The Indian construction industry is seeking efficient and high capacity lifting solutions for the construction of high-rise buildings and mega infrastructure projects. This demand is being met by tower cranes, as they can lift heavy loads, reach great heights, and are considered highly productive. Tower crane manufacturers like ACE, Liebherr India & Alpha Cranes are further enhancing their safety and other features, providing users with all the technical support necessary to ensure fewer disruptions and accidents in construction projects. P.P. Basistha reports on the current market for tower cranes with users looking for enhanced safety features to avoid mishaps during operations.

the construction of high-rise buildings and mega infrastructure projects

The tower crane market in India is transitioning to more value-engineered and higher-capacity products to cater to specialized construction projects, such as precast construction, concrete bridge piers, girders, and constructions with higher free-standing heights. While conventional 5-ton hammerhead and flattop cranes continue to dominate the market, new, more specialized concepts, such as the electric hydraulic luffing crane, are being introduced by crane manufacturers as part of their initial concept selling strategies. The overall scenario, driven by new product placements, seems to be leading towards higher levels of business segmentation and resultant maturity in the tower crane market. Industry estimates suggest that the market for specialized electric hydraulic luffing cranes in India which was between 30-35 units across all capacities in 2022, increased to 60+ units in 2023, and is set to grow further in 2024, while the total size of the tower crane market in India is 1200 units.

Safety at construction sites is paramount, and finding the root cause of a problem is an essential step in addressing and managing risks to ensure safety. Alongside the high-tech safety features being introduced in the tower cranes, OEMs and contractors must ensure that only skilled operators are employed for successful operations, as worldwide, most of the accidents at project sites are caused due to an error by the crane operator. It is deduced that operator training can reduce accidents by 25-30%.

the construction of high-rise buildings and mega infrastructure projects
Says Mayank Pundir, Country Head, Action Construction Equipment (ACE), “The most interesting trend in the tower crane market in India is that it is witnessing both higher volume and value-based demand. As a market leader in the tower crane segment, with almost 68% market share, we are well-positioned to meet the evolving demand for higher capacity and safer cranes. Alongside demand from major infra development projects, there is demand from small housing clusters and low cost housing, which we are catering to with our 1.6, 2.5 and 5-ton class of tower cranes.”

“We are offering both stationary and mobile cranes and cranes with anchorage. Our cranes are designed to efficiently undertake lifting and slewing of loads at freestanding heights, with full jib extended. We train the crane operators in every detail such as releasing the slew brake or parking brake on a crane to allow for its weathervaning, especially when working in coastal areas or when there is a high wind velocity. Given our focus on maintaining safety during operations, I am proud to say that in the past many years there has been no incidence of an accident faced by ACE tower cranes", says Pundir.

Pundir informs that as a forward-looking company, they keep abreast of market trends and upcoming demand, based on which, they have come up with a new 6-ton, FT 6040 - a flattop tower crane with a 60-meter jib (also available in 8 tons). “We aim to build a strong presence in construction of precast buildings, high rises, etc, for which we will be coming up with10, 16 and 24-ton flattop tower cranes. We will be the sole Indian manufacturer to enter the 24-ton flattop tower crane category, which will put us in the league of international tower crane manufacturers.”

the construction of high-rise buildings and mega infrastructure projects

ACE is also increasing its production capacity to come up with an additional 600+ units of tower cranes, which will be over and above its annual production of 1000+ units. “The additional capacity build up will enable us to curtail lead times significantly, and more importantly, it will allow us to bring down the production cost per unit. This will hedge the cost volatility in electronic products, and in slew gears, which we still have to import. To lower the cost of our cranes and to enable more ease of maintenance, we have reduced the functions of the electronic systems in the cranes and have also begun manufacturing our own electronic panels.”

In ACE tower cranes, hoisting as well as slewing mechanism is equipped with VFD (variable frequency drives) for smooth and jerk free operations

ACE offers these tower cranes with (SLI) Safe Load indicators which provide additional safety apart from other regular safety systems. This indicates the weight of the material lifted along with safe load at that radius. The SLI acts as third level of safety apart from Moment Limiter and Ergo Meter. These tower cranes are provided with anemometers to check the wind speed. In high wind speed conditions, tower cranes are not supposed to work and jib is left free to align itself towards the wind’s direction, thereby reducing the wind pressure on the tower crane. We also offer Anti-Collision Device for buildings where two or more tower cranes are working in proximity of each other.

We have the advantage of manufacturing these tower cranes locally, ACE as a company has been aggressive not only in the market but also in adopting new technologies for manufacturing. We offer the largest range of indigenously manufactured tower cranes in the country.

ACE tower cranes are supported by 48 dealers and 100 touchpoints.

Liebherr´s Tower Cranes product segment displayed their first hydraulic luffing jib crane NC-LH 12-55 at Excon 2023 (India). The 12-tonne crane is manufactured in Pune, India. The sales will start soon.

the construction of high-rise buildings and mega infrastructure projects
Krishna Kumar, Divisional Head Tower Cranes, Liebherr India, explains why this luffing jib crane is made to build cities: “This crane has high safety standards and was designed to work in metropolitan cities using its high hook heights. The luffing jib makes it easy to lift, lower, move and position loads safely. Assistance systems such as Micromove enable precise working, which saves time and increases safety on the construction site. Luffing jib cranes can be used on sites with limited space – as often found in cities.”

The crane can lift up to 2.450 kilograms at the top with a maximum radius of 55 meter. These impressive values are achieved by the hydraulic luffing jib in combination with the high performance 45 kw hoist gear or an optional 65 kw hoist gear. The climbable 16 EC 240 tower system with its compact dimensions of 1.6 x 1.6 meters requires little space and can be effortlessly transported to its destination by truck or container. In combination with the slim 16 EC tower, a smaller crane can be placed in the middle of a construction site or climb in narrow elevator shafts.

the construction of high-rise buildings and mega infrastructure projects

A standard out-of-operation radius of less than ten meters is possible. This means the crane can be positioned closer to the building as well as other cranes or property boundaries. With this radius, it is also possible to position more cranes on the site. The NC-LH 12-55 and its counter ballast can be transported with only four transport units. This contributes to simplified construction site logistics, especially for tight urban construction sites.

the construction of high-rise buildings and mega infrastructure projects
Rishab Gandhi, Director, Alpha Services, informs that the company will continue to promote its 4510 SGT, 5010 SGT and 6008 SGT in the Indian market. “As of now our marketing strategy will remain focused on the 5-ton class of tower cranes as this product category constitutes the major market segment. We are also geared to offer higher capacity tower cranes when demand escalates. Presently, our focus is on our existing range of tower cranes and we will move to higher capacity variants in a phased manner. We will also be raising our production capacity at our facility in Bhiwadi.”

the construction of high-rise buildings and mega infrastructure projects
The Alpha 5-ton crane promises greater safety and reliability in operations through the three VVFD as compared to the two VVFD offered by other crane manufacturers. The three VVFD system also facilitates jerk free slewing, lifting and travelling operations.

Says Gandhi, “All our models have a pin locking system for fixing the mast sections, which enables ease of erection and dismantling. And because of their modular structure the cranes can be easily transported in less number of conventional trailer trucks.”

He adds, “Business was good for us in 2023 and we expect that it will be better this year. We have appointed additional dealers and are building up sales by marketing our products directly to contractors and corporates. Our dealers are now present across South India, Gujarat, Maharashtra and East. We are also teaming up with some rental companies as a good number of them are entering the tower crane business. It is important to have safety regulations at par with regulated markets as this will encourage buyers to opt for the more advanced and higher quality tower cranes.”
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