"ACE is India’s leading construction equipment manufacturing company with strong presence in all major infrastructure, construction, heavy engineering and industrial projects across the country. Apart from serving effectively domestic construction equipment market, ACE is also touching foreign shores in the Middle-east and African countries with its quality products and services. Recently, we have introduced game changing mobile crane models like FX-120 & FX 150 and are about to launch our new model FX-170. These models have been equipped to satisfy customer needs with regard to increased productivity, stability and safety. These new models will prove to be cost effective solutions to our users and customers. The response to our recently introduced “ACX-750” Model 75 tons capacity Hydraulic Crawler Crane has been very heartening and we are very thankful to our valued customers for reposing their faith and confidence in our new introduction," says Mr. Sorab Agrawal, Director, ACE, in an interview with S. K. Khanna.
How do you rate the future growth potentials of the cranes market in India? What sort of innovative plans are you currently contemplating in view of the tough competition scenario in the cranes market in India?
During 2010–11, the mobile cranes and tower cranes market became buoyant again and we were able to clock 42% growth in mobile cranes segment and more than 100% growth in the tower crane segment. Indian cranes market has enormous growth potential in the times to come and we feel that the mobile crane market should continue to grow at about 25-30% CAGR over the next 4-5 years. The tower cranes market should be able to grow faster than the mobile crane market as the base for tower crane industry is still quite small in our country.
Recently, we have introduced game changing mobile crane models like FX-120 & FX 150 and are about to launch our new model FX-170. These models have been equipped to satisfy customer needs with regard to increased productivity, stability and safety. These new models will prove to be cost-effective solutions to our users and customers.
Recently, ACE has launched 75 ton crawler cranes, what is the initial response to this new product?
The response to our recently introduced “ACX-750” Model 75 tons capacity Hydraulic Crawler Crane is very heartening and we are thankful to our valued customers for reposing their faith and confidence in our new introduction. Earlier this space was dominated by Chinese manufacturers and now our customers, in India, have an option available for indigenously manufactured machines with best in the line of service and support from India itself.
These days, Indian customers have gained global exposure and are now fully aware of the technical innovations taking place in the crane segment across the world. In view of this, what sort of safety features you have recently introduced ensuring the safety and reliability of your products during operations?
Yes, safety has become one of the key factors while taking decisions for purchase of mobile cranes in today’s market. In order to cater to safe working and to reduce accidents, we are offering our machines with Safe Load Indication Systems, Automatic Hoist Cutoff Systems, self-adjusting Hook Blocks, and Obstruction Sensors etc. Apart from these, we have further introduced new models as mentioned above under the “FX Series” which further offer improved Kinematics, reduced centre of gravity and are fitted with Front Mounted Cabin to ensure better operator’s visibility and driving comfort.
Despite demanding top quality and high end products, Indian customers are very sensitive on the price front; how are you ensuring the much sought after balance between affordability and quality and what steps you are taking to motivate customers to go in for quality products if future returns and value for money is guaranteed?
India is a price sensitive market and more than 90% of the customers look forward to a cost effective solution while demanding the best performance and product parameters available.
Our inherent strength is able to provide customer oriented cost effective solution with superior technical and functional parameters which has enabled us to become the market leader for mobile cranes and tower cranes as well.
We have a full-fledged “R&D” centre approved by Government of India (DSIR), which continuously works for upgradation of our existing models and value engineering.
What sort of serious challenges you and other crane companies are currently facing in the Indian cranes market and what are the way outs to address these issues?
There are number of issues plaguing the cranes industry in India like the inter-state movement of used and new equipment which we feel can be resolved only by introduction of GST.
Used imported machines, which are coming to India, are not regulated for their age, performance and safety parameters, thereby making India a global dump yard for outdated machines and technology which could eventually hampher infrastructure growth of the country.
Operation and maintenance training is also imperative with ever increasing number of cranes and keeping this very factor in mind, we have set up a state-of- the-art operation and maintenance training centre for mobile cranes in Faridabad.
We intend to churn out a good number of trained operators and technicians from this setup every year.
In the recent past owing to inflation and commodity prices, the pricing for manufacturers is becoming unsustainable. There is urgent need of revisiting this topic with the customers.
Interest rate is so high that purchasing of equipment has become very difficult. Are you also planning to have some lease system in Indian market, as most international manufacturers have leasing facilities in other markets?
The indian market doesn’t like the lease model and prefers equipment financing model instead, as most of Indian companies and individuals prefer to own or rent out machines in our country rather than taking them on longer lease period, hence we feel the leasing model is not workable or viable for Indian customers.
What is the focus of your participation in Excon-2011 and what types of equipment you are going to display at the event? Are your new products would be available globally or they are meant to harness the Indian market?
In Excon 2011, we are showcasing our entire range right from new models of Pick N Move Cranes, Truck Mounted Cranes, Crawler Cranes, Mobile Tower Cranes, Tower Cranes, Vibratory Rollers, Motor Graders, Forklifts, and our loader range. The focus would be primarily to increase customer interaction and gain further insight from our customers regarding their real needs. We are one of the only Indian origin construction equipment manufacturers in the country and mainly aim to cater to the Indian market. We do export some machines to Middle-east and South Africa and look forward to meeting prospective customers from other geographics at the event.