Sorab Agarwal, Executive Director
Our new, upgraded and award-winning products to be displayed at Excon
ACE is a swadeshi construction equipment company and the largest player in the Mobile and Tower Crane segments in India. This year, we will showcase our upgraded and new Backhoe Loader models in different engine horsepower categories at Excon along with our award-winning products like our special crane for piling, 360o Slew Pick N Carry crane, and our manlift crane, which has become very popular. We will also be displaying various other models including our new & higher tonnage next-gen cranes.
Moreover, we will be commissioning one of the largest crawler and truck crane manufacturing plant in India this year, which will double our production capacity, and we will add more and bigger products to our portfolio. We follow Lean manufacturing processes to improve production and save wastage, and undertake continuous upgradations of our products as per market expectations.
The government has a target of building 80 kms of roads per day. No doubt, demand for road equipment will be huge. We are already working on 50-60% utilization of our current capacity and increasing production.
We have ample scope for expansion in our backhoe loaders, forklifts, and other road machinery, and are open to forming joint ventures.
We plan to expand our equipment capacity in almost all our range of products. In pick and carry cranes, we will increase capacities from the current 30 tons to 35-40 tons, which will be the largest in the world.
We also plan to increase our capacity in the tower cranes and forklifts to 25 tons and 32 tons, respectively. We have a range of 49-74 hp backhoes and the only 95 hp 4x4 backhoe in the country. We will introduce a butterfly type outrigger backhoe model for the international market in the next 2-3 months, and are also developing the bigger 100–160-tons crawler cranes, which will be launched in the first half of 2023.
To meet the growing demand for safer cranes, we are offering NX 360 that rotates a complete 360 degrees and the NXP with a hydraulically operated manlift.
There is a growing inclination towards safer cranes in the last 10 years, and currently these types occupy 20-30% of the market. Within our product mix of Pick and Carry cranes, Hydras comprise 75% and new generation cranes 25%. In the last few years, we have come up with 4 game-changing products: the NX 360o, which can rotate 360 degrees, and the NXP that has a hydraulically operated manlift. Both come with best-in-class safety features.
Our NXT series has self-compensated forks like telehandlers. We are also working on Pick and Carry cranes with high-speed winches for use in piling operations during concreting and cage lowering. I would like to mention that while the European and American manufacturers adopt a 75% safety rating system, we adopted it at 60% for our Manlift crane.
At ACE, R&D is a constant process as we believe that for financial viability and sustained growth of businesses, we must cater to market requirements with newer or upgraded models.
As a leader in core segments of construction equipment, we do continuous R&D to make products that enhance productivity while being cost-effective. In fact, controlling cost is a continuous process and we keep on upgrading our products to meet market demand.
We believe that every market evolves as per customer requirements. When there was demand for 8–20-tons Pick & Carry cranes with a longer boom, we provided it. The new generation 360-degree, platform and telehandler cranes, which can do multiple tasks, have been developed as per customer requirements. So, our R&D focusses on what the customer wants and is willing to pay for it.
Automation, IoT, etc will add value to machines provided they are of practical use.
Anyone with more than 3-4 machines will need a good GPS, a trained operator, and a system for monitoring his equipment’s fuel consumption, safety etc. This is now possible using telematics that can be installed on all our machines with a standard 3G or 4G sim. For example, safe load indicators send alerts when something is not right and the owner or fleet operator can take timely corrective action. Earlier in case of an unsafe operation, the operator could easily reset the machine, but now the machine gets locked and only a password can help start its operations.
There are devices for using satellite-controlled data of the terrain for grading, which helps the machine to automatically set the required blade and reduce the number of passes, saving fuel as well. So, technologies like AI and IoT are bound to catch up soon.
ACE is offering attractive schemes for small contractors and operator training on its new machines.
Cash flows in the contractor industry were affected by the pandemic lockdown for a couple of months. ACE has various schemes to help small contractors whether with finance, buyback, refurbishment etc.
We also provide operator training on all our new series. In fact, for every new model or type of machine that we supply, experienced operators give 15 days training on the machines. We also ensure onsite training for operating our high-end machines. Simulator and hands-on training are provided at our facility in Faridabad on all types of machines, along with troubleshooting and preventive maintenance.
It is a good sign that big brands are in India as we believe that competition is essential for product upgradation and improvement in customer services.
The presence of big brands like Franna and Tadano, shows the potential and prowess of our economy and the success of pick and carry cranes in India, where we manufacture 8,000-9,000 cranes every year.
By making in India and exporting from here, such multinational giants will open the way for Indian companies to export globally. They will bring advanced technologies, technical know-how, and best practices and we can surely learn from them. They will also help reduce Country’s dependence on the Chinese companies that have been dominating the truck crane industry in India for the past 4-5 years.
The government clearly understands that investing in building infrastructure is going to help improve the economy, hence its strong focus on the construction industry. This year, they have announced investing on building roads, bridges, airports, pipelines, industries, etc – which will help grow the country’s economy, create employment, and also drive growth of related industries like steel, cement, etc.
That apart, we are catering to other sectors also with our products. For instance, in the agricultural sector, our track-harvester combine for paddy is number 2 in India. We have also started working with the Indian Defense, where we are providing some special machines, cranes, and 4x4 tractors. Most of these machines were being imported at three times the price. We have also designed missile and torpedo handling cranes mounted on special 10x10 and 8x8 Tata and Leyland vehicles.
Our target is to earn 15-20% of our total revenue from exports.
In the international market, our target is to earn 15-20% of our total revenue from exports. (We are currently earning 7-8%). Our reach has expanded to the Middle East, African, South American, and Southeast Asian markets, and we have plans to explore Central Asia and East European markets.