Demand fundamentals for foundation and piling equipment remain firm, led by development of large-scale transportation infrastructure projects. However, actual acquisition of machineries remains volatile due to a range of techno commercial factors. To drive sales, manufacturers are offering value propositions through competitive products and services.
India is seeing rapid development of urban infrastructure including mass rapid transportation systems, high speed rail network, rapid rail transportation, elevated roads, expressways, and airports. Besides, there are port capacity expansions through setting up of new jetties and terminals, requiring deep piling along with construction of trestles. These give ample scope to piling and foundation equipment manufacturers for business expansions.
Further, greenfield onshore mega refinery projects like HPCL’s Barmer and proposed brownfield capacity expansions by setting up an additional number of trains, are likely demand pullers for foundation and piling equipment. Besides, the recent activities in the real estate sector somewhat adds to the positive sentiment. According to industry estimates, the market size for foundation and piling equipment for 2022 is around 200-250 machines. Off take in 2023 will be purely indexed based on the progress of the projects awarded.
However, there are challenges that undermine the positive demand expectations: most foundation equipment manufacturers are seeing extended payment cycles from clients to contractors/sub-contractors, and compressed hiring rates – which are putting actual acquisition in abeyance in many cases. Along with this, there is a stronger demand of equipment with low initial and operating costs, backed by cost competitive services.
NBM&CW interviews heads of Casagrande (India), Sany India, Schwing Stetter India, and Action Construction Equipments (ACE) to gauge the demand trend.
"We are engaging with the premium class of contractors who are looking at advanced technology machines for higher productivity and reliability at the challenging jobsites and owning an asset for long term services and catering to multiple foundation applications."
Rakesh Raina, Country Manager, Casagrande Piling & Geotechnical Equipment India
Demand for foundation and piling equipment continues to be stable in Indian market. The market is also segmented into various product offerings by manufacturers. A growing trend is outsourcing of foundation and piling jobs by main contractors to sub-contractors, as it allows them to have minimal assets for routine piling jobs. Now, with the outsourcing of jobs and extended payment cycles, the majority of rental players prefer cheaper solutions for faster return on investment. This has made business challenging for quality suppliers like us.
Casagrande has a wide range of multipurpose civil foundation equipment including Piling, Diaphragm wall, CFA, Soil displacement, Tunnelling equipment, Anchoring, Jet grouting etc. There are however also clients looking for more advanced technology equipment for challenging jobs giving higher productivity when working on difficult soil strata, marine piles, etc. and prefer to deal with us for superior technology machines along with our strong technical and on field support. The fact that our machines can be used for varied foundation applications with aid of a suitable conversion kit gives them huge advantage over a period of time. Many of our customers are having multiple conversion kits and these have been in use for more than the last 12-15 years, giving the owners a huge capital investment saving. Casagrande thus prefers to deal with contractors who value technology and are looking for long term solution and are convinced with total ownership cost vis a vis equipment utility. We prefer to handle jobs right from greenfield stage and focus on meeting customers’ pre-sales needs with the right equipment, tools, and allied technical support as per the jobsite requirement. We also share our worldwide experience with our customers for ascertaining suitable and economical excavation methodology.
Casagrande is always keen to introducing new technologies and we had introduced for the first time in India the patented technology of ground improvement by non vibratory stone column in year 2018 and our machines are working for a prestigious rail freight corridor project near Mumbai. We shall shortly be introducing our CFA technology equipment in India. Our machines being compact and fuel efficient can work in job sites having space constraints while working in Metro cities and are also easy to transport. Casagrande Grabs are most preferred choice because of their faster and economical excavation and meeting stringent verticality of the panel. Most of the underground station buildings of Metro rail projects are using our grabs in India.
The success story of our grabs for basement construction is well established in real estate segment. We have been highly successful in catering to this segment in and around Ahmedabad and NCR with our D-wall equipment, where we are delivering the most accurate sequencing, supported by the machine’s programme logic-controlled systems, and giving higher productivity compared to Manual excavation entailing faster time lines and substantial saving of cement consumption.
We have also supplied our special tunnelling equipment PG185 for fore polling and Pipe proofing applications for a prestigious railway project under execution near Rishikesh.
Casagrande foundation and piling equipment are manufactured at our factory in Fontanafredda, Italy in accordance with latest European safety and manufacturing norms. The company supports its equipment in India through annual maintenance contracts, customised parts, on field services, and trained operators.
“Our technical support includes application consultation and tools selection as per the job requirements and for optimum utilization of our rigs.”
Dheeraj Panda, Chief Operating Officer, (Sales, Marketing & Customer Support) Sany Heavy Industry India
To meet our clients’ high expectations, we are actively engaging with the end-users of our piling machines to better understand their critical application needs and service requirements. Based on their feedback, we have been making improvisations in our products so that their productivity can be augmented, fuel consumption may be reduced, and maintenance costs lowered, and machine downtime kept to a minimum.
We are also rendering the right technical support to our clients for optimum utilization of our rigs. Our support includes application consultation, tools selection, and other services. We believe that this is also the reason why most buyers of piling machineries in India choose Sany products.
Our machines are fitted with efficient engines which come with multiple working modes, which means that they generate power based on the application needs. This leads to significant fuel savings. The powerful engine and reliable components enable the rotary drilling rig to achieve excellent performance on hard strata through the highly efficient rotary drive. The intelligent design makes operation safer. Our piling machines have improved shock absorbers with a cushioning ability that is 4.3 times better. Their robust structure ensures that piling can be done even in harsh working conditions, and can be used in clay, pebble beds, and rocks.
Today, Sany piling rigs are being widely used in civil engineering works, city construction, railway piling construction etc. The piling rigs give 70 kN.m output torque up to 580 kN.m. They have class-leading rotary drive torque, excellent drilling speeds, and up to 10-15% higher operation stability.
To ensure maximum machine uptime, Sany rigs are equipped with EVI telematics suite which operates on GPS and gives customers’ real time data, alarms for schedule maintenance and breakdowns, machine location, fuel level, rpm of the engine, and generates monthly/quarterly reports on the machine’s performance.
“We have plans to enter the diaphragm wall grab and trench cutting segment as these machines will have a sizeable demand in the coming years for use in construction of underground metro stations across India.”
V.G. Sakthikumar, Managing Director, Schwing Stetter India
To cater to varied application needs, we are offering two categories of equipment based on the required bore size and soil strata. In the smaller variant, we are offering XCMG’s XR 175i & XR210, while in the bigger class, we have the XR240i, XR330i & XR360i, depending on the soil to be bored. We also provide the highest quality of tools along with application support, and training to the operators onsite.
Our sales strategy is to market the most appropriate solutions such that our customers incur a lesser initial cost. We are also supporting our customers with added financial benefits to make their operations viable, whether they are leasing or renting the equipment.
However, the most important assistance that we can render to make the operations of our customer’s profitable, is the technical support. Accordingly, we have set up a dedicated team to render the necessary support in special projects such as the High Speed Railway, Chennai Metro Rail, among others, where the team provides quick support to significantly reduce breakdown time. We are also engaged in Cluster Services at these special projects where our piling and foundation equipment are being used.
Our machines give high operational viability owing to their ergonomic design. For instance, the base carrier of our machine works with large dia piles and continuous flight augers. For working with diaphragm walls, we provide wire rope grabs (and not Kelly grabs) for which the base carrier is heavier than the normal bore pile machine. We keep our main winch in the base carrier behind the cabin along with heavy crawlers to provide better stability to the machine even at longer depths.
The XCMG foundation and piling equipment are supported by Schwing Stetter India’s 27 offices and 9 service centers across India, with more than 500 service and spares teams, besides, which, there is a specialist team of more than 40 members in India providing support and training to customers on an all-India level.
“We have created a separate vertical for sales of Sunward piling rigs and for providing prompt service to customers and ensuring maximum uptime of their rigs.”
Manoj Agarwal, Head Sales & Marketing – HED, Action Construction Equipments (ACE)
On February 2019, ACE entered an exclusive partnership with Sunward Intelligent Equipment group in Changsha, China, for marketing their range of Hydraulic Piling Rigs and Foundation Engineering products, along with support and parts services.
Sunward is one of the oldest and most innovative manufacturers, which was formed under the leadership of He Qinghua, who has been manufacturing the equipment since 1990.
Sunward products are very reliable, given that they have the best-in-class aggregates from European and Japanese manufacturers of engines, hydraulic, pumps, motors, gearboxes etc. The undercarriage of the rigs is especially designed for piling application, and the crawler base is extendable while piling and retractable during transportation. The machines are thus made compact for working in confined areas and are also easy to transport. Better performance is also ensured with the machines’ stability even when working on difficult and undulated terrains. Stability is also provided through the unique auxiliary landing leg for support during operation and maintenance.
The rigs come with higher torque, making them suitable for hard soil/rock. This is supported by automatic sensing of the ground condition and adjusting the torque while in operation. Sunward rigs are available between 40 KN.m – 600 KN.m and are capable of boring diameters from 350mm to 3500mm, and depths up to 135m.
Sunward’s common foundation equipment marketed and supported by ACE in India are SA60, SA175, SA210, SA250 & SA320. These models are working in urban infrastructure development projects like metro rails, high speed rail, bridges, elevated roads, refineries by major contractors like L&T, Afcons, Tata Projects, KEC International, and Keller India.
The wide acceptance of Sunward rigs has been due to the proactive technical support provided by ACE. We have created a separate vertical for sales and to provide quick and prompt service to customers for maximum uptime of the piling rigs. We have engineers placed close to sites where the rigs are operating in order to provide prompt service. Engineers from parent company Sunward China are also stationed in India to provide support and help train our teams.
The company has operators trained in the operation and maintenance of ACE Sunward Piling Rigs. To support the functioning of piling rigs, ACE is maintaining an inventory of spares at its main stores in Palwal and stocks in major cities like Mumbai, Chennai and Patna.