Business for hydraulic rock breakers has traditionally been volume driven in India. Dearth of operation regulations or necessary productivity benchmarks have made sales volumes oriented to quarry owners, demolition service providers or to hirers serving both the segments. However, presently with demand moving south with slowdown in quarrying and mining, manufacturers and distributors are looking to retain market presence by offering breakers According to users' demands that are higher on productivity and less on owning and operating costs, besides easy to integrate with base equipment.
In the construction industry, the growing preferences of customers for quality products that are safe and economical to operate are a positive market development. This is very likely to allow manufacturers and distributors to have better business margins on sales in the near future.
However, the challenge for promoting sales of premium products is to make the the users aware of the right utilization of the machines.
Utilization of breakers which are synchronized with applications, is commercially advantageous for both the manufacturers and the users. It allows producers to offer choice to quarry owners or demolition service providers in selecting breakers aligned to application. On the other hand, it allows users to arrest excess maintenance costs that they may have to incur on account of frequent breakdowns that may occur due to the unspecified applications of the machinery.
Mr. Sawhney points out, "Application trend continues to remain unspecified for usage of breakers in India both by quarry owners and hirers. It has been one of the major reasons for the business of breakers to be volumes based. The investment is more as compared to other contemporary product offerings. Atlas Copco's business strategy is to target users having well defined application orientation for the products. Our offering is quite wide as compared to others in order to take care of varied applications. We have small range of beakers that can be mounted on 3-12 tons, medium range of 13-30 tons, and heavy range of above 30-120 tons class excavators.
The premier range of Rammer breaker is for excavators in range of 1-100 tons class. While the conventional rock breakers are for skid steer loaders and of 20-30 tons class excavators. Both the range of hydraulic rock breakers are imported from Sandvik's plant in Sweden.
According to Mr. Ramaswamy, "Our breakers are efficient as they are compatible with different range of excavators. The breakers come with different mounting kits, so as to make them compatible with the excavators. Further, the breakers can perform well underwater and also for niche applications like slag breaking. Product support is provided by our technical experts and engineering heads informing customers about various facets of rock breaking and product usage." Sandvik Construction India has recently designed a customized service solution programme as part of its aftermarket development. The 24x7 service programme "went live" on 24th June 2013. According to a recent company statement from Sandvik, the cornerstones of the new customer care programme consist of 24x7 availability, dependability, affordability, and flexibility. These services have evolved from an in-depth understanding gained from years of experience in servicing the construction industry within India.
Volume Driven Market
He further adds, "We offer breakers with technology proven vibro silence features. Apart from being silent, the breakers also transmit much less vibrations to the excavators. All which goes towards making our breakers cost-competitive to own and operate. Incorporated with advanced technologies, our breakers are highly productive and come at a premium than other offerings, making us mostly look for quarry owners for sales".
The 9 series rock breakers are 10% more efficient than 7 series besides being stronger & powerful than ever. He says, "The breakers are well equipped with safety features comprising accumulators, nitrogen gas release valve, anti blank firing (ABF), total power control system (TPC) & blows per minute adjusting valve (BPM). All these features improve the life of parts of the breakers."
The other compatible features of the rock breakers are hydraulic flow regulators - regulating the operating pressure of the breakers making them safe to operate in various conditions. According to Hyundai, the rock breakers can also be operated under water. Hyundai provides both in-house and site training to the operators. It also offers parts support through its mother warehouse in Pune and supporting warehouses in Kolkata, Hyderabad, Delhi and through Dealer warehouses across the country.
For making the breakers suited for diverse applications, yet making owners to cut down on maintenance costs, Opel manufactures breakers equipped with bushing systems. Mr. Senthil Kumar says, "During maintenance change of bushing system will be sufficient not the entire body, thus minimizing equipment downtime. Our breakers also do not require tightening of rods. During maintenance, the tie rods need to be removed. During back fitment, the tie bars are required to be fitted tightly, failure of which can cause extensive damage to the breakers. To avoid the same, our breakers do not require tightening of rods. Next, refilling of nitrogen gas can be undertaken in our breakers after every 1-2 years in contrast to 15 days as required in standard equipment."
Volumes as well as niche business is being looked into by Mehta Earthmovers. Mr. Shetty informs, "Our range is quite extensive for catering every segment of the market with range of 5-7-10-20-30-40-70-80-85 tons class excavators. 20 tons is the most extensive demand segment. We have breakers that can also be utilized underwater." According to him, Mehta Earthmovers has supplied breakers of 42 tons class to Essar Projects for underwater applications.
Mr. Sarkar claims, "Our breakers are technologically competitive, and economical to operate as compared to other product offerings. Furukawa breakers are designed with automatic dust prevention system, blow adjustments and impact energy to suit various rock conditions that creates trouble-free operation and deliver highest productivity compared to any other Breaker. The material composition is of superior quality in terms of steel and the heat treatment for making them perform under rugged conditions. Further, our breakers have lesser fed parts that make them lesser prone to maintenance."
He mentions, "The breakers have array of advanced technical competitive features comprising robust casing – equipped with Hardox material to get enhanced life while handling boulders. Higher operating weight helping stress wave transverse to the ground more effectively and efficiently. Standard anti blank firing feature for avoiding any damage to the internal parts and carrier structure. Extra long stroke, simple and straight design of piston, extra long retaining pins, heat treated specially designed pyramid tool help enhance performance in JCB's range of rock breakers. Auto Greaser is a standard feature in all our breakers from 10T class and above."
To retain its position in the breakers market, JCB has recently launched, HM980 rock breaker for its 12T JCB Excavator (JS120). According to Mr. Gossain, "JCB India has the largest and the strongest dealer network in the industry. We will continue to bank on our dealership network to expand and retain our footprint in increasingly competitive hydraulic rock breakers market. We have over 59 dealers and 500 outlets in the country with over 7000 trained employees. In all dealership outlets, we have an experienced and trained employee force to provide immediate assistance to our customers regarding machines & attachments."
Equipment Integration & Support
Mr. Senthil Kumar says, "For better integration of our breakers with excavators, we provide additional valves. Further, equipment support is ensured through our engineers." Propel, which has its market base in Southern India, is in the process of expanding its sales and services network to the northern parts of the country. It proposes to make its breakers cost-competitive through focusing on localization. The company has recently completed localization of BOS 1500: 20 tons class excavators.
Localization is also being contemplated by Atlas Copco. According to Mr. Sawhney, "We had started indenization our medium range MB 1500 breaker from Nasik factory. Equipment integration is ensured through technical cooperation with our OEM buyers. Atlas Copco was a plan to expand and retain its market presence through adding more dealers to the network."
Hydraulic rock breakers with advanced inbuilt operational features are well likely to deliver higher productivity and safety. However, higher safety and productivity will be ensured through adequate training and product support by manufacturers and dealers of hydraulic rock breakers.