Utility of Big Equipment…
As project sizes becoming bigger, foundation and earthmoving equipment manufacturers are offering bigger size equipment for increased output and productivity. P. P. Basistha explores the offerings and the benefits involved with the heavier equipments.
Higher output requirement, critical construction applications coupled with compressed project schedules are increasingly making contractors involved in foundation, piling and earthmoving jobs opt for bigger capacity equipment. Responding to the job requirements, equipment manufacturers are placing their products in the same order. However, there are certain yardsticks—a contractor has to abide before acquiring a heavier capacity equipment for his projects. This would make the deployment of the bigger equipment on the project site commercially viable for the contractor.
As size of the construction sector tends to grow led by emerging areas of construction, foundation and piling equipment are finding increased acceptance in the country, which was nascent even couple of years ago. Increased acceptance are being dovetailed by critical job applications, precisely in port sector and railways metro projects,” informs Mr. Sanjoy Chakravarty, MD, Soilmec Foundation Equipment Pvt Ltd. “Based on critical foundation and piling applications, Soilmec has in place product offerings to work in rigid conditions, pertaining to harder strata and deeper piles,” he says.
Higher working capacity of foundation and piling equipment are essentially gauged by their operating weight which enables the machines to undertake deeper drilling at wider diameters in hard strata. In accordance with this, Soilmec, the Italian foundation equipment major has in place, heavy equipment that can undertake drilling from 60 metres to 100 metres. However, it has also in place lighter capacity equipment that can undertake drilling from 20-50 metres deep.
Soilmec’s product offering consisting SR-70, a heavy equipment has been deployed in the construction of International Container Transhipment Terminal at Cochin, being developed by Dubai Ports World. The project which will be India’s first container transhipment terminal between the East and West Coast, for accommodating bigger vessels involves drilling upto 80 metres, deepest drilling ever done by any foundation equipment in India as Mr. Chakravarty informed, 1200 mm of diametre with the SR-70.
SR-70, a foundation equipment of 79 tonne class has a powerful rotary of achieving 266 km maximum torque. The machine has been deployed in the brownfield expansion project work of Tata Steel’s flagship plant at Jamshedpur and that of Indian Iron and Steel Company belonging to Steel Authority of India Limited. The machine has been undertaking digging at hard soil with full of iron slag in both the projects. The SR-70 has also been finding increased acceptance at National Thermal Power Plant’s project at Bongaigon, Nellore, Bawana and much recently Barh Thermal power project.
Also to undertake deeper drilling, Soilmec has in place the SR-80 another top version of the company’s offering. The machine which can be converted in a 70 ton foundation crane and from that when equipped with a diaphragm wall hydraulic grab is able to perform panels upto 1200mm long and 3500 mm width and upto 70m depth.
According to Mr. Chakravorty, “the traditional philoshopy of Soilmec has been to highlight some features like easy set up at job site, flexibility as multifunction (different technology with the same base machine), the SR-80 goes beyond more high innovative solutions. In accordance with the same, the machine has manufacturing features which are able to speed up the assembly and set up the rig as new system of mounting/dismounting the tracks and the counterweight remote controlled for the safe maneuvers of the operator.”
The rig of the machine is equipped with a hydraulic rotary shifting gear box which, at the same torque level is able to offer higher rotation speed, an average increase of 15%. By means of which we obviously have a higher production capacity but can also be exploited for soil mixing applications.” The safety feature of the machine includes, being equipped with three cameras located in the critical areas at the winches, blind rear and bottom areas for the operator, he mentions further.
Soilmec, which is essentially into geotechnical construction has got requisite data inputs, which it passes on to the potential contractor for selection of the appropriate machine, from its range of foundation equipment product offering based on the job requirement.
Another Italian foundation equipment major to provide heavier capacity foundation equipment is Mait Far East Pte Limited. The company has on offer its HR-260 drilling rig with 75 tonnes capacity for undertaking drilling at 80 metres. It has HR-800 weighed at 150 tonnes for undertaking drilling jobs at 110 metres. It has HR-300 weighed at 95 tonnes to perform drilling functions at 80 metres. The machines are well capable for undertaking drilling at hard strata with increased output.
However, as per Mr. D. V. Brahme, Deputy Manager, Mait Far East, the company’s HR-180 weighed at 60 tonnes and HR-130 weighed at 37 tonnes have got good response in the country. The machines can undertake drilling jobs at 60 metres and 40 metres respectively.
Adds Mr. Brahme. “Mait’s rigs are multipurpose rigs which can be used for diaphragm walls with a simple change of kit at a rapid pace. Changing from bored piling version to diaphragm version takes only few hours.”
Mait manufactures range of hydraulic rigs for bored piles, continuous flight auger, diaphragm walls, jet grouting, casing oscillators etc. Mait also manufactures hydraulic hammers for driven piles.
Mait’s foundation equipment puts forth the claim on products offering value for money. As per Mr. Brahme, “Mait machines, have low maintenance and operation costs, and altogether the pricing of the machine is competitive.” He mentions further, “the machines are performance proven, it can perform optimally to its potential and provides a good resale value to the contractor wiling to sell the same after its usage.” Mr. Brahme, informed about a Mait piling rig, which worked for more than 25,000 hours in Mumbai was sold off at reasonably good price after its job by the contractor.
Prestigious upcoming projects, where Mait rigs are being used includes, the Delhi Metro Railway projects, ICTT Cochin Port project and also Dahej LNG terminal project and at NTPC’s Barh thermal power project.
Mait, which started its operation eight years ago in the country, has its own service set up and warehouse. The company has captive customer base, consisting prominent fleet owner, Valecha Engineering Limited. Mait has sold around 20 rigs to Valecha. The company also has prime customers involving, Navayuga and Simplex infrastructure, to whom it has sold 25 and 20 rigs respectively, over the years. Based on the DPR made available by the contractor, Mait provides assistance to the contractor for selection of the right kind of foundation equipment based on the job application requirements.
Another leading foundation engineering equipment manufacturer is Casagrande whose equipment is used in more than 60 countries around the world.
Based near Venice, Italy, Casagrande’s wide range of foundation engineering equipment includes Hydraulic Piling & Diaphragm Wall Rigs, Hydraulic Crawler Drills, Hydromills, Desanders, equipment for micropiling, Jet Grouting, to name a few.
A large majority of Casagrande’s product range is working in India on various projects and applications like Delhi Metro, Mumbai Metro, Bangalore Metro, Bridges, Flyovers, Underpass, Dams, Ports & Harbours, Power projects, etc.
Casagrande’s large capacity Piling Rigs with advanced features are working in prestigious projects in India, like LNG Terminal at Cochin, Delhi Metro Airport Express line, etc.
Casagrande’s other top end variant includes, the C850, the B300 (weighed at 88 tonnes). It is able to undertake piling at a maximum depth of 70m at a maximum diameter of 2000mm. On the other hand the company’s B-400 weighed at 110 tonnes can undertake piling at a maximum depth of 87m at the maximum diameter of 2700mm.
In the large rigs, Casagrande’s popular big rig model C600, weighed at 107 tonnes, can undertake Bored Piles at a maximum depth of 87m at a maximum diameter of 2200mm and Diaphragm walls of upto 57m depth and panel thickness of 1200mm.
Casagrande through its B-250, weighed at 76 tonnes having a torque of 250 kNm is able to undertake piling at a depth of 68m at a diameter of 2500 mm. While its B180-HD weighed at 64 tonnes, having a torque of 180 kNm can undertake drilling at depth of 68m as well at a maximum diameter of 1800mm.
Casagrande has been able to maintain a well established presence in the Indian construction market. Casagrande piling rigs boasts of self–propelled and self–erecting features. The rigs are mobile hydraulically operated with easy operation features and lower maintenance. The machines have minimal erection and commissioning time and are adaptable to various jobs of foundations of bridges, flyovers, jetties, ports, and so on.
Casagrande Diaphragm Wall Rigs have found applications in many construction projects across the country, prime among this includes, construction of underground stations of Delhi Metro, the Underpass sections in New Delhi by Valecha Engineering, Basements, Underground Car Parks, etc. Casagrande has various models of Diaphragm wall rigs namely B125KRC1, B180HDKRC2, B250KRC3, C600HDKRC2, etc. The Diaphragm wall rigs can be seen working in most large cities in India with a large focus in New Delhi.
Casagrande’s Hydraulic Crawler Drills for Micropiling, Anchoring & Jet Grouting Applications like C6 are deployed in several projects in India, like Delhi Metro, Dams, etc. The most reliable crawler drill produced, has several applications. Today’s C6 has changed from its older versions, with options like radio controls, electronic rotary, versatile mast movements, etc.
Jet Grouting Pumps, Desanders, Bentonite Mixing Units, tools, accessories and comprehensive solutions are available with Casagrande.
Foundation equipment for critical construction project work is also offered by Bauer. The company, which sold piling rigs to L&T 13 years ago, have found its product acceptance among major construction companies at their site over the years. Prime among them include, Navayuga Engineers, Krishna river bridge project at Vijayvada in Andhra Pradesh. The construction component involves, using four Bauer piling rigs for constructing a three kilometer bridge on the river.
Bauer rigs are also being used in Parbati hydroelectric power project in Himachal Pradesh, National Thermal Power Corporation’s ongoing coal fired power station at Barh in Bihar and also Navayuga’s Nariana flyover in Delhi. The equipment have found usage in Delhi Metro Railway projects also.
To enhance the acceptance of its foundation equipment popular in the country among potential users, Bauer India on its part, have been organizing geotechnical conference across the country inviting contractors. It has also been approaching project consultants, involving Sterling Consultants, L&T Ramboll, Shrish Patel & Associates for larger information circulation on the product added with array of foundation solutions being provided.
Foundation equipment with technically advanced features for undertaking rigid jobs are also being provided by Delhi based PVS-Impex through the Chinese made Sinovo piling rigs. PVS has entered into a marketing tie up with Sinovo of China for selling its hydraulic piling rigs in India in January 2008.
Elaborating on the advanced features of Sinovo rigs, Mr. Rakesh Raina, General Manager Sales, PVS-Impex mentions, “the piling rigs have Rexoth brand hydraulic parts, oil pump intelligent controls and load sensor controls. This enables the machine to achieve the power matching with loads for the drilling rigs, minimize fuel consumption and guarantee reliable performance. On this, the newest Caterpillar engines meets exhaust classification 3rdemission standard and with auto acceleration and deacceleration functions, resulting in 5-10% fuel cost reduction.”
He added, “the heavy duty Kelly bar has extreme rigidity that meets the requirement of drilling into complex hard soil and rocks.” Added features of Sinovo piling rigs includes, PLC control system with LCD display lubrication free bearings advance computer control system etc. Sinovo piling rigs are available in range of model configurations consisting, the TR120, TR160, TR180, TR220, TR250, TR300, and TR400.
Piling rigs with advanced features are also claimed to be offered by Rotary Construction Machinery India. China based Beijing Rotary Machinery Technology Company Limited is relatively a new entrant in the Indian foundation and piling equipment market. The company which has been importing its piling rigs from China has sold four machines in India as of now following its entry in the Indian market. The piling rigs were sold to Mumbai based construction companies. According to Mr. Tejdeep Singh Sehmbey, Director, Rotary Construction Machinery India, “we see good business potential from metro railway projects, ports expansion and bridge projects in India.” He mentions, “our piling rigs are 30% price competitive than that of offered by other foreign counterparts owing to the assembly of the machinery in China.” He adds, “Our piling rigs have got elaborate features to make the machines economical to operate while being more productive owing to its advanced features.” Rotary piling rigs claims to be fuel efficient being driven by Volvo engines. The machine comes with Berco undercarriage which is one of best in the world ensuring stability to the piling rigs. The tracks of the undercarriage are driven independently by axle piston motors and come with multi disc brakes. The machine also boasts of having sophisticated electronics in its operating system from Palfin of Finland, The complete hydraulic system is of Rexroth & the gear box assembly is of Brevini. Additionally, the 360* view comfortable operator cabins with ventilation hatch on the roof etc. Rotary piling rigs are capable of undertaking drilling at depth ranging from 40-65 metres. The equipment having model configuration consisting, R-150 (dia. 1000mm with casing), R-180 (dia. 1200mm), R-200 (dia. 1500mm), R-260 (dia. 2000mm). Rotary offers its back up electrical and hydraulic component support through its huge warehouse based at Mumbai where it has a stock of all the spares, while the service support is offered by its four service engineers also based at Mumbai. The company proposes to enhance its team of service engineers with growth of the machine population. The company also provides training programmes at their office for operators for operation and maintenance of these equipments.
Another foreign manufacturer looking to establish its foothold in the growing Indian foundation and piling equipment market is ThyssenKrupp Bautechnik of Germany. ThyssenKrupp has got a distribution tie up with Nathani Steel for distributing its vibrohammers and sheet piles in India, imported from Germany. According to Mr. Zain Nathani, Managing Director Nathani Steel, “our Vibrohammers and sheet piles are designed and strata based having versatile features. However, the machines are higher on their cost owing to their advanced features.”
Nonetheless, though the sales of the ThyssenKrupp’s products have been modest but it has found its acceptance in major projects comprising, South Asian LPG project at Vizag and Videocon IT Park at Kolkata. The company’s Vibrohammers and sheet piles have been used in projects belonging to Shapoorji Pallonji, Larsen & Toubro, Essar Group, Befesa Infrastructure India (P) Ltd. ThyssenKrupp’s Vibrohammers owes its utility to the higher output it can deliver at a shorter time period.
To promote the products, Nathani Steel has been carrying on business development not only among end users but also among construction project design consultants such as Sterling Consultants, Shrish Patel and Associates etc.
Versatility & PrequisitesThough bigger capacity foundation equipment can deliver enhanced productivity. The added advantage of a heavier capacity machine is that it can be used at versatile applications with numerous attachments, which may not be possible with a lighter capacity machine. A bigger machine can undertake multivarious functions with continuous flight augers, telescopic friction and interlocking kelly bars, drilling bucket, core barrel, parellogram, casing oscillator, case drive adopters etc.
Given the advantages of the heavier capacity foundation equipment both in terms of its productivity and versatility, a contractor can be enticed to acquire it. However, a contractor would be well advised to take into account certain usage parameters, prior deployment of the machine at the job site as this would make the usage of the equipment more commercially viable.
Significant yard sticks that needs to be taken into account includes, a thorough evaluation of the job size in hand and the ones the contractor looking to undertake in future. As Mr. Brahme of Mait informs, “a contractor should go for a bigger machine, once he has a job assurance of undertaking minimum 60-800 piles. Besides, rate of drilling per metre needs to be justified, prior going in for a bigger machine. At par with this, the strata requirement, the drilling depth requirement and the diameter should also be well taken into account in advance.”
Deployment of a bigger machine and getting the desired output and productivity would also be justified with appropriate selection of supporting equipment. This would mean at par with a big equipment a contractor has to put in place a heavier capacity crane, for bridge projects, to lift down the steel casing for pouring concrete. Selection of the right concrete pump that can be matched with the working foundation equipment also needs to be taken into account among others. All which would go in positioning of the equipment commercially viable.
Efficacy in Heavy EarthmovingNot to be left behind, at par with heavier foundation equipment, big sized earthmoving equipment come with their own usefulness both in terms of higher productivity and multipurpose usage. This is both for excavators, wheel loaders and backhoe loaders. Segments of earthmoving equipment manufacturers have equipment in place to yield higher productivity and output for Indian construction and mining market while some others are following suit by upgrading their product line offerings.
Higher productivity from a bigger sized excavator is essentially derived through its higher engine power and engineering refinement in terms of its hydraulics and arm-bucket and boom are concerned.
In accordance with this, Doosan Infracore has in place to offer for the Indian market high capacity excavators of 50 tonnes beginning from 5 tonne range. According to Mr. Manjunath. S, Regional Manager Sales, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Vidarbha, Doosan Infracore India Private Limited, “the well synchronized line up with the arm-bucket and hydraulics makes both our high capacity machines more stable and in turn provides it with a high breakout force as far as the product is concerned.” Mr. Manjunath adds, “Doosan excavators are 50% cheaper to maintain compared to its counterparts with easy ground access and improved maintenance through SMS (PC monitoring system). Besides the price of the components are cheaper.” Doosan engines make the machine more fuel efficient. Doosan Infracore would shortly launch 70 tonnes capacity excavators for the Indian market."
Placed with higher output requirement from the construction sector, Hyundai is also planning to launch 80 tonnes excavator under its Robex series for the Indian construction market within a couple of months time. Apart from the 80 tonner Hyundai has 50 tonne capacity excavator. Hyundai manufactures its 20 tonne Robex excavator in India at Pune for the Indian market plans to tap the higher capacity Indian excavators market, led by growth in project sizes. As per Hyundai sources, the competitive advantage of the Robex series excavators, essentially lies in its high productivity, low operating cost, and competitive parts price.
Big sized equipment are also made available by market leader Telcon. The construction equipment major has in place range of versatile excavators in place starting from 2 to a high of 120 tonnes both for Indian and European markets under technical collaboration with Hitachi of Japan. One of the company’s prominent big size product offerings for the Indian mining market has been the Ultra large Hitachi EX 2500-5 mining shovel. The machine has been continuous patronage from M/s EMTA as the mining company’s third machine was commissioned in the recent past at the Panchwara block, Pakur Jharkhand. Two such units have been operational at Tara OCP of Bengal EMTA Coal Mines. As per Telcon sources, all EX-2500 are providing optimum productivity with Emta and are under full maintenance contract with Telcon.
Significant Telcon’s high capacity excavators also include, the Zaxis 870 LCH. The excavator which is of 84 tonnes has a bucket capacity ranging from 2.9 cum-4.5 cum. The machine boasts of 14% more bucket digging force and 8% more arm digging force. Prominent feature of the machine also includes, enhanced boom recirculation system. In accordance with this, the operation of the boom lower end arm and arm speed can be increased by approximately 15% over the conventional. Pressurised oil from boom cycle under bottom side is delivered to boom cylinder rod side to lower the boom assisted by boom weight. Conventionally pressurized oil from pump is delivered to boom cylinder rod side to lower the boom. The new system, as per Telcon allows an efficient combined operation of swing and lowering the boom.
The Zaxis 870 LCH boasts of strengthened under carriage with enlarged upper and lower rollers, idlers and sprockets and strengthened track links. The machine also has strengthened front components with enlarged pins and strengthened H-bucket for heavy duty. Similar features are also boasted by the Zaxis-670 LCH. The excavator which is of 67 tonnes has a bucket capacity of 2.5-3.5 cum.
Based on advanced hydraulics, Telcon has also the prominent Zaxis 470 LCH -3 hydraulic excavator. Termed as “generation next” by Telcon in terms of its features and advanced technology, Zaxis 470 LCH is fitted with electronically governed, powerful (349HP) tier-3 complaint engine with advanced common rail fuel injection system and a pioneering cooled exhaust gas recirculation system. This series of excavators has 15% faster hydraulic systems. According to Telcon, the structural parts of the machine i.e boom under carriage and track frame under carriage are heavy duty design leading to cost savings upto 12%. Traditionally, this class of excavators has been popular in large irrigation projects, coal over burden removal and other mining projects. Granite and marble removal is an emerging segment for this class of equipment.
In the league to offer high capacity excavators is Volvo CE. Volvo CE has its flagship high capacity 70 tonnes excavator for the Indian market under the model configuration EC700BLC. As per Volvo, the EC700BLC works on the next-generation Volvo diesel engine using Volvo Advanced Combustion Technology (V-ACT) that delivers low emissions, superior performance and fuel efficiency. The machine finds its application for mining, mass excavation, quarrying etc. The salient features of the machine includes, advanced hydraulic system automatic sensing work mode, advanced power mode control system has ten working modes, thereby ensuring higher productivity. It has an 80–ton hydraulic system for longer component lifecycle. Volvo has on offer the 40 tons hydraulic excavator EC460BLC12D having bucket capacity of 2.45 cum-3.1 cum. The machine possesses advanced technological features for high productivity.
Higher capacity earthmoving equipment are also provided by Dozco. The company sells Kawasaki’s 90ZIV-2 wheel loader having an operating weight of 21 tones and a bucket capacity of 3.2-4.2 cubic metre. The 90ZIV-2 wheel loader has a bucket capacity of 3.2-4.2 cubic metre with engine power of 191kW(256hp) claims to be competitive owing to rugged features, fuel efficiency and less down time, making it productive. The equipment has a Nissan “PE6T” diesel engine and has a large fuel tank of 320lt for longer continuous operation.
Mentioning about the advanced features of the machines Mr. O.P. Bangur, Director, Dozco says, “the machines have all advanced features packed in a rugged body.”
The 90ZIV wheeled loader has a direct injection, turbo charged engine for low fuel consumption. The equipment comes with a load sensing steering system, only the required oil is supplied to the steering circuit (takes priority over loading circuit) so that the light touch steering is ensured even at low engine speed. When steering is not required the full discharge from the steering oil pump is applied to the loading circuit so that the powerful bucket loading is ensured for energy savings.
The confederacy to provide high output machines is also shared by JCB India Limited through its leading product, backhoe loader. According to Mr. Amit Gossain, General Manager Marketing, JCB India Limited, “our 3DX backhoe loaders are equipped with 76 horse power fuel efficient engines, with increased cooler size for better performance in hot and dusty working conditions. Additionally, the improvised features of the 3DX includes, advanced transmission designed to provide high traction forces and enhanced life for continuous loading duties.” JCB’s 3DX backhoe loader has a 1.1 cum shovel and .24 cum bucket capacity.
Advanced features for high productivity is also claimed by JCB for its 4DX back- hoe loaders. The 4DX backhoe loaders which has a shovel capacity of 1.2 cum and a bucket capacity of 30 cum maintains to have power slide hydraulically shifts for the boom eliminating the need to manually move the backhoe during repositioning. Besides, the machine also claims to have increased mobility, upto 40 kmph resulting lower cost of travel between sites for increased productivity, higher engine torque for augmented loading and hill climbing performance, enhanced room capacity, low noise levels and automotive styling for enhanced operators comfort etc.
The backhoe loaders also claim to offer enhanced productivity based on their versatile application helped by attachments. In accordance with this, the machines can be attached with rock cutters, jaw bucket, ripper tooths, ditch cleaning bucket, hydraulic tools circuit etc.
JCB also claims to provide high output through its 210 tracked excavator. According to Mr. Gossain, “the JS 210 comes with X type under carriage, sealed tracked chain and scalloped drive sprockets for extra life. Further, the tracked excavator has features consisting of automatic machine control systems for troubleshooting and suggesting solutions for maintenance of the machines during performance.” The JS 210 excavator comes with a bucket size having capacities ranging from 0.9 cum to 1.2 cum with replaceable wear parts. The machine has advanced hydraulic components protected by superior standard filtration, to ensure long hydraulic fluid and component life.”
UtilityWhile a high capacity earthmoving equipment has its benefit for providing higher output and productivity, it has to offer host of other benefits as well. Bigger machines ensure a lesser fleet size that help in avoiding bunching of haulers while working. Lesser fleet means lesser accidents of machines and more importantly operators are safer. Additionally, heavier machines are designed for longer life cycles, and tougher duty cycles. They are more reliable and improve operational efficiency. Above all high capacity machine fleet ensures use of optimum manpower for excavating, loading and hauling. Lower operating costs are achieved over the life cycle of bigger machines.
However, prior deployment of a high capacity machine a proper evaluation of the volume of work to be undertaken has to be done by the contractor. This will make the utility of bigger excavators and loaders at the job site optimum as the machines are fit to work where high quantum of work is being undertaken. Right evaluation of the job work necessitating usage of high capacity machines would enable the contractor to earn right margin for the job and in turn enable to pay the monthly installments with ease.