05 June 2020

Guest Article- Rajinder Raina

Trends in Paving & Compaction equipment

Road construction sector in India is at its best today. Expressways, Highways, state & rural roads are getting constructed at a hectic pace. Last few months have clocked a sale of more than 500 Units of vibratory compactors on a back to back basis. This is certainly a first. Compactor sale is the barometer of road construction sector. The best part is that the sale is not concentrated in pockets but is spread across the length and breadth of the country. The market size in North East, in particular, is the best part of the good news.


Whereas approx. 6 to 8 per cent of the volumes comprise mini compactors, balance is shared between Soil & Tandem vibratory rollers in a ratio of about 60:40, with the bias generally towards soil compactors.


Soil compactors in India are predominantly of 10 to 11 Ton class. These are approved per government norms & the requisite compaction is also delivered by this class of compactors. However I see a change in near future wherein there will be a surge in demand for >11 Ton class of soil compactors. This demand would be driven by the soon expected increase in Axle Load of trucks and trailers from the current 10 Tons to 15Tons or more on designated Expressways/dedicated freight corridors. Greenfield highway projects, ports and airports. The increased point load bearing capacity would need better/deeper compaction. This would ask for heavier soil compactors (11 Tons & above).The demand for 10Ton compactors will come largely from state & rural roads as also from irrigation canal works & sundry jobs.


Mini tandem vibratory rollers are finding increasing demand as the shoulder work on highways & elevated corridors as mandated by the end specifications.


It must be said here that mixing of soils & moisture content still remains a cause of worry. A case in example is the Badarpur Agra expressway, the soils used (dry ash& good earth) were laid & compacted without following any procedure. At places, a 3 Ton TVR was used particularly at the landings of the grade separators. Stage inspection/monitoring by the concerned agencies was woefully poor.


In road construction, mechanisedpaving is another emerging segment to the extent that the technology is still graduating from Mechanical to Sensor pavers.


Sensor Pavers have intelligent operating technology that controls the machine to ensure the desired mat thickness, level of mat& the grade required in finished road as per the desired specifications. The sensor controls the gradient along the road as well as across (especially across the camber/slope in transverse direction of the road).This helps protect the surface & sub grade by quick flushing & drying of rain water. Proper mat thickness optimises the use of bituminous mix& gives longevity to the road besides saving on the costly bituminous mix.
Indian market today comprises more than 500 units of Mechanical Pavers but the market size of sensor pavers is only around 350 units. Out of these approx. 225 to 250 units is 5.5 m, used primarily for sate roads. The 9m plus class market is just about 100 units. These 350 units constitute wheeled & tracked machines. For a country moving towards 30kms+/day road construction, the paver market is a matter that needs to be looked into. Use of Sensor Pavers needs to be made mandatory to improve the life of the roads. The good news is that Sensor Pavers of 2.5m to 10m are all available in India only that we need to graduate from mechanical pavers particularly for all expressways, highways & state roads just as we did from mechanical to Vibratory compactors.


The other very important aspect in paving is the temperature of the asphalt at the time of laying the carpet. This is done in the most non-professional manner even today. Lack of expertise at the ground level at the time of execution is sadly poor. Again,while talking to the supervisors during carpeting on Badarpur – Agra road, he had no clue about the importance of temperature of the mix.


Given the emphasis, focus &the spend on roads, it is important that the basics are put in place. Regular supervision, monitoring & adherence to SOPs has to be adhered to if we have to achieve global quality of 30kms per day roads in India. Not only roads but very high quality of roads is a must for development as we can ill afford improper use of resources being deployed to road sector.


Author of this article RAJINDER RAINA, is armed with more than 36 years of experience in various realms of the industry as a user of the equipment for nine years in hydel power sector, and 27 years in marketing, sales, overseas collaborations, strategy and planning. He had been associated with Escorts for more than 22 years and has been greatly influential in enhancing the company’s brand equity. A BE (Mech) and MBA, he has travelled widely and is well known for his expertise in technical collaborations and strategic alliances. His concepts and solutions have ominously added to the top line and parts business. With his access to top-end technology providers and association with leading global brands he has succeeded in securing alliances with Samsung (now Volvo) and Doosan of Korea to introduce contemporary hydraulic excavators and forklift trucks in India. His other major achievements are forging manufacturing alliance with Heli, the biggest forklift manufacturer of China and business alliance with Manitou of France for Telehandlers & Access Platforms. He is a recipient of the best performer award at an international conference from Doosan of Korea and Manitou of France.

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