As demand for cranes continues to rise in India, Manitowoc is well-positioned to serve the burgeoning market. Having spent many years building the infrastructure required to provide industry-leading products and services to Indian customers, the company has all the necessary processes and personnel to meet even the most demanding requirements.
The company has one of the most complete lines of lifting equipment in the industry. It has Grove mobile cranes, Potain tower cranes, Manitowoc crawler cranes and National Crane boom trucks. It also offers industry-leading ancillary services such as the customer service arm Manitowoc Crane Care.
In India, the company manufactures both Potain tower cranes, at its wholly-owned factory in Pune, and Grove mobile cranes, through its dealer TIL, based in Kolkata. It was the first international crane company with full sales, service and manufacturing capabilities in India. In addition to its Pune factory, the company also operates regional sales and Crane Care offices in Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Kolkata.
"The tower crane market is picking up," he said. "It has not returned to the levels we saw in 2008, but 2010 was certainly better than 2009 and we expect 2011 will be even better. Our factory in Pune manufactures a range of Potain tower cranes with capacities of up to 10 t which are ideally suited to projects in this country."
One customer for the Grove GMK6300 is BMM Ispat Ltd., a leading metal fabrication company. BMM’s GMK6300 is helping with heavy lifting work at the BMM Ispat plant in Hospet, Karnataka.
Mr Mrutyunjaya Senapati, Director, corporate planning and development at BMM, said Manitowoc quality was a major reason for selecting Grove.
"We chose the Grove GMK6300 because of the high-quality image of the company’s brand fits with our own brand," he said. "We are both leaders in our fields. In addition, we had excellent discussions with TIL and are happy the company can give us the support we need."
TIL supplies all parts and service to the crane and the company also managed the sale.
Grove mobile cranes are designed for maximum flexibility so they can work on more applications and they will often fit with a customer’s budget. Manitowoc believes the requirement for large capacity all-terrain cranes will continue to grow in India. The company also feels that service for those cranes will be a deciding factor, that is why it has invested so heavily in its Manitowoc Crane Care customer service operation for India.
The customer service division has a significant number of service technicians covering all areas of India and with expertise in the full range of cranes from Manitowoc.
"We differentiate ourselves with Manitowoc Crane Care, which we believe offers the most advanced customer care program for the crane industry. It is a comprehensive package incorporating parts, service, training and technical assistance backed up with continuous, around the clock support. Buying a crane is only the start of any purchase program. By using Manitowoc Crane Care our customers can get more from their purchase, maximizing the return on their investment."
"We’ve also built a really solid team of technicians, several of whom we recruited from the Indian Air Force some years ago," he added. "These men have a world of experience in their backgrounds and can meet the high expectations of customers with their excellent technical knowledge. They are a great asset to us. We want to build on our success and add further customer services in the future."
Mr Joshi said there continues to be good demand for large all-terrain cranes and large cranes from all categories.
"Customers are looking for large cranes to work in power plants and on other large energy projects," he said. "Large cranes are also required for work in the cement industry. In terms of customers in India, they generally like cranes that are easy to operate. In remote areas, the demand is for cranes that are easy to maintain. Manitowoc is fortunate that our company offers a wide range of cranes, including many with an emphasis on ease of operation. In terms of maintenance, all Manitowoc cranes are designed to be as easy to maintain as possible."
Jaiprakash builds its own cement production facilities, most of which are in the Satna cluster in Madhya Pradesh. As early as 1980, the company turned to Potain cranes to help with the construction of these massive facilities. A particularly favored crane at Jaiprakash is the MD 1100, a heavy lift tower crane that can pick loads of up to 18 t out to radii as far as 60 m. The company has seven of these, the largest single fleet in the world. Jaiprakash is presently using three of these cranes for the installation of boilers and captive power plants in Uttar Pradesh, Churke and Dhalla.
"Potain cranes are robust and can work long hours," he said. "That is why we keep buying one crane after another to expand our fleet. The load characteristics of the MD 1100 meet our requirements, plus it has a good free-standing height of 80 m. The cranes are perfectly suited for our needs. And when we need service assistance from Manitowoc Crane Care, we know we can rely on the organization 100 percent."
Other large cranes from Manitowoc are helping Indian customers, including lattice boom crawler cranes. One of India’s largest energy contractors, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd., used a Manitowoc 18000 on expansion work at the Gujarat State Energy Generation plant. The crane was immediately put to work on the GSEG project in Hazira, in the Surat area of Gujarat state following delivery.
The crane, which has a 750 t maximum capacity, was not only used for all the heavy lifts on the project, but also many of the smaller lifts, thanks to its excellent boom and luffing jib combination which allowed it to lift into areas that are difficult to reach.
Mr KJ Prabhu, construction manager for BHEL on the GSEG project, said his company needed cranes such as Manitowoc’s 18000 to cater to the growing workload in India.
"Our company has built power plants in India for over 40 years, but this latest boom in demand is unlike anything we have ever seen," he said. "We have a reputation for fast and efficient service, so we need to rely on equipment like our Manitowoc 18000 to stay on schedule."
As the market for cranes in India continues to grow, customers are becoming more knowledgeable about the options available to them. Raman Joshi said they will often consider many factors.
"We are seeing a lot of customers, especially those who purchase new cranes, put a lot of effort into their equipment purchases," he said. "It is no longer just about price. Many customers want to know about the lifecycle cost, fuel economy, ease of maintenance, customer support and a host of other factors.
"At Manitowoc we put an emphasis on designing cranes so they are easy to transport and assemble. You will see the latest generation of Grove mobile cranes, Potain tower cranes and Manitowoc crawler cranes have a range of design innovations that save customers time and money in the transport and rigging process."
Mr Joshi said that customers in India also like cranes that are easy to assemble. For example, the MCi 85 tower crane from Potain is designed specifically for markets such as India. It includes a single-tie jib which can be assembled at ground level and lifted in a single piece. The mast sections are pin-connected for safe and quick erection while other components are designed for lightweight handling or removal.
A Potain MCi 85 is leading the construction on The Wave 1st Silver Tower retail and office development in Noida. The workload on the job site is demanding, but the crane has performed perfectly, even when working around the clock. Main contractor and development company Wave Silver Tower Pvt Ltd, took delivery of the crane in December 2009.
"This is an important project, and we needed a crane that not only has the necessary lift capacity, but also that can transport loads carefully and precisely within a confined area," he said. "We thoroughly compared the Potain and another crane. The Potain was superior, and its quality is outstanding. We also like that the cranes are manufactured in India. When we purchased the crane, we wanted quick after-sales service— and we haven’t been disappointed. While Potain cranes may cost a little more, the crane and service are first class."
The MCi 85 crane, built at Manitowoc’s factory in Pune, is lifting loads to heights of 60 m and working close to other buildings. There is also a Metro line construction just 20 m away and the project congestion prompted Wave Silver Tower Pvt Ltd. to seek the precise control of Potain’s mechanisms for hoisting, slewing and trolleying.
Potain’s MCi 85 is suited for city center projects like the Wave 1st Silver Tower. It is easy to assemble in downtown locations and has excellent lift abilities at all lengths of the jib. The crane has a maximum capacity of 5 t and at its maximum jib length of 50 m, it has a 1.3 t lift capacity.
The Potain MCi 85 is a good example of Manitowoc’s design philosophy which is built around not only lift performance but also the business of owning and operating cranes. That’s why customers find the company’s cranes so much easier to transport and erect.
The company uses modularity wherever possible, so that fleet owners can interchange components on cranes and they become increasingly familiar to riggers. Safety is a priority for Manitowoc, not only in the cranes it produces but also in its own manufacturing facilities.
And a further crucial component is serving customers in their local area, as Mr Joshi explained.
"Our reputation is built around serving customers on a local level," he said. "Therefore we have factories, sales offices and service centers as close to our customer base as possible. Not all manufacturers offer this. You will see this demonstrated by the fact we build both Grove and Potain cranes in India and have service centers across the country.
India’s crane market is growing fast and the outlook for the next 10-15 years is very strong. With companies like Manitowoc leading the way, the future for the Indian crane industry is looking very bright.