"Having established country’s first mobile crane manufacturing facility in 1962, TIL has so far rolled out over 5000 mobile cranes to serve country’s infrastructure needs and its new greenfield facility, which is coming up near Kolkata is all set to enrich its products line. TIL's latest technology tie-up with Astec Inc USA, will bring to its clients most modern range of continuous Hot Mix Asphalt plant, crushers, and screens," says Mr. Satish K Bhatnagar, Director & President, Material Handling Solutions TIL, in an Interview with S.A.Faridi.

How do you view the gradual transformation of Lifting & Material Handling Equipment industry in terms of engineering and technological upgradation in India in the past few years?
Technology adapted for mobile cranes has undergone a sea-change during last 4-5 years. Technology advancement in mobile cranes originates from US or European manufacturers where most of the key component suppliers also exist. Now the products are lighter and lifting capacities have also been increased by using extremely high tensile strength steel. Diesel engines made to match international standards of emission and fuel-efficiency. The state-of-the-art load sensing hydraulics and latest drive line componentry are a few examples where technology has advanced substantially in last few years.

TIL, which is under technology collaboration with Manitowoc Crane Group, has been consistently offering the same latest and modern products to its Indian customers which are available to overseas customers in USA and Europe.

Cranes at TIL

Tell us about TIL’s range of cranes being rolled out from Kolkata manufacturing plant and also about its comprehensive range of Lifting & Material Handling Equipment.
TIL established India’s first mobile crane manufacturing facility in Kolkata, in 1962 and since then it has produced over 5000 mobile cranes from this plant to meet country’s infrastructure build & core industrial needs.

Current range of mobile cranes from its Kolkata plant are Rough Terrain cranes from 20 MT to 75 MT lifting capacity and Truck Mounted cranes from 10 MT to 40 MT lifting capacity. In addition to these, we also manufacture Industrial cranes with a lifting capacity of up to 20 MT and Lorry Loaders and Container Handler, more popularly known as Reach Stacker for lifting laden container of up to 45 MT load. We also market and support complete range of lifting equipment from Manitowoc Crane Group plants worldwide. These include Manitowoc, Grove and Potain brand.

Crawler Crane
Manitowoc Cranes are the world leader for Lattice Boom crawler crane and its range extends from 18 MT to 1300 MT lifting capacity. Similarly, Grove range of ALL Terrain cranes includes many models in the range of 35 MT to 450 MT.

Potain Tower crane range has been a recent addition in our product portfolio and the range includes over 50 models in the capacity of 1 MT to 60 MT.

Manitowoc, Grove, and Potain Cranes built by TIL under technology collaboration of Grove are highly respected brand in our country and are known for their quality, reliability and industry best product support.

The market of various types of cranes has been growing rapidly with a number of domestic and international players joining to extract a major market share. Apart from construction, what other sectors are leading the growth in the deployment of cranes in various projects. Mobile cranes market has not yet witnessed substantial growth even after a period of two years slowdown. Except in a few products, like Crawler cranes in the capacity range of 100 MT and above.

With infrastructure boom setting in, and arising out of Govt. planned infrastructure spending of over $1000 billion in next 7-8 years, the market is showing sentiments of growth again. We will witness a growth of 20-30% starting from later part of this fiscal. While it is expected that all sectors in infrastructure and core industry will contribute to this growth; Construction, Oil & Gas, Power, Mines and Defense will mainly propel this growth forward.

What is the current status of TIL’s new manufacturing facility coming up near Kolkata and what would be the new product range being roll out from this new facility and proposed marketing initiatives to improve TIL market share?
In fact, this is a greenfield manufacturing facility which is being established near Kolkata and is expected to become operational by the middle of 2011.

Products range from this plant will comprise a variety of port and yard equipment. TIL has been a supplier of lifting equipment to the Indian Ports for the past four decades. Our product range includes Mobile Cranes, Forklifts, Electric Luffing Cranes, Container Handlers and Reach Stackers. Our recent manufacturing collaboration with Paceco, USA (a part of Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding Company) and Hyster (a brand of Nacco Material Handling Group, USA) will make the additional and modern range of Container handling equipment available.

In addition to above mentioned, through our technology tie up with Astec Inc., USA, we will bring our customers to a most modern range of continuous Hot Mix Asphalt Plant and Aggregate / mining Crushers and Screens.

Your focus on R&D & its achievement
TIL R&D team is continuously putting best efforts to introduce the new models, value engineering and design updates of its range. A team of over 20 engineers is fully equipped with latest software for structural, hydraulics and electrical design in addition to drafting software like auto cad and solid works.

Consequentially, this team has designed and developed an updated 40T truck crane in the market which not only provides improved features but also has reduced cost by 30% to tackle the price competition from Chinese manufacturers. Through this, we have brought those customers back who had shifted to Chinese products 3 years ago in view of price advantage.

A word about TIL world-class service solutions and marketing network.
We operate from our headquarters in Kolkata and have more than 40 branches strategically located in various parts of India. These branches provide an efficient and quicker after sales service to our customers.

We maintain a spare parts inventory of over 50,000 items. These are stocked in our main warehouse in Kolkata and 4 other regional warehouses located in four Metros.

Because of our strong spare parts and after sales service network, we are even able to support equipment that we had manufactured and supplied more than 30 years before.

All our Service Engineers are regularly getting training at our Kolkata facility and many of them at our collaborator’s facility abroad. Our after sales customer support service includes free training to the customers, both at our factory as well as at the customer’s premises depending upon his needs.

These programs are conducted periodically and a calendar is also published well in advance to be sent all customers to facilitate their employees taking advantage of this program. Till date, we have trained over 1000 engineers and technicians on our products spread nationwide. Apart from these, we have also started publishing a technical journal “Tiledge,” that provides information on latest trends, equipment maintenance, and safety to our customers.
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