Today, the market for concrete equipment is growing at a rate of 17–20% across all product categories. The subsiding pandemic has instilled confidence in the stakeholders, resulting in a rising order book. Equipment manufacturers expect demand to gain further traction, led by the Government’s National Infrastructure Plan. They also envisage demand for more advanced and higher capacity equipment, backed by the required services and support, which is driving them to undertake more research and development of innovative features and products, and thereby also keep competitors at bay.
Schwing Stetter India has been making technological advancements in the spirals of its transit mixers for better homogenous mix and greater concrete strength, which has led to reduced cement consumption for the clients. Fuel consumption has also lessened due to the open loop hydraulic system and the advanced prime movers. “We have been making improvisations in the design of the batching plants to enable faster erection and ease of maintenance. We also have in-house automation design department to meet customers’ requirement for CRM and IoT, plus we do customised engineering in many cases,” informs Mr. Sakthikumar.
To minimize cost of operations for its customers and enable more efficient performance of its equipment, Schwing Stetter has incorporated variable frequency drives in some of its batching plants, which help give accurate skip motor speed control, while digitization helps monitor the performance. It has integrated the Scada software with graphical interpretation in its MCI460 and MCI550 batching plants, and in its transit mixers for vehicle tracking.
The company is also strengthening its pre- and post-sales services, informs Mr. Sakthikumar. “Customers can get complete solutions from selection of the right equipment to annual maintenance contracts, in consultation with our application specialists. Our countrywide service centres offer complete repair, overhauling and refurbishment of old machines. By availing these services, equipment owners can derive the total lifecycle cost of their equipments. Our training department offers operator assessment and upskilling of the RMC workforce to acquaint them with our new pumping and other latest technologies.”
The company’s product portfolio includes batching plants, boom pumps, and the locally made concrete slip-form paver. “We have built our business through innovations and value engineering. To meet the challenge of quick placement of concrete in inaccessible areas, we are offering a smaller 4X2 truck chassis mounted concrete boom pump, which is also ideal for use in the construction of commercial and residential buildings. It has a short turning radius, offers higher productivity and is more cost efficient. Our patented self-propelled boom pump is an industry-first’ which has eliminated the need for a truck chassis and has an even shorter turning radius. With its 4X4 capability, it can reach any place in any kind of terrain, and is designed for narrow, difficult to access concreting jobs,” informs Aneja.
Ajax has added new features like a load cell weighing system for more accuracy in its (patented) self-loading concrete mixers. It has introduced smart fleet telematics, rear view camera, admixture dosing units, bi-directional tyres, AC cabins, EH drum control, high pressure water jet, smart CBC etc. “These improvisations have been made for the first time in India. In August 2021, we introduced India’s first all-new CEV Stage IV compliant ARGOs that offer benefits like excellent fuel efficiency, reduced downtime, longer service intervals, and reliability,” says Aneja.
According to him, their Self-Loading Concrete Mixers enjoy a good brand recall, which he attributes to their proven performance, timely servicing, and the fact that Ajax pioneered the concept of SLCM in India in 1992, which revolutionised concreting in project sites. Ajax also manufactures 12-meter slip-form pavers locally. The pavers (according to the company) have worked rigorously for over 2500 hours and have built over 100 kms of concrete roads in India. The company will now promote them across India and also in international markets.
Says Aneja, “We are geared up to meet the government’s plans for infrastructure development across segments that include residential and industrial projects, metro rail corridors, railways, irrigation canals, aqueducts, road tunnels, bridges, airports, and smart city projects. To cater to these big-ticket projects, Ajax will be investing around `140 crore to build a new manufacturing facility and a design centre in Bangalore, which will also help us in widening our footprint in India and in meeting the growing demand in North Africa, Middle East, and the Asian region.”
The company’s in-house R&D department undertakes continuous upgradation of its wide range of products viz Concrete Batching Plants, Self-Loading mixers, Concrete Pavers, Transit mixers, Concrete Pumps etc to meet the latest technology advancements happening worldwide. For example, its batching plants come with a multi-lingual Scada software, and all its equipment across the concreting value chain are IoT enabled. “We have also made a full SOP of all fault findings and trained our customers to self-detect the faults and rectify them. Our plants can be connected remotely such that any fault finding and rectification, or software upgradation can be done remotely,” informs Verma.
More than 10,000 KYB-Conmat machines are working in India and abroad, supported by a pan India network of in-house service teams, parts warehouses, and dealer service points at select locations. “We also have developed a 24x7 IVR service mechanism for both online and offline service monitoring and support. This enables us to attend to many service requests remotely and save the valuable time of our customers. Our service engineers’ movements are also tracked in real time basis which helps us to provide our customers a timely and efficient after sales service support,” says Verma.