Lighter capacity crawler cranes are seeing fresh demand, and prompting manufacturers to rework their business and service strategy. P.P. Basistha reports.

Crawler Cranes
Slowdown in construction activities in the coal-fired and wind power sectors due to compression of tariff rates, has led to a slow offtake of the heavier and medium capacity cranes by EPC contractors. A slowdown of greenfield construction in the hydrocarbon sector has also pulled down demand. It is perceived that with Reliance J3 expansion almost reaching completion, a large number of crawler cranes in the medium and heavier capacities are being released in the market, leading to excess supply.

However, there is demand kicking in from ongoing metro constructions and from expansions being made in roads and bridges sectors with the erection of precast sections. So, there is some traction in the demand of lighter class units, albeit at a modest pace.

Demand is visible for 40 to 150-ton cranes, which, interestingly, have not been much favored by the rental agencies. This is because their excess supply in recent years has kept hiring rates compressed. Now, with industrial construction giving way to general erection, it now appears that rental agencies will start acquiring the lighter capacity cranes.

Deepak Garg
Comments Mr. Deepak Garg, CEO, Sany Heavy Industries India, "With erection of wind towers slowing down, close to 30-35 cranes of 650 tons are idling at various wind power sites. Demand is low even for 250-260 and 300 tons units. But the silver lining now is the lower capacity cranes of 100-150 tons, which offer an attractive proposition. Apart from performing jobs for general erection, these cranes can perform duty cycle applications, through freefall for the piling jobs in metro and road and bridge constructions, where there are requirements to prepare well sinking in case of soft soil for pier construction. So, we are targeting this section of buyers with our 75-80-150 and also 250-ton crawler cranes."

Sany hydraulic crawler cranes are highly durable for performing duty cycle jobs. The cranes now come with improved Sany'sin-house technology, with safe load and load moment indicators and improved controlled display, making operations safer and optimizing use of the cranes.

Once looked at with disdain by the crane rental fraternity, the lighter capacity lattice boom crawler is now the 'knight in shining armour'. Seeing the prospects in the higher capacity units, Action Construction Equipment (ACE) has commenced production of its ACX 1510-150 Tons Crawler Cranes.

Sorab Agarwal
Informs Mr. Sorab Agarwal, Executive Director, ACE, "We have booked an order from a major crane rental agency for one unit of ACX 1510. It will be attractively priced (when compared with the Chinese imports), since it will be completely manufactured at our state-of-the-art facility in Faridabad. Further, being locally available, it will make the rental agencies hedge the lower hiring rates prevalent in the market, and in turn, enable the user to get better ROI. Plus, ACX 1510 will enable higher productivity and reliability as the crane is being built with world-class components."

He adds, "The crane, featuring standard safe load indicator, is highly suitable for piling and foundation jobs as it comes with main and auxiliary winch with freefall. Due to its modular design, it can be easily transported and special hydraulic jack system can enable self-dismantling and easy loading of the crane."

ACE

ACE plans to manufacture 15-20 units of ACX 1510 till 2019. It currently manufactures ACX 250-25 Tons, ACX 400-40 Tons and ACX 750-75 Tons Crawler Cranes. Informs Mr. Agarwal, "We are selling a good number of 40 Tons Cranes for piling jobs as it's auxiliary and main winch and retractable tracks make it ideal for constricted Metro jobsites." ACE has an active fleet of 250 crawler cranes in India.

Subhajit Chandra
Liebherr India will look to retain its identity in the Indian market as a solution provider for higher capacity cranes. "We have a strong presence in the medium and higher capacity crawler cranes. There are 104 units majorly comprising of 600 tons and 400 tons with esteemed rental agencies. With demand fundamentals strong from forthcoming nuclear power projects and hydrocarbon expansion projects, we are confident of having a good brand recall for our highly reliable and productive cranes," says Mr. Subhajit Chandra, Head - Mobile Cranes Sales, Liebherr India.

He informs that they will be promoting their LR 1750, 750-ton crawler crane, which features an innovative 165-meter SX boom that delivers 35% increased load out. Being modular in design, the car body, counterweight and tracks can be easily transported. Another innovative feature is its 'Vario-Tray' counterweight. It also has the company's standard, LICCON interface mechanism.

With the lighter capacity crawler cranes in demand, manufacturers are re-orienting their service support systems to meet customer requirements.Taking note of feedback from customers on the performance of the cranes, especially during the critical duty cycle applications, will be vital in establishing their applicability, and (therefore), their preference, for various jobs.
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