There has been paradigm shift in the purchasing criteria, from buying on the basis of upfront price to buying on basis of total cost of ownership (TCO).  Spantech is focusing on concept of maintenance free machines. Thus owning, operating cost, fuel efficiency, availability of long term maintenance contracts, and excellent after sales service will be our Benchmark values.

We are coming up with technology and products which can benefit upcoming smart cities and mass housing projects, which include; Shear line cutting machine, Stirrup bending machines, and Rack and Pinion material hoists.

Pravin Patel, CMD, Spantech Engineering Industries


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