There is rising demand of tower cranes with higher capacity ratings and technologically advanced features to cater to newer construction applications that require varying hook heights, jib lengths, and capacities. So, while this is driving them to include the higher tonnage cranes in their portfolio, they are at the same time making improvements in the lighter segment, which continues to see sizeable demand.
Demand for higher tonnage tower cranes is being seen in applications like precast handling and erection, and in various industries like power plants, cement plants, refineries, hydroelectric dams, bridges, and high-rise buildings, where they provide high-capacity material handling solutions.
Every new technology comes at a cost, and we are committed to offering cranes that will have at least 20 years of service life.
Prashant Suryavanshi,MD, Potain Cranes India
We are witnessing a steady revival in demand for tower cranes this year as compared to 2021 – led by fresh acquisitions and pent-up demand. In fact, demand has been up by 10-15 percent, so much so that we have already sold the highest number of cranes this year. We expect this momentum to continue in 2023 as well, which will be led by demand for tower cranes of 5, 8, and 10 tons, and even higher capacity. We are getting a lot of enquiries from metro cities and also from tier II and III cities.
We are producing both the lighter segment 5-ton tower cranes and the higher capacity 10 ton at our facility in Pune. To meet the requirements for even higher capacity tower cranes, we have begun local manufacturing of the 20-ton. Local manufacturing gives us the advantage of price competitiveness, plus we can offer a wider range with high-end features.
In the future, we will consider manufacturing tower cranes of 25 -30 - 40 tons as we foresee sizeable demand for them. Presently, we are importing the 25-ton from our facilities abroad. Demand for the higher capacity tower cranes will come from greenfield industrial construction projects, especially for the construction of cooling towers, metros, airports, and other projects that require cranes for super structure construction. One of the major demand areas will be for pylon erection in cable stayed bridges.
Our strategy for positioning our higher capacity cranes for the Indian infrastructure construction market will be to localize them to a greater extent, and bring a balance in their pricing and global quality, as per European standards.
We have begun fabricating the cranes at our Pune facility with more localized content, though we will continue to import the critical electronics, control systems, and some vital parts of the towers and jib, from Germany, France, and China. Since Potain tower cranes are based on European design standards, they are sturdier and give fail-safe performance, even while working on free-standing heights. They have greater rigidity due to the pin type masts, and the compact design of the jib and mast makes the cranes easier to transport. As regards safety, their control system enables smoother and safer lifting and slewing operations.
We will also enhance our support to customers. As per our policy, our new dealer will have complete cooperation from us in planning the future road map for product support and services.
We have aligned our India dealership model along the lines of our global model, that is, the national dealer for a country. Our new dealer ‘Klaus World Equipment’ is based in Pune and with a single dealer, we will have more control over the business and give better support to customers. The dealer will also set up a dedicated team of no less than 40 service engineers.
Our competitive advantage lies in the design of our cranes, which have highly advanced features, besides our superior services and support.
Mayank Pundir, AVP, ACE, Tower Cranes Division
We are bullish on demand of tower cranes of higher tonnage and will therefore be planning to introduce the 20-ton soon; it will be manufactured at our plant in Faridabad. We will be targeting this crane for use in industrial, transportation, general infrastructure, and in precast construction. The crane will be used for internal and external installation in construction projects, and will have all the required advanced safety features, including the latest electronics to support the slewing and lifting applications. However, the key attribute will be its high freestanding height of 70 to 90 meters, and an increased working radius for covering a wider area, which will be facilitated by a strong, rigid structure.
We presently produce tower cranes of 5-16 tons. The range comprises hammer heads and flat-tops. We are marketing the higher capacity 25-ton in India through our exclusive distribution tie-up with SCM of China.
As regards our marketing strategy, we already have a strong presence in real estate and precast construction, but once we expand and strengthen our business in the higher capacity segment, we will target projects like expansions in cement plants, construction of preheaters and silos - which are major business areas. We will also target construction and maintenance of steel plants and refineries. An important segment in which we see a lot of potential for higher capacity tower cranes is in pylon erection in cable stayed bridges and in metro rail construction.
Our competitive advantage lies in the design of our cranes which have highly advanced features, and include superior welding and painting, variable frequency drives for jerk-free hoisting and slewing, limit moment switches, and optional anti-collision devices. We also offer superior services and support; in fact, none of our competitors can claim to offer the same level of support.
We have over 100 dealers and 60 dedicated service engineers, and parts support from our warehouse to ensure optimum availability of our tower cranes, plus their quick erection/dismantling. We also render support through annual and general maintenance.
We undertake continuous R&D in drive technologies, PLC controls, etc in order to ensure that our machines give customers the utmost safety and operation reliability.
Krishna Kumar, Divisional Head Tower cranes, Liebherr India
There is certainly a greater demand of higher capacity tower cranes from the Indian construction sector. The demand is essentially being led by the larger number of precast projects and the technological advancements in infrastructure construction. I also see demand increasing for the lighter and medium capacity cranes as well as many companies are finding good utility in these machines.
Demand will continue to remain firm in 2023 and beyond in view of the many infrastructure construction projects being developed across India in all the segments, including commercial real estate, industrial construction, and transportation infrastructure. We at Liebherr are well positioned to cater to all the demand segments with our wide range of cranes that are manufactured in our Indian and European facilities.
Liebherr manufactures flat-top cranes with a maximum lifting capacity of up to 20 tons. Its high-top cranes have a maximum lifting capacity of up to 50 tons. For extremely heavy lifts/heavy-load cranes, it offers cranes with maximum lifting capacity of up to 100 tons.
Liebherr cranes are known for their high quality and fast assembly. Proven technologies from Liebherr’s existing flat-top series speed up their assembly; while with the LiConnect quick jib connection, the jib can be assembled quickly and safely. In the NC-B series (manufactured in India), the central unit with slewing platform and connecting element can be moved upwards in one lift. It is also possible to reduce the weight of the central unit: the slewing platform and switchgear cabinet. The cabin can be installed separately, if required, so that it can react according to the performance strength of the assembly crane.
For ease of operations and higher availability of its tower cranes, Liebherr has developed fiber rope instead of steel rope for the hoist operation. Fiber ropes are easy to handle; they have a much longer service life than steel ropes; and maintenance is less complicated and safer since no lubricants are used. In addition, use of fiber ropes allows for an additional increase in capacity as the dead weight of the ropes is reduced.
Another recent innovation from our end is development of digital solutions and services for optimized processes on the construction site. For optimum and safe usage of the tower cranes, Liebherr has been opening up perspectives for activities that go beyond the actual and conventional tower crane tasks. The perspectives recognize the additional potential or scope in the cooperation between crane operators, architects, construction planners, and site managers on site. The perspectives for cooperation and safety are further supplemented by our continuous R&D in drive technologies, featuring frequency drives with PLC controls with special features and functions, all of which gives an advantage to our customers by ensuring utmost safety and operation reliability.
Liebherr Tower cranes have been deployed in the construction of Minerva Towers in India, the Canakkale Bridge project in Turkey, and in the Central Boulevard Towers in Singapore, among other projects.