Concrete Equipment Industry: Market Moving to Advanced Concrete Equipment & Higher Capacity Batching Plants

Concrete Equipment Industry

Ever increasing projects sizes, tight completion schedules and high strength concrete requirements are driving contractors to look for technologically advanced and high efficiency concrete batching and placing equipment. In the past one decade Concrete equipment Manufacturers have worked hard to bring awareness among builders and contractors that how advance technologies features and control systems help in producing high quality, homogeneous concrete and deliver it to greater heights and distances quickly.

Awareness among the contractors is changing the trends of cheapest plant instead they are asking value for money, which is making/forcing equipment manufacturers to put in extra efforts in their R&D cells and offer better quality equipment. Moreover, the manufacturers have to come-up with innovative after sales/market solutions and have to work like a partner in to the project. Maria R. spoke to a few major concrete equipment manufacturers on the technological trends, a shift towards advance features, their strategies matching market demand and offerings. Excerpts:

Schwing Stetter: "We introduce eco-friendly products with zero tolerance on quality, productivity & minimum downtime"

Anand Sundaresan
Mr. Anand Sundaresan
Vice-Chairman & MD,
SCHWING Stetter India
How do you see the business opportunities in wake of new government's commitment to fast track infrastructure construction and plan to develop cement concrete roads?
Obviously, if the government meets its commitments and implements concrete road projects, the business for concreting equipment manufacturers will improve. In the past, there was an indication that about 40% of the NHAI roads will be of concrete. Even though this government is likely to increase this %, the real numbers are not known.

What are the advanced technolo- gical trends evolving in the concrete batching and placing equipment segment and is the customer ready to pay for the technology? What are the technical attributes of your latest advanced offerings?
As far as concrete is concerned, people are moving towards very high strength concrete, especially for sky scrapers and multi-storey buildings. This calls for certain changes that are required for batching plants, which we are able to provide. Similarly contractors are moving towards more and more use of concrete boom pumps and concrete placer booms for high raised construction, which substantially increases the speed of construction.

Schwing Concrete Pump

All these modernization or mechanization were anyway expected quite some time back and got delayed only because of the downturn in the last 2-3 years. India is a price sensitive market and the Indian users of these modern machinery are well versed with the international trend and methodology. So they are always looking for hi-tech products at lowest possible prices.

Could you please tell us your presence in the mid and higher capacity batching plant (30 cbm and above?). Don't you think market is steadily shifting towards higher capacity?
Schwing Batching Plant
Schwing Stetter India is the only company producing entire range of batching plants for various applications. We have batching plants starting from 18 cbm up to 240 cbm. We have batching plants with pan mixer, twin shaft mixer and planetary mixer. In fact, for 80-90% of the Golden Quadrilateral Project our equipment of 120 cbm and above were only used. We have supplied more than 20 numbers of 240 cbm batching plants in India for various dam projects and national highway projects, which are probably the biggest population of 240 cbm batching plant in any country.

How are you engineering sustainable and fuel efficient products which are not only highly productive but also ensure minimum downtime?
Going green and environmental responsibility are universally accepted concepts. Fuel efficiency comes predominantly from our truck mixers, pumps and batching plants. Also, the Germans are very very particular about this. We have full support from our parent company to make sure that we also introduce environment-friendly products without compromising on quality, productivity, and minimum downtime.

What marketing strategies are you reorienting, feeling the pulse of the current market condition that despite marginal recovery, there would be stiff competition?
If it is a marketing strategy, how can I say it so openly and put it in the media? But one thing I can tell you, the competition was very stiff during boom time, the competitor became stiffer during the downtime and it turned out to be the stiffest in the recent times. Many manufacturers were under-cutting each other only to gain market share. In my opinion, this is not a good strategy. The result of this, you have already seen. Many companies have closed down their operations because they are not able to sustain. Therefore, there is no point in doing business if we do not make money. I would say that even the customers should not push the manufacturers so hard that they go out of business because at the end of the day, the customers would become the losers due to non-availability of after sales service and parts back up for the equipment that they have purchased.

Productivity of an equipment and ROI depends on how it is being used, its operator's skill, and also on the periodic and preventive maintenance. With this 'Chalta hai' attitude in India, how one would ensure that the equipment being operated and looked after well get a quick return on the capital invested? I do not agree that the 'chalta hai' attitude is still continuing in India. Definitely construction companies are more matured and they realize the value of their equipment. They do not compromise on the upkeep and maintenance of their equipment. Of course, there are exceptions always. The only problem in our country is being a price sensitive market, they try to adopt the cheapest possible way of maintaining the equipment, maybe sometimes by using spurious parts.

Reputed company like ours keep training the operators, mechanics, etc on a regular basis so that the equipment are used, operated and maintained in the best possible way. We also keep rationalizing our parts prices so that it doesn't become a burden for the customer.

Universal: "The Market is Going to Shift Towards Higher Capacity Batching Plant"

Ranjeet More
Mr. Ranjeet More
MD, Universal
How do you see the business opportunities in wake of new government's commitment to fast track infrastructure construction and plan to develop cement concrete roads?
We welcome the government move for fast tracking infrastructure construction projects. It has been a gap of almost 3–4 years in infrastructural projects. The concrete roads will give a long lasting solution for roads. This will give boost to CE sector and cement manufacturing sector.

What are the advanced technolo- gical trends evolving in the concrete batching and placing equipment segment and is the customer ready to pay for the technology? What are the technical attributes of your latest advanced offerings?
To mix and place concrete at controlled temperature which will result in high quality of infrastructure is a trend which is going to come. Similarly, to deliver high performance concrete will be the emerging trend which will meet the requirement of sky scrappers. In concrete placing, stationery placing booms and high pressure concrete pumps will be of high requirement.

Rower Batching Plant
Rower Batching Plant (Trailer Mounted) 30 to 60 Cu.M Per Hr

Universal is offering batching plants delivering concrete with high quality accuracy level, Universal is also offering high pressure concrete pumps upto 450 Mtrs and stationery placing booms thus offering its customers with the latest technology available which are readily accepted by the customers.

Could you please tell us about your presence in the mid and higher capacity batching plant (30 cu.m. and above)? Don't you think market is steadily shifting towards higher capacity?
Universal presence is from 15 Cu.M/Hr. to 60 Cu.M/Hr. Batching Plant and presently in downturn the customer preference is going for smaller batching plant of 30 Cu.M/Hr. and below. Once the infrastructure volume picks up the market is going to shift towards higher capacity batching plant like 60 Cu.M/Hr. and 90 Cu.M/Hr. Universal is ready with design to produce the same.

Reversible Mixer DX Batching Plant
Reversible Mixer DX Batching-Plant 18 to 25 Cu.M. Per Hr

How are you engineering sustainable and fuel efficient products which are not only highly productive but also ensure minimal downtime?
Universal in its R&D considers fuel efficiency and consumption of power as important factor. Our Batching Plants consume almost 15% less power than others and our R&D team is focusing on how to cut down further on that. Use of modern control system such as SCADA has further given a control on downtime of the machine. Universal will be also offering predetermination of failure points in its machine which will be reported by GSM.

What marketing strategies you are reorienting feeling the pulse of the current market condition that despite marginal recovery, there would be stiff competition?
Self Loading Concrete Mixer
Self Loading Concrete Mixer
Marketing strategies such as going deeper into the market in Tier 2 & Tier 3 cities and more penetration in North eastern states and states which are on fast track development will be a primary focus. Universal is also building up strong support team and system like service centre, spare parts availability at regional level etc.

Productivity of an equipment & ROI depends on how it is being used, its operator's skill, and also on the periodic and preventive maintenance. With this 'Chalta hai' attitude in India how one would ensure that the equipment being operated and looked after well get a quick return on the capital invested in it?
Skilled and trained operator is essential for giving quick return on capital investment. This will ensure less downtime, more productivity, and also better resale value for the equipment. In fact, it also results in less power and human resource consumption, thus also reducing the cost of operation and increasing productivity making the owner competitive and efficient in market.

Apollo Inffratech: "Concrete Equipment Industry Awaits Huge Biz Avenues"

Mitul A Patel
Mr. Mitul A Patel
M.D, Apollo Inffratech
How do you see the business opportunities in wake of new government's commitment to fast track infrastructure construction and its plan to develop cement concrete roads?
The government has announced and set its top priority for revival of the ailing road sector projects, and already prepared a time table to take forward Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of building world-class highways across the country. There are lots of hope from the new government as its commitment to fast track infrastructure construction has pumped fresh energy in our industry leaders. I see tremendous new opportunities for companies who deal with building infrastucture and construction equipment.

What are the advanced technolo- gical trends evolving in the concrete batching and placing equipment segment, and is the customer ready to pay for the technology? What are the technical attributes of your latest advanced offerings?
Nowadays, quality concrete is necessary for strong and highrise buildings & other infrastructure development, for this your equipment should have the latest and advanced technology features. Use of planetary or twinshaft mixers with advanced control system which can keep track of the slump of the concrete while mixing are unique features we provide in our batching plants which can be useful for our customers to produce desired concrete quality. In urban areas, the customers are ready to pay for these advanced features present in our batching plants.

Apollo Infra Cocnrete Batching Plant

Could you please tell us about your presence in the mid and higher capacity batching plant (30 cu.m. and above)? Don't you think market is steadily shifting towards higher capacity?
Apollo Inffratech group's presence is in all segments as we have a full range of conrete batching plants from 15 to 120 cum/hr with various types of mixer options. Due to vast infrastructure growth, highrise building & roads development with time bound projects, market is steadily shifting towards higher capacity plants for which we are well equipped.

How are you engineering sustainable and fuel efficient products which are not only highly productive but also ensure minimal downtime?
We are one among the leading manufacturers in concrete equipment segment and have a long history of innovation and continuous research & development to improve our product technology and features with functions to ensure less downtime. Our focus is on the customer, listening to his or her issues and challenges, and finally meeting those challenges by providing products, services, and resources unmatched in quality and functionality.

What marketing strategies are you reorienting feeling the pulse of the current market condition in which despite marginal recovery there would be stiff competition?
Concrete Mixer
A successful marketing strategy is to continuously monitor customer needs, wants and preferences. Apollo Inffratech group integrates all elements of the marketing into a sound business plan that could help us to effectively fight competition. For a long time it has been preached by all including Mahatma Gandhi that the customer is the king. It implies that products/services are bought not merely because of their quality, packaging or brand name, but also because they satisfy a specific need of a customer. It also implies that organizations have to provide service to their customers and that too without any obligation.

Productivity of an equipment & ROI depends on how it is being used, its operator's skill, and also on the periodic and preventive maintenance. With this 'Chalta hai' attitude in India how one would ensure that the equipment being operated and looked after well get a quick return on the capital invested in it?
Yes, I agree that productivity of an equipment & ROI depends on how it is being used, its operator's skill, and also on the periodic and preventive maintenance. If we have to make world-class infrastructure then we will have to scrap this 'Chalta hai' attitude. It is very difficult to manage both the productivity & ROI with this attitude and it is not possible to get quick return on the capital invested. With the new government's action towards making India a world-class country to live in, gradually the attitude of our people will change and only that can bring more productivity for any company to grow and reach to the next level.

NBMCW December 2014

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