Equipment Manufacturers on a Ramp Up

Country’s construction equipment manufacturers are buttonholed in boosting up their production capacities to take on the demand, thrown by the burgeoning construction sector. P. P. Basistha & S. A. Faridi takes an insight view of production expansion plans at the factory shops of battery of equipment manufacturers across the country, and also their innovative marketing initiatives for the products and services promotion.

As steady mechanism of India’s construction sector continues to drive the construction equipment market, equipment manufacturers are busy in upping their output. Enhancement of production output is being dovetailed through introduction of modern and sophisticated equipment having newer construction applications. Concurrently, equipment manufacturers are upgrading the features of their existing product line so as to provide higher output to construction companies, as Project size continues to become bigger and time bound project completion becomes the norm of the day. In sync with higher output requirements, newer entrants in the Indian construction equipment market are positioning and placing their products in the same order. Care is being taken by manufacturers in making the products price competitive with adherence to quality standards. Manufacturers are reworking their marketing strategies to make a mark of the brand value of their products in the rapidly maturing Indian construction equipment market.

A look at the action happening at the different segments of the equipment market and the game plan of the manufacturers to be the part of the move.

Earthmoving Equipment

Infrastructure deficiency in India has reinforced the positioning of the earthmoving equipment on the top of the chain. This as a consequence has brought fore a wide supply opportunity before manufacturers. The trend is well expected to continue.

The growth trend would be characterized by demand of higher tonnage capacity earthmoving equipment both pertaining to the loaders, excavators, motor graders and articulate dumpers to a good extent. Precisely, the demand of higher capacity excavators and loaders would much be in place. Notwithstanding, demand would continue to remain from medium capacity excavators as well. This is because construction activity continue to happen in the lower end of the value chain, belonging to housing, irrigation projects etc.

Companies with expanded excavators product range catering to the holistic capacity requirements are looking for consolidating their positions through expanding their production capacity etc. While others, catering exclusively to the higher capacity market requirements would continue to concentrate on their market positions

Telcon

According to Mr. V.R Raje, Vice President (Sales and Marketing,) Telcon, “the base of the earthmoving equipment market in India is quite wide. This is precisely for the excavators and the backhoe loaders market.” Telcon produces 12 different ranges of excavators in a range from 2 tonnes to 120 tonnes. With versatile range of excavators on offer, Telcon enjoys a share of 55 percent in the excavators market.

Equipment Manufacturers on a Ramp Up

To strengthen its market share, the company would be coming up with its third plant at Kharagpur in West Bengal during the year 2008. Telcon is having one plant each in Jamshedpur and Dharwad for production of excavators. As per the construction equipment industry estimates, the construction equipment industry is growing at a rate of 25-30 percent per annum. With 9 percent GDP growth projected during the country’s 11th five year plan period, the equipment industry growth trend is well expected to continue.

Expressing his confidence that the technologically advanced features of Telcon's excavators would enable the company to consolidate its market position. Mr. Raje highlights, that apart from having rugged features consisting the undercarriage and heavy duty boom for higher output, Telcon excavators are equipped with electronic diagnostic and data logging system. Besides, the machines are fuel efficient and adheres to Euro-3 pollution norms. This in turn makes the machines environment friendly.

To make the products price wise competitive, Telcon on a sustainable basis is rationalizing its production and operation costs within the organization and is laying emphasis in cutting down its raw material and component procurement costs.

JCB

Well–defined jacking up of production capacity has been undertaken by JCB, the country’s prime earthmoving equipment manufacturer. JCB possesses a 55 percent market share in the over all construction equipment industry segment and 75 percent market share in the backhoe loaders segment.

Equipment Manufacturers on a Ramp Up

According to the Managing Director of JCB India Mr. Vipin Sondhi, the company has recently invested Rs 100 crore for brown field expansion of its Ballabgarh plant at Haryana. While Rs. 220 crore has been invested for setting up a Greenfield plant at Pune. The Pune steel fabrication unit of JCB was commissioned in 2006. While the second plant of the company at Pune for manufacturing tracked excavators has also been recently commissioned. The investment made for the brownfield expansion would lead JCB to ramp up its production at a range of 25 to 30 percent at the Ballabgarh plant. The Ballabgarh plant of JCB produces its mainstay product line comprising, the backhoe loaders. JCB has three segments of backhoe loaders. This consists of the 3DX, 3DX super and the 4D backhoe loader.

According to Mr. Amit Gossain, General Manager Marketing “JCB has grown at a rate of 30 percent in the year 2006.” "We expect the growth to be steady during 2007.” JCB sold 7,500 machines in 2005. While in 2006, it sold 10,500 units of machines. The company is looking forward to sell 13,000 machines during the calendar year of 2007. JCB would launch 14 Ton Track excavators during May 2007 and Vibromax Road Compaction during 2nd quarter of the year.

Caterpillar

Equipment Manufacturers on a Ramp Up
Caterpillar one of the leaders in construction equipment sector worldwide, in its Indian operations is committed to achieve long-term market leadership in India. According to its President, Asia Pacific Marketing, Mr Rodney C. Beeler, it continues to develop products that will meet Indian market requirements and leverage regional and global product strategies to allow synergies with our Indian strategies. In 2002, it established EDC, a design and engineering centre in Chennai to support enterprise product design and development. Near Chennai, it has Caterpillar India Ltd, which manufactures a range of earthmoving equipment. In Hosur, close to Bangalore it has manufacturing facility for engines, engine components. It recently released 424B Backhoe Loader designed to meet the current market requirements. Its new CAT D series of medium hydraulic excavators in range from 20 to 37 tonnes offers customers increased reliability, versatility, performance. Its new series excavators offer the Indian construction market world-class quality products combined with fuel efficiency. In India, Caterpillar has established a good reputation in selection of dealership arrangements, efficient after-sale services and assured supply of spare parts.

Volvo

In accordance with Mr. Mritunjaya Singh, Vice President Volvo, the fact that the base of the excavators market is wide enough in the country is equally well-endorsed. The Indian construction market has got an excavators requirement ranging from 10 to 100 tonnes capacity range and above. He says, “though Volvo has both medium and high range capacity excavators at its stable to address the market requirement at all fronts but the targeted customers of Volvo (80%) are users of 60-70 tonnes capacity excavators.” Volvo has 13 percent share in the Indian excavators market and the company imports its excavators from Korea.

Equipment Manufacturers on a Ramp Up

As a part of its operational features, Mr. Singh informs that the Volvo excavators are fuel efficient, and minimizes the cost of operation of the machines. Legitimising his claim, he explains, “Volvo excavators require engine overhaul following 12000–14000 hours of operation,” contrary to other excavators, which require engine overhaul following 5000– 7000 hours of operation.

To make the cost of its excavators competitive, Volvo is strongly contemplating to undertake local manufacturing of components shortly at its Hosakote plant near Bangalore. However, the company is looking for sales volumes to pick up. As a part of its marketing strategy, Volvo has been laying emphasis in recent years in creating a captive customers base in the country. This is so as to promote its entire chain of earthmoving equipment in a big way and commensurately enhance the brand value of its products.

Volvo has reached on an agreement with Ingersoll Rand to acquire the assets of the company’s road development division, a world-leading manufacturer of heavy equipment for road construction and soil compaction with revenues of US$ 864 million in 2006.

Apart from excavators, Volvo’s other range of earthmoving equipment include wheeled loaders, motor graders and articulate dumpers. The wheeled loaders and articulate dumpers are imported from Sweden, whereas the motor graders are imported from Canada. Volvo sold 750 earthmoving equipment during 2006- 2007 fiscal in the country. Swayed by the demand, Volvo plans to sell larger number of machines during 2007-08.

Terex Vectra

Buoyant earthmoving equipment demand has made Terex Vectra prepare ambitious sales target as well. Armed with innovative features of its excavators, Terex is looking forward in materializing its sales target.

Equipment Manufacturers on a Ramp Up

Terex manufactures backhoe loaders and skid steer loaders in India. The company was able to sell 391 units during 2005-2006. While in 2006-2007 it sold 950 units. Buoyed by soaring sales, Terex has placed a mammoth sales target of 2000 plus units during 2007-08.

According to Mr. Amit Sood, General Manager, Marketing Terex Vectra, “our backhoe loaders and skid steer loaders are featured to provide maximum value to our customers.” Terex machines being technologically advanced, adheres to three parameters. This consists of being highly productive, highly reliable and low operating costs.” The prominent distinctive features of the Terex backhoe loaders consist of 90 horse power engines and hydraulic pumps. This enables the loaders to provide higher output and production consistency.

To make its products cost competitive, Terex is undertaking sustained improvement in sourcing of component and spares so as to cut down procurement costs. The company has recently set up an in house fabrication facility to cut down production costs.

Terex has spent $12 million in setting up its production facility at Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh.

The production facility can comfortably produce 3000 units in a single shift. With demand soaring, the company expects to optimally utilize its production capacity. The company has a wide network of 33 dealers and 60 branches across the country," says Mr. Sood.

Komatsu

Komatsu India Pvt. Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Komatsu Limited of Japan has, set up a Rs 50 crore plant to manufacture off–highway trucks near Chennai. These trucks will be used mainly in earthmoving projects. They come in two capacity range 50 tons and 100 tons. Initially the plant will produce about 200 units a years. Most of the component will come from abroad. The company anticipates good demand for dump trucks, driven by requirement in the construction and mining sector.

This is Komatsu second production based in India. The first one is in Bangalore, a 50:50 joint venture with L&T, which makes hydraulics excavators.

Crushers and Screening Equipment

Crushers and screening equipment are another important segment in the equipment chain, high in demand. Aggregate requirement in various forms for ongoing and projected construction activity would lead to the sustained demand of crushers and screeners. Manufacturers are devising long term strategies to cash on the opportunity.

However, again like earthmoving equipment demand for crushers and screeners would be featured by requirement of machines with higher output. Going by the requirement change, the demand is moving towards larger capacity crushers belonging to the 300 Tonne Per Hour (TPH) capacity range and above from the present mid size capacity of 150-200 (TPH). The fast track urban development projects and the quarrying areas in major cities are going in for higher outputs ranging from 200- 300 TPH.

There has been a shift over the couple of years towards mobile plants and continues to be a preferable item for highway construction. However, in the higher output range, stationary plants continue to remain preferred for their flexibility in meeting the commercial aggregate requirements of RMC’s and concrete products in urban areas.

Nawa Engineers

Prominent among the manufacturers to reposition their product line in sync with market demand is Nawa Engineers.

The company has recently completed the expansion of its workshop facilities for increased numbers of crushers and screens in the company’s existing Hyderabad premises. As per Mr. G. N. Raju, MD, Nawa Engineers Pvt Ltd. “we have geared up to make 20-22 machine per month starting from April 2007 to meet the target of building 15 mobile plants and 22 stationary plants and individual equipment sales in the year 2007-08.

To enhance its customer service support, Nawa is finalizing its plans to widening its activities by positioning resident engineers at major cities and mining areas progressively in another six months time. These areas will be developed not only to develop the company’s existing marketing base but also to act as the company’s after sales service and spare parts centers.

Equipment Manufacturers on a Ramp Up

However, Mr. Raju points out, the future demand of crushers and screeners would be characterized by demand of large size equipment at a range of 300 TPH than the earlier 150-200 TPH range with a demand of rugged features. Nawa is positioning its crushers by incorporating the desired robust features.

Metso Minerals

Equipment Manufacturers on a Ramp Up
The trend of large output machines, is equally well– endorsed by Metso Minerals. According to Mr. Dinesh Sharda, Marketing Manager, Metso Minerals, "Along with demand of high capacity machines, there is a shift from static to mobile crushers. This is as because, in the present scenario, construction companies have large number of projects at their disposal and with mobile crushers offering intrinsic advantage of arranging and dismantling the machines within a quicker time frame, construction companies are preferring mobile crushers so that the machines can be redeployed at various project locations.”

Metso has a product line consisting of, mobile crushers catering to high capacity output as well as static crushers. However, mobile crushers form their larger selling segment. Metso’s crushers have automated features for higher output along with added features for life cycle solutions. “As a part of value added service support, the company emphasizes on disseminating information to users for optimally using the equipment.” On the same he f u r t h e r mentions," 50 percent of our sales revenue is derived from product sales, while other 50 percent is derived from service support.”

Elaborating on the after sales service support he says, Metso lays total emphasis in providing component support. As a part to ensure efficient component availability, Metso maintains mobile warehouses. The mobile warehouses are located at construction locations of Metso’s customers so as to ensure faster availability of components following wear and tear. Mr. Sharda adds, faster and adequate availability of components forms the most vital part of service support for Metso.

To support the mobile warehouses, Metso has hubs at various parts of the country.

Sandvik

Equipment Manufacturers on a Ramp Up
Sandvik is a global industrial group with advanced products and world leading positions in selected areascrushers and screens, tools for metal cutting, machinery and tools for rock excavation. The group conducts operations within these business areas: Sandvik Tooling, Sandvik Mining and Construction, Sandvik Material Technology.

According to Mr. Hakan Kingsledts, “India is our key market. We are involved in Highways, Hydro-electric projects, Mining etc. SMC is seen moving from product focus to customer focus business approach demonstrating its commitment. As SMC continues on its growth plan in India, we would participate in key strategic markets across India.” Sandvik’s new products are being designed and manufactured in India adhering to international standards at their manufacturing facilities in Pune and Hyderabad These units not only served the domestic market but also act as global sourcing base.

Sandvik crushing and screening equipment are engineered, for maximum productivity and offers advanced equipment for almost any size-reduction challenge, stationary or mobile. They can upgrade existing plants, deliver complete solutions and effect turnkey installations. Sandvik also supply individual units for plants, key components and quality consumables. In the Indian market Sandvik delivers wide range of crushers as per the requirement of their clients to provide complete solution to them. By understanding customers’ processes, the company funds innovative solutions and help them to improve their productivity and profitability.

Taurians Engineers

Equipment Manufacturers on a Ramp Up
Optimization of production output is also being carried out by Taurian Engineers Pvt. Ltd. Its G.M Projects Mr. Shankarnarayan, points out "We are undertaking wholesome initiative to harness the potential of our production facilities.”

Taurian has set up a new factory unit at Roorkee in August 2006. The factory shop is equipped with computerized numerical machines (CNC) for higher and faster production of units. The company would be spending additional 6 crores during 2007 fiscal to improve its casting facilities.

In sync with growing demand of high capacity mobile crushers, Taurian offers customized products in the same order. Its product line consists of, "Jumbo Series” of crushing and screening plant upto 350 TPH, “Stallion” series mobile wheeled screening plants in three variants models upto 500 TPH, jaw crushers and cone crushers upto 500 TPH, vibrating screens and vibrating grizzly feeders, washing screws upto 200 TPH and bulk material handling systems. Taurian also undertakes turnkey projects.

Mr. Shankaran informs, the crushers manufactured by Taurian have distinctive features for smoother operation and consistency in output. The features consists of, "Programme Logic Control” software for convenient operation of the machines. For convenient operation, the machines also has touch screen facilities. "To provide our crushers with advanced technological features, Taurian has entered into a collaboration with Astec of US to manufacture hydraulics. He also points out that the Taurian machines are equipped with technology to minimize manual operations."

Taurian boasts of offering 24X7 after sales service support to its customer to allows the company to have an edge over its competitors. Adequate and faster provision of component support is also a priority for Taurian. It has well arranged stock points. The points are located at Hyderabad and Mumbai and also in Northern India. The company is targeting to have a turnover of Rs 100 crores in 2007–08 fiscal. Taurian had a turnover of Rs 24 crores during 2006-07.

Torsa Machines

Equipment Manufacturers on a Ramp Up
While at one end, there is a demand of high capacity crushers at the range of 300 TPH and above, there is also a demand of 10-100 TPH crushers as well. Kolkata based, Torsa Machines Pvt Ltd is one of the front runners in manufacturing the small andmedium category range mobile crushers.

According to Mr. Manish Bhartia, Joint Managing Director, Torsa Machines Ltd, “we have made ourselves targeted to the low tonnage market. The potential of the market is good as there are good numbers of prospective low scale commercial producers of aggregates.”

Torsa has adopted critical production procedures in place so as to make its products competitive. Torsa has put in place “Finite Analysis Concept” in designing its machines which minimizes the usage of steel in the machine during the manufacturing process and at the same time enables it retain its rugged features.” “The concept allows the company pass on cost benefit to its customers. This is essential as the target group of customers of Torsa are price sensitive.”

To further bring down cost competitiveness, Torsa machines equally lays emphasis on cutting down its procurement cost by 5 percent per year. Stiff competition among vendors allows the company to do so comfortably.

Like its contemporaries, providing efficient component support to its customers is also a priority for Torsa. The company maintains stock yard at Guwahati and Kolkata. The company has in addition identified six zones in eastern India to provide component support to its customers in Orissa and Madhya Pradesh, where Torsa has a good concentration of customers.

Road Construction Equipment

NHAI’s recent decision to undertake a complete seven phase expansion of the highways during the 11th five year plan and beyond at an estimated cost of Rs 2, 20000 crores, has provided a shot in arm to road construction equipment manufacturers, are looking forward to the emerging opportunities, poised to come up following the government’s decision to take forward the country’s National Highway Development Programme. Nonetheless, manufacturers are expanding their production capacities to avoid any supply shortfall in the ongoing highway development programme.

While increased quantum of work would put larger demand of road construction equipment. But future demand would be characterized by shift from medium to large size equipment, led by increasing size of projects. Demand of high capacity equipment would be synthesized possessing advanced technological features. Manufacturers are positioning themselves to meet the requirement pre–requisites.

Dynapac India

Providing his views on the demand of road construction equipment, Mr. Manoj Garg, Managing Director, Dynapac India Private Ltd says, the increased quantum of work is shifting the trend towards the use of bigger machines for road construction, but the support structure is some what acting as a deterrent factor.”

Demanded by quality requirement there is a gradual shift from basic models to more automated models. Dynapac is introducing advanced world class features in its road construction machines for Indian market.

To meet the growing demand of Dynapac products in India, the company is planning to set up a production base. This is expected to be operational by 2008, says Mr. Garg.

Gujarat Apollo

Equipment Manufacturers on a Ramp Up
The demand of high capacity road construction equipment coupled with advanced technical features is well endorsed by Gujarat Apollo. says Mr. Asit Patel, Managing Director, Gujarat Apollo Pvt. Ltd. “There is a transition shift in demand of high capacity equipment both for pavers and asphalt batching plants." There is a shift in demand from 90 ton per hour batching plant to 160 ton per hour asphalt batching plant. While pavers are getting bigger as necessitated to put in wet mixing layers on the road surface.” Hydrostatic pavers are finding increased acceptance. Pavers are also becoming bigger keeping in view the quality requirements of the NHAI projects, in view requiring multiple asphalt laying at a range of 20 cubic metres from the earlier 10 cubic metres, says Mr. Asit Patel.

Gujarat Apollo, present road construction requirement has product line consisting of high capacity asphalt batching plants and pavers.

To enhance the production units, Gujarat Apollo is undertaking extensive automation of its production facilities located near Ahmedabad. The company would be spending Rs 20 crores to upgrade its assembly shops. It is also planning to expand its existing production facilities. With demand of equipment going up, Gujarat Apollo is looking forward to increase its geographical presence through expanding its after sales service network. The company has its stockyard present in 8-9 cities across the country.

Unisteel Engineering Works

Equipment Manufacturers on a Ramp Up
Led by advanced technological features, road construction equipment is finding newer applications in allied areas. Manufacturers of the same, sensing the opportunity, brought in by newer applications are manufacturing and positioning their products accordingly. A reference to the same is Unisteel Engineering Works. Unisteel has a product line consisting, of concrete pavers for roads and airports and also concrete pavers for canal and reservoir construction. Unisteel has provided its pavers (RCP-70) for construction of concrete roads under PWD at Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur and Mumbai.

According to Mr. Bipin Surelia, MD, Unisteel,“ given the fact that concrete roads have longer life, State public works department are laying emphasis on the construction of the same.”

Unisteel sold 25 of its concrete paving units during 2005–06, while during in 2006–07 it sold 35 units. The company has made a target to sell 50 units during 2007–08.

The Ahmedabad unit of the factory is being expanded to meet the rising demand. The development of airports identified by the government both in metros, and non–metros and also in irrigation, would create suitable demand of the concrete pavers, forsees Mr. Surelia.

ECEL

Equipment Manufacturers on a Ramp Up
While on one front, newer applications requirement are making manufacturers to manufacture and position their products accordingly, on the other, manufacturers are making their presence felt by offering versatile category products in the related segment. ECEL is one of the manufacturers in the same. The company manufactures wide capacity range of rollers both for asphalt and soil compaction. The rollers manufactured by ECEL begins from the range of 3 ton to 12 ton.

As Mr. Rajesh Sharma, Marketing Head ECEL says, “we offer the most versatile range of rollers among other manufacturers in the Indian construction equipment market.” He mentions, “our 8-10 tonne capacity roller suit to the multiple application both for soil and asphalt compaction.”

As a part of its after sales service support ECEL emphasizes in providing maintenance package to its machines. ECEL has 72 dealers across the country with mother depots at Faridabad and Mumbai. ECEL is working to double its production capacity of rollers and other machines. The company sold more than 400 machines during 2006–07. The company has made a sales target to double its sales during 2007–08.

Greaves

Expanding production output to cater the surging market requirement is also the priority agenda for Greaves Cotton Limited. As per Mr. K.S. Kumar, Head Infrastructure Division Group, Greaves, “we plan to double our existing production capacity from its present stage for the road equipment to take on to the gushing demand requirement, both to cover any shortfall in supply at present and as well for the future.”

Greaves aims to cement its position in the road construction equipment through its continuous emphasis on “Total Quality Service” (TSQ). According to Mr. Kumar, the idea of TSQ is to offer a continuous back up support service to the customer from day one of purchasing the machine. Greaves is in the process to locate its service engineers to second level cities, from where road construction equipment demand is coming and continue to be in future.

However, with cost of production going up, Greaves is emphasizing on indigenization and alternative sourcing to price its products competitively.

In road construction equipment, Greaves Cotton manufactures, single drum vibratory soil compactor possessing high static linear load, 36 mm drum shell thickness for longer life.

It also manufactures tandem vibratory roller, with features comprising 2 amplitudes, 2 frequencies for optimum compaction. Besides, the machines have drum offset to both sides for preventing damage to road kerbs. Light tandem rollers and pneumatic tyre rollers are also made available by the company.

Rental Equipment Sector

Equipment Manufacturers on a Ramp Up
Given the increased allocation in this year’s Budget for infrastructure development, the equipment rental sector is also witnessing significant growth. A number of rental equipment suppliers-like Quipo, Gremach, Punj Lloyd and others are providing earthmoving machineries and equipment to medium and large construction companies engaged in the business of constructing, building of roads, airports, power projects as cost of equipment is a major cost. The construction companies are finding it easy to hire the equipment on rent then buy them. The equipment renting market is estimated to be growing at a CAGR of over 13 percent. Rental equipment companies’ growth in earning over the last three-four years is backed by improvement in rental income and operating margin. Increase in the number of orders, coupled with better capacity utilization and addition of new equipment explains the robust growth of rental equipment sector. Many equipment rental companies are going in for technological upgradation of their owned equipment so as to ward off the risk of technical obsolescene of their products line. To raise money to acquire more advanced equipment, rental equipment companies are moving to capital markets and other sources.

IDFC Private Equity, and Quipo Infrastructure Equipment DFC Private Equity and GIC Special investments of Singapore have invested Rs 150 crore in Quipo Infrastructure Equipment Ltd. valuing the Company at Rs. 500 crore.

Soaring demand of equipment both for the ongoing projects, and for the future construction projects, is making equipment manufacturers to ramp up production capacities, incorporate advanced technological features and expand after sales service network. The upshot of the observation is that the Indian construction equipment market is on the way getting matured. The need of the hour to sustain the maturity element would be to continue the expansion of infrastructure projects by the government both through policy and financial support on a macro level. With better days ahead this would encourage the equipment manufacturing industry grow to its next level of growth.
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