Reports Maria R
Excon 2019 - the 10th edition of South Asia’s largest construction equipment trade fair - broke all previous records with 1, 200+ national and international exhibitors who displayed their innovations in 300,000 sq.m area, and 60,000+ visitors, during 10-14 December at Bengaluru’s BIEC grounds. This year, the focus was on the use of smart technologies and innovations in the manufacture of next-gen construction equipment and machinery to support the rapid pace of infrastructure development in India.
Delivering the inaugural address, Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways and MSMEs called upon the players in the construction industry to adopt mechanization, advanced technologies, global best practices, LNG and biofuels, and use recycled waste as raw material for construction projects to reduce cost and pollution. He also announced that the Centre will invest ₹17 lakh crore in the Road Sector in 5 years and the CE industry could see a 40% increase in sales in the near future, as the Government is pumping huge amounts of investment in roads and other infra projects such as the waterways, airports, ports, and smart cities.
Guest of Honour, Shri. B. S. Yediyurappa, Chief Minister of Karnataka, said that Karnataka is emerging as a hub for construction equipment, components and design, and presents huge business opportunities for the construction industry, as it is embarking on major infrastructure development projects in roads & flyovers, industrial and power.
In his special address, Azim Premji, Founder, Chairman Wipro Limited, said that a well-planned, modern infrastructure is extremely important for India to achieve its USD 5 trillion target. Currently, India spends about 5% of its GDP towards infrastructure development. It should increase it to atleast 6%, which is what China spends for its infra development.
Delivering his theme address, Vipin Sondhi, Chairman, CII Trade Fairs Council, said that the CE industry is witnessing a digital influx with the advent of artificial intelligence, telematics, Internet of Things, and Big Data, all of which are making construction equipment intelligent and connected. These developments will increase site efficiency and productivity of the construction machines.
Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII, said that EXCON has attained world class success thanks to its concerted efforts to be a platform for the promotion of innovation and sustainability in the CE sector. The tradeshow is recognized as the largest exhibition and the topmost B2B event in the country. “This year, with the focus on AI, and IoT, it is set to transform the construction sector,” he remarked. Sandeep Singh, President, iCEMA & Vice Chairman, CII Karnataka, said that reducing the cost of construction is possible when the usage of equipment is maximized. For that to happen, the government needs to ensure the flow of funds to the projects.
The inaugural session celebrated women in infrastructure by introducing, Women Building India - Equal Opportunity Awards and recognized companies from the Infrastructure sector who have taken proactive steps to enable women to participate in the workforce. The esteemed winners announced were Cummins India Limited – Inclusive Workplace for Women Award, JCB India – Special Initiative (Shop Floor) Award, and Feedback Energy Distribution Co. Ltd (FEDCO) – Special Initiative (Unskilled Workforce) Award. A report titled “Women in Infrastructure” was released during the inaugural ceremony. The report uncovers the current status of women participation in the sector and the best practices that can enable the sector to include more women as it continues to develop.
The inaugural session also witnessed the signing of a MoU between the Education Department (Higher) of Government of Karnataka and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Industry Institute Connect. The MoU will focus on creating a taskforce of Government and CII for skilling and teaching in the CE sector.
The Industry 4.0 revolution has witnessed a convergence of digital computing, telecommunication revolution and increased use of sensors. These technologies have enabled the industry with easing and simplifying the processes leading to improved productivity and quality. At a session on the paradigm shift from machine training through programming to achieve automated solutions with AI and IoT under the Industry 4.0 wave, Kris Gopalakrishnan, Chair, CII AI Forum & Chairman, Axilor Ventures, said, “From USD 180 billion economy in 1980s to over USD 2.8 billion economy in 2019, technology has enabled India to grow multi-folds. India has one of the largest IT talent bases with over 45 lakh technology professionals that can ensure the development of all the sectors. With the right approach and great platforms like EXCON, we have the opportunity and potential to lead the world in technology.”
With technology growing and innovating year on year, most industries have been affected by some sort of industry disruption. Companies that have chosen to shake things up and try new things have proven to be a major success. In the past decade, the construction industry has also seen many changes, from the construction materials used, type of builders, to methods used to design and build new facilities – all because of technologies such as AI, IoT, Automation, etc, which are making a great impact due to their possibilities in the entire construction process.
Pratik Kumar, Chairman, Task Force on AI, IoT & Robotics & CEO at Wipro Infrastructure Engineering, said, “The theme of Excon this year on Smart I-tech – Next Gen India@75 has thrown light on the role of technology as a change-agent in the construction & equipment industry and factors responsible to accelerate the industry’s pace. The advent of technology has touched our lives in multiple ways. And, it is no surprise that even in this sector the products and services are creating new experiences for all of us.”
With digital computers bringing automation in tasks and processes, the construction and construction equipment industry has seen a significant improvement in terms of project turn-around time for completion, quality of products, safety of the labor and cost effectiveness of the projects. These technologies are backed by data and have further helped the AI and ML to provide more precise and enhanced solutions. These solutions will empower India to grow multi-folds in the next 15 years.
EXCON endeavors to build India’s infrastructure in an ecologically sustainable manner, enabling projects on Smart Cities, supporting Swachh Bharat programs, promoting Skill Development and position “Make in India” – as the National Agenda for achieving holistic growth in the infrastructure and related sectors. As part of its 10th year celebrations, CII organized special activities like exclusive Pavilions on AI, IoT, Robotics, Startups, and on Components & Parts, among others. At the Artificial Intelligence pavilion, KONE, manufacturer of world class elevators and escalators, showcased its innovations in AI and IoT and technological breakthroughs. The company also displayed solutions and shared experiences on their use of AI and IoT to deliver the best people flow experience.
During an interactive session on ‘Construction Equipment Industry: Challenges and Opportunities’, Dimitrov Krishnan, Vice President, iCEMA & Vice President-Sales & Marketing, Volvo Construction Equipment, presented the status of India’s CE Industry, which has seen tremendous investments in infrastructure in the last decade, with about half billion equipment installed. “The industry has employed approx. 1.2 million people. In the next 5 years, as India is aiming towards a 5 trillion economy, the expected investment in infrastructure would be 100 lakh crores and equipment requirement will be at least 8 times of what it is today and is expected to generate 9 times of the employment. To achieve this, the industry will require help and support from the government. Internally, to accomplish that kind of growth, as an industry, we will be focusing on three major things: investing in R&D, Capacity Enhancement and Skill building. With the support of all the stakeholders, we are confident that this industry will become an able partner of the Government of India in propelling our nation from ‘Make in India’ to ‘Building a new India.’
Giving details on key Initiatives planned to accelerate growth of Infrastructure, S. K Mishra, Executive Director (Infra), Ministry of Railways, said: “The Government has already taken the decision of allowing 100% FDI in Railway Infrastructure as a significant policy shift to adopt global best practices of world railways and to attract massive investment from all over the world. There will be a substantial increase in the capital expenditure and Indian railways would be investing over ₹10 lakh crore in the next 5 years on various projects. These will include Doubling or Multiple Tracks to decongest saturated network of which 14,000 km work is in progress and targeted to be completed by March 2024. There will be 100% electrification of broad-gauge track by December 2021 and by March 2023, we will be completing upgradation of speed to 130 kmph on 18,000 km of busy routes.”
R. K Suryawanshi, RO- Projects, NHAI, sharing information on the major initiatives planned in Karnataka, said, “Road transport being vital to India’s economy, the infrastructure contributes over 4.7% to the GDP. India’s road network carries over 70% of its freight and 85% of passenger traffic, making India the second largest country in the road & highway development industry, after the US, and in terms of density we are at number 16, ahead of USA. A good road connectivity ensures all-round social and economic development of the region. In Karnataka, over 17 projects amounting to ₹18,000 crore and covering a length of 1386 km, are under implementation by NHAI. Another 5 projects amounting to ₹6116 crore and covering a length of 280 km have been awarded and the work is likely to commence soon during this financial year in the state of Karnataka.”
The exhibition witnessed a series of conferences and seminars like Defence & Paramilitary; MSMEs; Components & Parts; Green Buildings; Smart Cities; Urban Development; Logistics, among others. The Government of Karnataka was the Host State for CII EXCON 2019; the Indian Construction Equipment Manufactures’ Association (ICEMA) was the Sector Partner and was supported by Builders Association of India (BAI).