After a prolonged hibernation since 2011, the piling and foundation industry began to see signs of revival in 2015 with fresh demand for foundation laying in metro railway projects, roads and bridges, and to a fair extent from marine construction. A good number of greenfield LNG terminals were also getting lined up.
Looking back, the market, which was in high traction during 2008-2009, and even during 2010 and 11, hovered around 150 units across product verticals, propelled by the boom in infrastructure projects, and to an extent, in the real estate sector. Then came the crash, the signs of which were visible in mid-2011, plummeting the market to 15-20 units during 2012-2013. With demand diminishing, and difficulty in paying back bank loans, both main contractors and rental agencies resorted to heavy selling of their equipment, even scrapping some, and diverting others to Canadian and African markets. According to industry estimates, close to 60 units were scrapped, sold or replaced during the period.
The year 2016 saw fresh demand from infrastructure projects, with the population going up from around 1300 units in early 2017. An additional 100-200 units are expected by 2017-end. Though manufacturers are looking at sizeable business opportunities, the current scenario may not be too rosy as more and more customers are opting for cost-competitive products.
We have made successful inroads in the Indian market having sold over 50 rigs during 2017 itself, and we enjoy a very strong brand recall in this segment. We have increased total fleet in India to over 120 units having added 20 new customers, many of whom are from the North-East, which is seeing large-scale infrastructure development.”
He informs that the company has a service team dedicated to the rigs, with support engineers posted across the country. Spare parts are available through a centralized warehouse in Pune and through their excavator dealers. “We are evaluating the possibilities of further expanding our reach to enlarge our piling rigs business,” he says.
Sany’s portfolio consists of SR155 with maximum diameter of 1.5-m and depth of 56-m, SR 205 with maximum diameter of 1.8-m and 64-m depth, and SR 235 having maximum dia of 2.3-m and 68-m depth. Its higher capacity rigs consist of SR 265 with maximum dia of 2.5-m and maximum drilling depth of 72-m, SR 285R with maximum dia of 2.5-m and 94-m depth, SR 360 with 3-mdia and 100-m drilling depth, and SR406 bore pile with drilling dia of 2.9-m and 116-m drilling depth.
Looking at delayed payments, lower equipment rental rates, and demand for economical solutions, manufacturers are offering lucrative terms and conditions to buyers of their equipment. European manufacturers concede that the future course of business development will be more competitive, despite the growing demand.
Mr. Raina informs, “The Casagrande bored piles being highly suitable to work in all types of soil strata including hard rock strata and large diameter piles is highly efficient and contributes towards improved performance and profitability. These are delivered by our advanced XP Technology product features consisting Smart Power Management (SPM) and Load sensing Hydraulic circuit besides fault diagnostic system which can be monitored instantaneously on a Touch screen display system inside cabin. The display of instantaneous values of Torque, Rotary RPM, Hydraulic pump pressures, mast Inclination, Depth meter etc gives a clear idea about the drilling conditions at a given moment and how the hydraulics of the machine reacts to given situation. The intelligent power management system improves product performance and productivity. SPM monitors instantaneous power flows in real time and allocates full available power to the hydraulic piling rigs based on the required job applications. Our machine’s full load sensing capabilities contributes towards fuel savings besides enhancing the life of hydraulic components. This is through the back action involving pumps and distributors, which pressurizes only the required amount of oil instantly required by the machines as per its requirements.”
Casagrande has supplied several no of XP technology machines during past one year which include B175XP, B200XP and B125XP Models. These machines are being used at prestigious Metro rail projects including Nagpur, Chennai, Mumbai and Major Bridge projects and real estate projects across the country. The company is looking to strengthen its market presence by enhancing its product support and newer sales initiatives. “There are between fifteen to twenty years old machines still working with contractors. Higher availability of the products has been delivered by right product support, through timely availability of premium parts, mostly stocked at our wear house in Delhi and Chennai or some times sourced directly from our Italian facility. We have a population of 280+ units working in India. These machines are regularly supported by our Indian service team and further supported by Italian service engineers. Further strengthening of our local after sales services is work in progress and Casagrande will keep augmenting its services with the growth in population of our equipment. we will be carrying out investments for building more parts inventory In India and hiring more service personnel,” mentions, Mr. Raina. He adds, “Looking forward to drive business, we will also be promoting our fully rehabilitated machines in India from Italy, backed by product warranty. We have sold couple of machines in the recent past as we are looking to sell if some contractors is looking for such refurbished machines. We would also focus on pushing machines to Rental companies who value technology, productivity, reliability and performance to increase our visibility.”
MAIT - The Italian piling rigs manufacturer has an active fleet of 650+ rigs. It has been marketing its HR-180, HR130, HR-260 and higher capacity HR-300 bored piles with 600-mm to 2500-mm drilling diameter capabilities in the Indian market.
Adds Mr. Brahme, “When the market was abysmally down, the industry saw a high level of attrition of the service personnel, but at Mait, we could retain them and we even enhanced their skills with training on the technical advancements of our equipment and on the changing service requirements of customers.” Mait India is providing refurbishment service at its warehouse facility in Navi Mumbai; it involves complete overhauling of the equipment, including repairing of the kelly bars, gearboxes and other major components.
Mait is banking on the competitive features of its equipment to drive sales. “For the hydraulic piling rigs, we are providing heavy-duty kelly bars for Drilling in hard strata, mainly for metro projects. Close to 30 units of HR-180, HR-260 and HR 300 have been delivered to Mumbai, Nagpur and Bangalore metro projects. “For optimum utilization of the equipment by the contractors, we are providing base carriers that can be easily attached with bored piles attachments, continuous flight augers, and diaphragm wall. For the operational flexibility, Mait rigs have an option of low headroom version to work under bridges,” he informs.
“Bauer Machines have always been associated with high productivity, latest technological advancements, superior quality, safety, environment friendly and versatility. They are designed to work on harder strata, wider diameter requirements and deeper depths, and can meet all the stringent quality requirements for efficient performance,” he mentions.
“With the Value-Line and Premium-Line segments, BAUER Maschinen GmbH is offering two drilling rig product lines that address the most diverse customer-specific requirements. The Value-Line rigs are optimized for kelly drilling. Its features include a long mast for large drilling depths, an extended drilling axis distance for larger drill diameters, high winch tensile forces, high torque and an efficient diesel engine. The Premium-Line rigs are highly modern, multi-function machines for all different kinds of applications in specialist foundation engineering. The Premium line base carrier can be fitted with 14 different attachments such as the vibrator for driven sheet piles, precast pile driver with hydraulic hammer, ground Improvement attachments-displacement piles, continuous flight Augers, soil mixing and cutting soil mixing etc.” Informs. Mr. Bhuwad.
“In order to achieve maximum availability of the equipment, a team of trained service engineers and technicians is developed locally. In case of any emergency, a global service network of engineers and technicians assures prompt and competent technical assistance at a short notice.” The officials adds.
Sharing further details on the product support initiatives of Bauer India, they mention, “Bauer’s belief is not only to sell equipment only but also to work with customers from planning stage of the project, selection of the right equipment as per the nature of a project. These are then backed by requisite support services etc. It is always our endeavor to involve ourselves with End user to attain maximum productivity and efficiency with a special emphasis on Safety factors. The focus has always been to nurture and develop long-term relations.”
The most vital characteristic of HBL spun pile manufacturing process, according to the company is centrifugal casting (spinning) which is innovative, technologically superior and result in dense durable and pores free product.
Usage of spun concrete piles is a green solution which is environment friendly as there is no debris that is to be removed from the site. Piling can be continued under moderate weather conditions since the activity involved is only the pile driving.
Technical support required by the contractor in selection of piles shall be provided by HBL through their design team, the company states. The team analyses soil strata, based on which they suggest the diameter and depth of the piles. HBL has delivered their spun concrete piles to various prestigious project including KG Basin, Dahej and Noida.
The Way Ahead
Demand for piling and foundation equipment is set to create new business opportunities for manufacturers, albeit with increased competition. In view of this, manufacturers will have to renew their focus on product design and development, and strengthen their technical and after-sales services to meet the operational needs of both the corporate and rental agencies.