Tower crane manufacturers offer numerous innovative product support services along with higher end solutions for newer applications. P.P. Basistha takes a look.
The continued sluggish growth in real estate in India has hit the business prospects of tower crane manufacturers hard at numerous fronts. The shrinking market has made the competition stiffer. Further, customers looking to retain their business margins, resulting out of lower and delayed return on investments have been resorting towards large scale brand substitution. To ensure brand retention, while making business grow, manufacturers and distributors of tower cranes in India are looking for new allied business avenues. The strategy has allowed them to gain fair business dividends along with enabling customers to get value on products in respect of support and services.
He explains, "Conversion comprises converting of existing tower cranes from being electrically driven, (with power sourced from captive diesel generating sets at the site) to Variable Frequency Support (VFS) driven. With VFD, the consumption of electricity comes down by 35%. For a 6-8t tower crane, it will be from a 125KVA DG set to 62.5 kva, Which will save at least 3 litres of diesel per hour. If we calculate 20Hours working per day for 26 days a month, it will save 1560 Litres of Diesel which will be 18,720 Litres an Year. The cost of this diesel @ Rs.50 will be amounting to Rs.9,36,000 per year and this amount is get burned by most of the construction companies without their notice. The cost of conversion is close to Rs.5 lakhs, while it delivers saving of 9-10 lakhs on an average on diesel consumption every year."
Everest has executed 30 projects for converting the tower cranes to VFS driven. Prominent conversion projects executed by Everest Engineering are converting of tower cranes for JMC projects working in varied real estate projects in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, and Bengaluru. The cranes converted to VFS driven were of various make.
Looking towards new business, Everest Engineering has also ventured into erection and dismantling services for tower cranes. "There is dearth of competent and qualified agencies for erection and dismantling of tower cranes in India. Further, many of OEMs as per feedback received from most of our customers, have very few engineers to provide erection and dismantling support for the tower cranes. In some cases, we have learnt that there is a single engineer to support a population of 20-25 units. Filling up the gap, we provide dedicated turnkey support services for erection and dismantling of the tower cranes," mentions Mr. Ramdev.
Everest Engineering in India exclusively distributes FineHope and SYM flattop and electric luffing cranes which are equipped with electronic safety system, speed control, etc. Fine Hope tower cranes are available in 32-200 tons, whereas SYM luffing tower cranes in 8-32 tons. Other products distributed by Everest Engineering in India are GJJ passenger hoists and mast climbers.
He elaborates, "Based on the new specialized construction methodologies in high rise projects, there is a necessity for tower cranes, featuring advanced technologies to lift higher loads at considerable heights at a cost effective manner. The cranes have to work at higher levels of precision with high optimum safety. Based on the construction requirements, they should be able to fit in compact lift shafts, in projects taking place in urban areas, notably in metro cities. At Zoomlion, we manufacture tower cranes featuring all the required features and specifications, as necessitated by the newer construction requirements. This is characterized in our lighter 5-6 tons capacity tower cranes manufactured in India and also those in higher capacities."
Zoomlion Electromech has supplied such cranes to Tata projects, India bulls, Gammon India, Lodha - Alfaraa, Rohan builders, Omkar Realtors, Supertech, Bharat Construction among others. Zoomlion Electromech manufactures 5-6 tons capacity tower cranes in India at its Pune facility. The higher capacity tower cranes are imported from Zoomlion's facility in China.
ECEL is the exclusive distributor of Linden Comansa flat top 5-64 tons tower cranes and luffing Jib tower cranes of 8 -24 tons in India. It has supplied higher capacity Comansa flat top cranes to L&T, BGR Energy and TATA Projects for their NDCT cooling towers at thermal power plants. According to Mr. Malik, "We have started receiving good numbers of enquiries also for 8-12 tons Comansa luffing jib tower cranes from high rise residential projects in Mumbai." The company has recently supplied four numbers of 8 tons capacity luffing cranes to M/s Billlimoria and the cranes are presently deployed at Lodha "The Park "project of around 270 meters high rise residential construction project.
Mr. Malik says, "Equipped with best in class motors, the Comansa luffing cranes deliver high speed of operations and come with smooth controls. One of the competitive safety features of the cranes is 'level luffing'. This enables the load to remain in its same position despite lowering and raising the jib by the operator." ECEL has so far sold 50 units of Comansa tower cranes in India.
He says, "We are increasingly looking to promote our higher capacity solutions to the precast construction sector." ACE offers TC 7052, 12 tons, TC 7053, 16 tons, and 20 tons tower cranes which have been used in Power Sector, Cement Plants, Refineries and high-rise construction projects in Delhi-NCR. Amrapali has been one of the major users of ACE's tower cranes for it's prefab construction projects.
With subdued demand from real estate construction, ACE is also looking to sell its higher capacity tower cranes for industrial projects. The company has supplied tower cranes for Reliance's third phase expansion of its Jamnagar refinery. It has also supplied its higher capacity cranes for expansion of Ultra Tech cement plants. Fair number of higher capacity tower cranes have also been supplied to Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited for the execution of power plant projects in recent past. Sizeable numbers of lighter self-erecting tower cranes are working at the mega, Bharat Petroleum 'Integrated Refinery Expansion' project in Kochi. The cranes are being used for pouring concrete and light material handling for utility building construction in the project.
Mr. Agarwal says, "We have been regularly upgrading our products to suit customer requirements."
One of the key areas, Mr. Agarwal says, to leverage the company's brand has been through appropriate product support. "Adequate and timely parts availability, operations and maintenance support has been our prime focus areas. Increasing the height of tower cranes, both which are working in lift shafts as well as those working externally is a major challenge for contractors. We have got in place technically competent team to undertake the job." ACE has got in place adequate numbers of service engineers, to support its existing population of tower cranes. The company will hire more people based on growing requirements and is also providing complete erection/ dismantling services through company trained engineers.
Universal manufactures 5-6 tons flat top tower cranes in association with Useter. Part of the crane are manufactured and assembled at Universal's Shivare plant near Pune and are branded as Universal-Useter. Cranes sold by Universal are of 5,6 & 8 tons capacity with 1 ton at tip load for jib length of 55 metres. Mast size of the crane is designed in such way that it can be installed at inside the lift shaft as self climbing crane as well as outside along the building as with fix foundation. "The flat top tower cranes have box section double angle masts, made of high tensile steel for faster erection and dismantling without distortion," mentions Mr. Bhosale.
He says, "We will soon introduce our high 10 capacity tower cranes which will be promoted for the precast construction sector in India." Product support by Universal is offered through its pan India regional service centers.
The introduction of new solutions and product services by tower crane manufacturers and distributors augurs well for the construction sector. However, the process will require to be sustained through continuous improvements in the solutions based on regular customer feedback.