TIL Limited: Strong on Technology

Anil Bhatia, VP-Sales & Marketing, TIL Limited
Anil Bhatia, VP-Sales & Marketing, TIL Limited, is confident that the new regulation restricting the use of old cranes will be instrumental in driving business as demand for new cranes will rise. Sharing details on the company's preparedness for the emerging demand scenario, he expresses his confidence in TIL's engineering expertise backed by the company's technological tie ups with Grove mobile cranes and Hyster reach stackers and forklifts.

How will the new Vahan-4 regulation restricting use of old cranes by the government impact the CE industry?
The new regulation is indeed a welcome initiative by the government as prior to 2017 the crane market was dominated by used equipment as there was no rules for registration of cranes. The Vahan-4 regulation of the government will be the biggest driver of change. Now, homologation certificates are required.

TIL was the first crane company in India to get all its cranes homologated. With more and more RTOs going online, it will deter crane owners from registering their machines anywhere, in case they are not homologated. Major users/contractors are also stressing on using newer cranes due to safety considerations.

How is TIL gearing up to meet demand?
Demand for mobile cranes, particularly rough terrain (RT), all terrain (AT), and truck cranes (TC) is robust. According to industry estimates, demand is estimated to be around 600-700 units, while production capacities are estimated to be around 350 units in India.

Demand is being driven by road and infrastructure projects and to a fair extent by metro and railway projects. We will gear up to meet demand by expanding our production capacity at our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Kharagpur. The preference for newer cranes will see better hiring rates as well.


What capacity cranes are seeing higher demand?
In truck cranes, there is more demand for the 50 - 80 ton; for rough terrains it is for the 20-50 ton class; and for the all-terrain, it is the 100-150 ton

How is TIL aligning its product line with the tagline of Excon 2019 'Smart i-Tech – Next Gen India@75'?
We will be showcasing new cranes with advanced safety and intelligent systems based on IoT. We have worked for almost a year in consultation with our customers to develop custom made products with intelligent solutions so that our cranes give higher uptime and performance.

With the intelligent systems, the owners and operators can derive information on their machine such as fuel consumption etc and also diagnose its health for timely troubleshooting and preventive and predictive maintenance to reduce downtime.

We have developed an advanced diagnostics system that requires just a laptop to check any fault in the machine and fix it quickly. We are also very focused on ensuring safety in our cranes. These new 80-ton rough terrain crane which will be showcased at Excon will have longer booms for working at greater heights and a long working radius.

What class of cranes are you developing for the export markets?
We are developing a new range of RT cranes with some design modifications as per the changing customer requirements at home and also as per the requirements of our export markets in the Middle East and Far East from where we have received our first round of orders. We also plan to be present more strongly in the African markets.

We had ventured into exports through renowned contractors, who deployed TIL cranes at job sites in the Middle East and in the Far East. However, during the last two years, we have been selling our cranes directly in these markets, including Middle East and Africa, through Grove dealers.

What does TIL's tie-up with Grove and Hyster entail?
For the all-terrain Grove cranes, we only sell and service them in India. For the truck and rough terrain cranes, we have a technology transfer agreement with Grove for manufacturing and selling the cranes in India. Cranes that are being exported are branded as Grove TIL. We are also increasing our production capacity and will be rolling out products, which will be manufactured for the export markets.

Our other technology partner is Hyster®. The reachstackers are built at TIL's factory in Kharagpur, West Bengal, India as per Hyster® design and stringent quality standards in line with those produced at Hyster's Nijmegen plant in the Netherlands. ReachStackers manufactured by TIL in India are also sold by Hyster in Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Malaysia.

What will be the typical application areas for TIL's cranes with long reach booms?
While all the segments of infrastructure will be our target market, including the institutional buyers, however, we will be targeting the crane rental agencies in a major way. This is because rental companies always look for projects that can be executed in a shorter span of time and they want flexibility. These companies are potential buyers of our higher capacity cranes with longer booms.

How is TIL meeting the requirement for more compact, operator-friendly machines with better maneuverability?
There is a perception that heavier the boom, the load carrying capacity of the crane diminishes. This is because the boom, owing to the heights it is supposed to function in, the load is subtracted from the carrying capacity of the cranes. In view of this engineering paradox, we are now equipping our cranes with new U-shaped booms made of higher tensile steel. The high-grade steel, which is imported from the best mills around the world, reduces the weight of the boom, enabling the cranes to give higher lift capacity. The U-shaped booms are an advancement over the trapezoidal shaped booms which work at heights less than 40 meters, while the U-shaped booms can work at even 50 meters height.

Once we have enhanced the load carrying capacity of our cranes, they will work even at 60-70 meter heights as they will have a higher power to weight ratio.

How is TIL making the cabins in its cranes more operator-friendly?
We are adding features that will provide better safety and comfort to the operators. Many crane owners are asking for air-conditioned cabins so that the operator can work more comfortably and thereby deliver higher productivity. We are placing the controls within easy reach of the operator and enabling a quick view of the operating data. This will give the operator the confidence that every operating parameter is within the desired limit. We have also provided intelligent solutions in the controls for troubleshooting.

Competition is heating up in the market due to the availability of European and Chinese make of products. How do you view this development?
The emerging competition is a positive development as it will help the market move into two different product positionings, resulting in two sets of customers: those who are looking for long lasting solutions with higher initial costs and others who are opting for products with lower initial costs. So, we will see two business models.

At TIL, we will position our products as per the market requirements. Our technological expertise and that of our collaborators, will give our brand a strong competitive positioning in the market.

Is TIL prepared to meet the 2020 new emission norms?
Our cranes are powered with Cummins, Ashok Leyland and Volvo Penta engines. All the manufacturers are ready to meet the new Bharat stage-4 norms. We are also making modifications in the hydraulic system of our cranes and these machines will be ready by August 2020.

Is TIL considering leasing, buyback and refurbishment services?
Yes, we are. Due to the organized nature of the crane rental agency in India, there is a used cranes market. The first-time buyer uses his TIL crane for 15-20 years and then sells it to a second-hand buyer. Since, we have the historical data of the crane on its maintenance etc, we share it with the second buyer. We also do a total check-up of the machine and undertake a complete onsite refurbishment. Refurbishment is also done at our workshops in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai where we have skilled technicians for the job.

How is TIL upgrading/skilling its operators?
We have a mandatory training program for our institutional customers, government agencies, and rental agencies. We also impart training to the operators of the hiring companies when the machine is being dispatched. We conduct regular courses for operators, refresher courses, and basic troubleshooting courses. As part of our product support, we offer annual maintenance and operational contracts.

Lifting & Specialized Transport, October-December 2019

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