The crushing and screening market continues to remain fiercely competitive owing to compressed demand. As a counter strategy, the equipment manufacturers are getting aggressive to contest brand substitution by customers with some exceptional business gains, reported by a couple of producers. P.P. Basistha, takes a look.
Lull in traditional demand of iron ore mining and road construction segment continues to make business for crushing and screening equipment manufacturers depressed and fiercely competitive. However, refraining to get carried away by the bearish business sentiments, manufacturers have opted to look for newer pastures, backed by latest customized product placement, while continuing to consolidate the existing business, to minimize the chances of brand substitution. This is because, demand fundamentals continue to remain firm, with indications of market rebouncing back showing and reports of fresh allocations of coal blocks doing round. The government commits to resolve the ongoing imbroglio in the national and states highway road construction sector along with opening up new avenues for business through newer development and maintenance of rural roads.
Puzzolana expects to retain and also improve its wheeled and stationary plants business across 2014-15. Mr. Pai mentions, "We will look to expand our business through appointment of dealers especially in north east and eastern region of the country supported by stock points to serve the remote locations."
To preserve brand identity among the existing and new customers Mr. Pai mentions, "We are playing a major role in ICEMA with the Indian government for skill development programs and training in the field of crushing and certification to operators with a view to operate the plants through effective and economical methods. Training is also imparted to smoothly operate and maintain advanced plants with automated and electronic features. As part of product support, we offer training to customers at our factories and sites along with dissemination of information on preventive maintenance."
He adds, "To ensure affordable availability of equipment at a time when banks are increasingly restraining from providing loans, we are closely working with finance companies to support buyers involved in contract crushing as those plants are more viable to be supported financially by the financial institutions. Contract crushing and operating on lease, resulting towards reduction of cost per tonne of aggregate is an emerging business segment in the crushing and screening sector in India. It facilitates the contractors to maintain their focus on their core construction business."
According to Mr. Chattopadhyay, "Client base is being demonstrated with both Capex and Opex value of our process plants, the utility of the machines in terms of their lives, higher up time and the integrated cost advantage for production through live demonstrations." The Swedish mineral and aggregate processing Major has tied up with funding agencies, making finance available to plant buyers with credible business plan to be prepared for a better solution, to be a champion solution provider.
He says, "Product customization is our key engineering strength, making us capable to address the heterogeneous crushing and screening requirements of the customers. The solutions can be delivered to reduce the quantity of fines based on the requirements. We have recently supplied a custom built, track mounted 150 ton unit with a Roller grizzly feeder and Impact crusher mounted on a single chassis to Goa based mining firm. It is a major feat for us, no other crushing manufacturer could achieve so far."
Apollo markets its crushers directly through its own network based in Delhi, Kolkata, and Chennai. However, owing to spurt in demand from the eastern part of the country led by growth in road construction projects, Apollo is looking to appoint dealers in Jharkhand and also in parts of Southern India. Apollo manufactures mix of 100-200 tph track and 400-1200 wheel and stationary plants.
The initiative of the Uttarakhand Government to restore its roads, followed by the damage caused by the floods few years back has served as an ideal business opportunity for the Roorkee based company. "We have been able to attain economy of scale for producing the plants at our factory and transporting the same to the remote locations. This has allowed us to pass cost benefits to customers, mainly the stand alone small aggregate producers in the region involved in restoration of the roads caused by the water deluge few years back," mentions Mr. Mahalanabis. He informed, "The application area is crushing river gravel."
Taurian has been supplying 100-200 tph wheel mounted plants for the new application area. It has so far supplied sizeable quantity of 150 units.
The south India-based crushing and screening solutions manufacturer plans to launch newer solutions in crushing and special screening. The company is pinning its hopes on the fresh announcements of the highway projects. Mr. Raghavan mentions, "The upcoming road projects will be enhancing demand of static and wheeled plants."
Proman is looking to leverage its brand focusing on product support. According to Mr. Raghavan, "We have been providing support to customers at our factory and onsite training along with undertaking plant operation in certain cases to ensure higher uptime of equipment."
"To ease financial availability for potential buyers, we have been working closely with leading financial companies enabling customers to qualify for the loan backed by sound business plan," says Mr. Raghavan.
The crushers feature electronic adjustments to yield the desired aggregate size based on the applications. It also features power setting that can empty the unit of its own, without the material getting struck in the unit if power supply gets interrupted to the crusher.
"Operations and maintenance contract is one of our major strategies to gain market from existing and newer customers," says Mr. Kumar. He adds "We are proud of the fact that we have many repeat customers, who are content with our well packaged services that have enabled them to downsize production costs. Further, value engineering on our plants and provision of motors with lesser power consumption per ton aggregates crushed have been the other additives to drive business, enabling us to gain market share from our competitors"
Citing example he says, "We have recently supplied seven units modular 200 tph secondary plant with orders for more to one of our major clients in Uttarkhand requiring an aggregate output of 33,000 tons/day. Our well packaged product support has ensured optimum plant availability to have the desired output."
Propel projects to attain 15% growth in 2015 as compared to this year. It will appoint dealers in Madhya Pradesh, Northern and Eastern India to achieve the targets. Business strengthening is being carried out in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh that has allowed the company to gain market share. Propel proposes to build up newer business volumes by entering into tracked business in near future. The company presently manufactures wheel and stationary plants in the capacities range of 150-600 tph. It will be shortly introducing fix shaft design cone crushers in the capacity of 400 tph. Propel’s jaw crushers are available in 150-200-400 tph.
He elaborates, "To promote sales we have been appointing dealers with strong engineering expertise and have a minimum experience of 15 years in the field of distribution of construction equipment. Torsa Machines Ltd. also has a separate vertical of sales engineers who independently generate sales volume for the company. This vertical is always in touch with contractors of all segments both large and small."
The Kolkata based company has also been carrying out improvisations in its crushing equipment. Mr. More mentions, "We have incorporated a few changes in our existing crusher models which would reduce the power consumption and at the same time increase productivity as far as bauxite and limestone crushers are concerned." He adds, "Based on emerging demand from the cement industry, we are widening our product portfolio, which we are looking forward to introduce in the next quarter."
Torsa Machines has its manufacturing facility at Amingaon in Assam. The company is in the process of setting up a new manufacturing facility in Kolkata, which will double its existing production capacity. The new factory is expected to be commissioned by 2015.
Business retention and expansion has been initiated by Marsman India Limited through series of initiatives. According to Mr. J.P. Singh, Sales Manager, Marsman, "To leverage our brand presence, we have introduced numerous schemes for our customers ranging from free of cost spare parts with purchase of new machine to providing easy finance, based on our tie-ups with multiple financial institutions. We have put in place numerous other incentives to strengthen our brand presence."
The company has been focusing to strengthen product support to avoid brand substitution by customers. "We just don’t sell the machinery but also insist our customers to buy a set of essentials spare parts to keep the plant running. We have highly skilled engineers for operational training to site supervision. Further, we have a dedicated after sales department who cater to spare parts requirement or any technical queries of our customers.
Marsman is looking to expand its market through exploring newer territories and appointing dealers to serve the same. The company is looking to increase its business in the growing North Eastern region. "We always had our good relations with north east customers. We had supplied our machinery in Assam, Manipur & also the highest point in Gangtok, Sikkim regions. Backed by right product support, our machines have delivered high uptime in those inhospitable areas.