With Delhi and its National Capital Region (NCR) accounting for sizeable business share for tower crane manufacturers and distributors in India, companies look to gain more business presence as infrastructure (commercial and residential real estate) promoters draw bigger project development plans backed by sizeable investments. P.P.Basistha takes stock of the OEM's game plan to take on the offerings of the exciting market.
Civil engineers or plant and machinery purchase personnel with construction companies, planning to have an elaborate study on application orientation of tower cranes in infrastructure, residential and commercial residential projects, no other than India's capital city of Delhi and its NCR comprising Noida in Uttar Pradesh and Gurgaon in Haryana is the best live experimenting ground. With dust haze being part of the skyline across the year, tower cranes of all heights, length, capacities and make, all configured to suit the project construction requirements are available for live action. And the number seems to grow, as demand for quality mass rapid transportation continues to be firm along with commercial and residential projects, led by growing incomes and enhance propensity to spend for the population involved in the economic mainstream in the capital city and its adjoining areas.
According to estimates from reputed manufacturers and distributors of tower cranes in India, almost 35% business of tower cranes is derived from Delhi and NCR market. A big chunk of demand for 60 units, largest of its kind in India in 2014 has been from Delhi Development Authority's (DDA) housing project in Rohini and Narela. The state housing developer is constructing 1000 low cost buildings in clusters. Delhi-NCR has approximately 1000 cranes in operation across real estate construction projects. Bulk of the cranes are hammer head cranes in the 5 – 6 ton range with a handful of flat top and luffing jib cranes making up the balance.
The potential to expand business presence lays in meeting the construction requirements, precisely through appropriate product configurations, timely equipment availability and requisite support. This is because the market holding enormous potential for volume business is ridden with tough competition coupled with extreme price sensitivity among contractors.
Mr. Ramdev says, "The local manufacturers, present in the region have a price advantage. Besides this, the higher exchange rate of our imported units makes the pricing dearer. However, we have been overcoming these challenges and marking our business presence in the extremely price sensitive Delhi-NCR real estate construction markets mainly by educating potential customers on advanced quality advantage of our products as compared to those supplied by local manufacturers.
He explains, "With sizeable investments made towards R&D and productions over manufacturing period of sixty years, the GJJ cranes are much superior. This is much in contrast to the local manufacturers with relatively much lesser experience in manufacturing the tower cranes. Tensile strength of steel, used in the mast, jib and other areas of GJJ cranes is higher. Further, the joints in the jib are much robust, reducing the possibility of bending during unwarranted collision with other cranes or materials in the vicinity. The cranes have superior painting as well. All the advanced features make the cranes reliable to work for years with minimal maintenance. This makes the cranes much suitable for the real estate project contractors in the Delhi-NCR region having compressed project schedules, requiring higher uptime for the tower cranes. GJJ cranes are available between the ranges of 5-10 tons.
Based on the growing trend of high-rise construction and prefabricated building technologies, Mr. Ramdev sees growing demand of higher capacities tower cranes in Delhi-NCR. He says, "We are well positioned to meet the requirements of lifting higher loads through our SYM higher capacities tower cranes between 10-50 tons and above upto 160 tons with Fine Hope Cranes. Brand building in this competitive region is our outmost priority to increase our product acceptance. We have put in dedicated team of sixteen service personnel for the same to render training, maintenance support for the cranes along with engaging four people for marketing and sales.
Potain has been supplying tower cranes in the Delhi-NCR region between 5-6 tons. The company has tower cranes offering between 2.5 -16 tons. The US crane manufacturing brand has got a population between 250-300 units working in Delhi-NCR region for construction projects being undertaken by Gammon, Shapoorji Pallonji, Supertech and others. The company in the recent past has launched MCi48C tons tower cranes for real estate projects taking place in tier-2 and tier-3 cities for 18-19 storied buildings. Potain manufactures most of its tower cranes at its Pune plant. It is fully owned subsidiary of Manitowoc, manufacturer of mobile cranes under Grove brand.
ACE is looking to expand its business presence in the region through promoting its tower cranes on rent. Mr. Mudgil explains, "Mostly tower cranes are purchased by contractors and developers themselves for the projects they have undertaken in the region. There are very few organized players in tower cranes rentals, as a reason, we have started offering the cranes on rent. Rentals provide us an opportunity to offer units to customers, who do not want to invest because of capital constraints. Customers need not worry about operations and maintenance or availability / uptime issues. We provide the complete package which enables customers to work with tower cranes without the liability of owning them.
According to Mr. Mudgil, key to retain and expand business presence in the dynamic market of Delhi-NCR is the ability of the company to provide appropriate product support. He says, "Our engineers and technicians have been trained adequately to ensure proper working of tower cranes and their safety devices. Further, we feel that the vital factor is a good, trained operator and precisely because of this we have started a well equipped training centre at Faridabad to provide operation and maintenance training to our customer's personnel. ACE has its mother warehouse in NCR for meeting the requirements of its population of cranes.
With projects lined up, Delhi-NCR market will be offering future business potential. However, according to manufacturers and distributors, demand is expected to fully materialise by end of this year when some of the fresh investments planned in the real estate sector in the region gets channelized.
Liebherr cranes have recently appointed Contech Equipment as dealer in Delhi for marketing its tower cranes in the region. Mr. Krishna Kumar, Country Manager, Liebherr Cranes India says, "Contech will offer product sales backed by complete support services for the equipment. Liebherr, has recently launched ECB-5, 5, ton tower cranes, locally manufactured at its Pune plant for the Indian real estate sector. According to Mr. Kumar, Liebherr's tower cranes have worked at prestigious real estate projects in Delhi-NCR, constructed by L&T, Unitech and India Bulls.
Spartan has been supplying tower cranes to Gaur Sons, DLF, Unitech, Ajanara, Amrapali La Residentia, DSR Constructions, Himshikhar, Perfect Builder, Bhushan Engineering, BG Shirke among others. The lifting capacities supplied are between 4 to 6 ton with jib length varying from 40 to 60 mtrs with 1 ton to 2 ton tip load. Spartan has recently supplied CTT-70 with 50 mtrs jib to DMRC for construction of Nehru Place station. The crane is being used to lift precast structures and other materials for contractors Pratibha.
Precast Segment Holds PromiseWhile there remains an existing demand for the lighter class units, advent of many high-rise projects and adoption of precast building techniques, in real estate projects in Delhi-NCR is expected to promote demand of higher capacity cranes in 10-16 ton and above ranges. Presently, according to the crane manufacturers and distributors, the higher capacity range contributes approximately 10-15% of the demand from the real estate construction sector in the region.
According to Mr. Mehendale, "With widest range of Zoomlion tower cranes from 4 to 240 tons, we are well positioned to cater to the requirements of precast construction.
ACE will also be banking on its wide product portfolio to cater the requirements of the precast segment. Mr. Mudgil says, "We are offering tower cranes from 1.6 to 20t and jib lengths upto 70 mtrs. The cranes can easily be assembled and disassembled at site. Safety is a prime prerequisite for lifting and slewing heavier precast loads. Hence, installation, operation, mast height increase/decrease of the tower crane are of utter importance. On our part we provide all possible safety features in tower cranes like limit switches for trolley, hoisting, slew functions, overload and moment limiters with alarm and cut off in case of unsafe/overload operations. We also offer safe load indicators (SLI) along with automatic cut off, anti-collision device for projects where 2 or more tower cranes are working in close proximity of other tower cranes / buildings and other such advanced safety devices optionally as and when required by customers.
According to Mr. Malik, "Compressed work schedules are driving many reality sector companies to adopt precast technology and also the precast structure element loads are also increasing in the new upcoming projects.
Comansa globally has a prominent position as a supplier of higher capacity tower cranes. The range of Comansa cranes distributed in India comprises 5T-64 tons in case of a Flat Top Tower cranes. One of the prominent productive features of Comansa cranes being a flat top is its ability to dismantle the jib, piece by piece without bringing the crane with total jib down on the ground. "In this way, a construction cost is neutralized to a big extent as the contractor will not require a higher capacity mobile crane to dismantle the jib. Getting a separate higher capacity mobile crane at job sites can be cumbersome and expensive in North India as well as other parts of the country, especially if the site is crammed, uneven and difficult to access, says Mr. Malik. Comansa cranes marketed in India are sourced from Comansa Jie facility in China and also from Linden Comansa facility in Spain depending upon the requirements of the customers.
Mr. Malik says, "one of the unique selling proposition of our cranes which is best suited to real estate pre cast projects where more unit of tower cranes are deployed at project site is the removable jacking cage provision. With single jacking cage available, heights of other Comansa cranes working at the same sites can be increased or decreased, thereby leading to cost savings. Comansa cranes require less jacking as the mast size is 5.5 metres. This gives better productivity and safe operation.
ECE has supplied Comansa Jie tower cranes for major realty pre cast projects in NCR and other project sites in India.
According to Mr. Malve, "Though the Delhi- NCR market is highly price sensitive, the higher capacity of tower crane will be priced higher. Although, it will be having a pricing parity with other higher capacity units, which are generally priced more than the lower capacity tower cranes. "Made according to European standards, Anupam-Alfa tower cranes score higher on safety and performance and have longer service life, making it much suitable to real estate developers in Delhi-NCR with higher job volumes in hand. Anupam manufactures 5-6 tons tower cranes under technical collaboration of Alfa from Italy.
According to Mr. Malve, Delhi-NCR region, contributes close to 50% of business to Anupam with at least 70 units working in various real estate projects. "We have a dedicated team of 8 service engineers and 3 marketing personnel to serve the region. Hiring more numbers of people is on radar as demand is projected to go further.
Business on VolumesDelhi-NCR market offers potential for volumes business to tower crane manufacturers and distributors. However, the market is extremely price sensitive and competitive. This is a deterring factor for many crane distributors and manufacturers to enter this market. Further, the price advantage offered by local manufacturers in the region is added deterring factor as well. Nonetheless, the swelling volumes of active tower cranes working provide an ideal business opportunity to supply critical parts and components.
DCS Techno is an exclusive distributor of 5tn to 200 tn Chinese make Yangmao and premium European FM Gru 5-42 tons tower cranes for the Indian market. It also markets 5-20 tons KRHI Chinese flattop tower cranes for real estate construction.
Delhi-NCR market will keep providing ample business opportunities to tower crane companies. However, how best the companies are able to encash the opportunities will depend on their ability to provide timely availability of the products, customized product support in accordance with the projects requirements and competitive services.