This demand for more productive cranes is expected to come from the hiring agencies across the country as deployment of machines has become simpler with the implementation of GST. Moreover, as more construction companies prefer to become asset light, demand will be led by crane hiring agencies; this trend was witnessed during 2017 and 2018 when some major acquisitions were made by the rental agencies.
Advancements in truck-mounted cranes for higher performance, more manoeuvrability through adaption of four-wheel drive, advanced engines, and simplified electronics are some of the major initiatives being undertaken by manufacturers.
From 2019, ACE started manufacturing truck cranes on its in-house chassis instead of the commercial chassis. This has greatly improved the stability of the machine by shifting the CG lower and also reducing the overall height of the machine. Use of double axles on the front and the rear help in overall distribution of the weight, making the operation smooth and jerk-free. The outrigger span has been increased horizontally so that the machine can lift the desired load with ease. Two modes in the engine allow the machine to be used in both the normal and in the fuel saver mode, which reduces fuel consumption and improves overall efficiency of the machine.
Says Saxena: "The self-developed controller (SYMC) in our truck cranes is configured especially for engineering machinery. CAN-bus full-digital network control technology ensures stable control signal, simple harness and reliability. Timely feedback of data information helps in monitoring the machine's working status in real-time. The load moment limiter equipped with an intelligent protection system is used with accuracy within 3% to provide a comprehensive logic and interlock control, thus ensuring safer and more reliable operation. Besides which, we have used high quality key hydraulic components such as main oil pump, rotary pump, main valve, winch motor and balancing parts etc to ensure stable and reliable operation of the hydraulic system. Superior operation performance is guaranteed by accurate parameter matching."
The truck cranes of TIL have advanced technology and the latest features to augment efficiency, safety and operator comfort. Lifting power ranges between 45T and 80T, and the longer 5-section formed booms enable maximum boom lengths between 41.3m and 43.8m, which may be further extended by way of added boom extensions. Other advancements include a more compact design, improved yet simplified electronics, high-performing cabs with fewer blind spots, automotive-style interior layout, BSIII CEV compliant engines, higher ground clearance, and components sourced from world-class manufacturers. The company also has lower capacity truck cranes of 30T and 40T capacity.
XCMG cranes are designed keeping in mind economy and ease of operation, assembly and transportation. The truck cranes use high strength components (a prerequisite for high capacity at shorter radii) and deliver industry-leading performance. The company was the first in India to introduce all-axle steering in truck cranes – a feature also present in its latest 100-ton truck crane. XCMG Cranes have the smallest turning radii in their categories for working in brownfield sites."
Critical Productivity Enhancements
A noticeable advancement being made by manufacturers is in giving their cranes higher lifting capacities at shorter radius, backed by longer and stronger boom extensions supported by luffing arrangements. Besides this, manufacturers are opting for a more compact design, and newer operating features for enabling varied applications, ease of maintenance, and lower cost of ownership.
Manoj Agarwal at ACE informs that ACE has designed the boom in-house based on the company's engineering capability. "The boom assembly with 4 and 5 sections made of high strength steel with optimized shape, will drastically reduce its weight, while enhancing the lifting capability of the machine. Integration of best-in-class driveline along with top-notch hydraulics and in-house designed structures with safety and boom assembly will make our cranes competitively stronger."
Sanjay Sanjay avers that Sany truck cranes have an ultra-long, super strong and highly sensitive load lifting capacity with a five-section boom of high strength steel structure and an optimized U-shaped cross section that reduces weight significantly, with higher safety rates. Boom and jib ends are equipped with height limiters, respectively, to prevent over-hoisting of the wire rope.
He elaborates: "We have an advanced hoisting system, with which, the pump and motor double variable speed control ensures high efficiency and excellent energy saving. With a combination of winch balance valve and unique anti-slip technology, heavy loads can be lifted and lowered smoothly. Closed winch brake and winch balance valve effectively prevent imbalance of the work. Further, the load moment limiter for accurate rated load capacity is configured with the balance valve, overflow and two-way hydraulic lock, for stable and reliable operation of the hydraulic system. Main and auxiliary winches have an over roll-out limiter to prevent over rolling out of wire rope. Length, angle and press sensors indicate the working condition of the crane in real-time, giving an alarm and cutting off the dangerous action automatically. All these features provide operational safety of the cranes."
Anil Bhatia informs that the longer booms of TIL truck cranes have a U-shaped cross-section that provides for a natural cradling position for the boom sections and large wear pads for superior boom alignment during telescoping, thus allowing for excellent transition of weights between sections. Free Slew ensures precise and easy positioning of the boom over the load. There's also a 5-point outrigger system that provides unmatched stability during over-360° duties in challenging terrains; an on-board electronic load moment indicator (LMI) – with an integrated audio-visual warning system to guard against unwanted situations, such as, a two-block condition – and a control lever lockout mechanism to enable safe operations with load. A pendant limit switch on the boom-head prevents over-hoist. Hydraulic relief valves protect pumps and structures from excessive pressure and hydraulic failure.
"XCMG Truck cranes feature U-shaped boom sections with higher steel grades while being light in weight to meet load requirements. Patented telescoping technology controls boom extension and retraction sequences for smoother operation of telescopic boom," informs Sakthikumar.
ACE has a team of service managers and engineers in its regional offices at 16 locations across the country, who are well prepared to give timely service and supply parts. The main parts store is in Faridabad along with local depots which stock parts based on the population of the machines. Besides a 24/7 toll -free helpline for customers, ACE has commissioned a product focused group of service engineers at its head office. The company has a training centre at Ballabgarh, with facility for boarding and lodging, and classrooms for sub assembly/components and other extensive training provided to supervisors and operators. On-site training is also provided on operation, maintenance and trouble-shooting. The company plans to digitally connect all its machines through GPRS for live tracking of all its machines.
Sany's warehouse at Pune stocks all the major and fast-moving parts required at short notice for preventive maintenance or breakdowns. Its wide service network provides support to customers at any location across India. On logging a service call, Sany service engineer reach and assess any problem within 24 hours.
TIL's integrated customer support system offers value-added services and solutions – from quick parts availability and on-site service to annual maintenance contracts. Easy accessibility of spare parts and skilled service engineers, who are stationed close to customer sites, ensure timely resolution of any problem and maximum equipment uptime.
XCMG's optimized designs of its cranes allows the company to plan and execute critical parts support at sites to maintain higher uptime of the cranes. The company undertakes comprehensive health check of its fleet and advises customers on necessary parts or service requirements.