Crawler Cranes - Heavier Loads Deliver High Business Confidence

Crawler Cranes Heavier Loads Deliver High Business Confidence
As project becomes versatile and sizes go up, crawler crane manufacturers continue to share heightened optimism on future demand of medium and high capacity of crawler cranes from the Indian construction sector. Partha Pratim Basistha takes an overview.

The demand of crawler cranes is well likely to remain firm for long-term in India. The requirement of high capacity cranes is totally based on existing firm demand fundamentals. Dually, in the long-term it would be led by fast emerging versatile lifting requirements from the core construction and industrial construction sector. Based on the growing demand potential, domestic manufacturers are carrying out sizeable improvements in the product line apart from introducing new products. While foreign crane manufacturers are contemplating to introduce new high capacity products in India in the long run which are being launched in global markets at present.

Crawler Cranes Heavier Loads Deliver High Business Confidence
“Crawler cranes are versatile lifting equipment. The equipment is finding increased applications based on assorted lifting requirements from the Indian construction sector at present. I believe the demand would continue to gain ground led by the increasing lifting requirements. Further, it will continue to grow as contractors and project managers increasingly understand the high utilisation crawler cranes can deliver to the projects as support equipment. This is in contrast to the conventional fallacy of a mere lifting equipment,” says Mr. Raman Joshi, Managing Director, Manitowoc Cranes India. He adds, “Future requirements of crawler cranes in India will be driven by the demand placed by upcoming greenfield power projects."

Driven By Power Sector

Manitowoc will look to extensively focus on the hydraulic 400 t- 600 t demand market. “Thermal power projects would place extensive demand in this segment. However, the 80t-300t cranes will continue to hold ground placed by demand from thermal power projects as well. Demand will be modest from wind power projects as compared to China and US.” Mr. Joshi foresees demand to be more from contractors rather than equipment rental companies.

He says, “The demand potential of new cranes exists as 60-65% of the market is filled with used cranes. Used crawler cranes segments constitute the 50t-100t class range.”

According to Mr. Joshi, “With the growth in the size of projects, primarily the ultra mega power projects, there is a definite indication of demand graduating to higher capacity crawler cranes from the Indian construction sector.” Manitowoc is optimistic about demand being generated for cranes beyond the range of 600t. Manitowoc recently launched Manitowoc 31000, a 2300t hydraulic crawler crane. The main boom length of the Manitowoc Model 31000 is 105 m and the crane features an innovative self-supporting counterweight called the Variable Position Counterweight system. This minimizes the crane’s footprint and ground preparation. For the company, Manitowoc 31000 is well likely to have future demand in India.

The US based crane manufacturing major sees modest demand from the duty cycle crawler crane market. Manitowoc offers its 1015 crawler crane for duty cycle operations.

Manitowoc will continue to focus on its core business of manufacturing and supplying lifting equipment. It does not have any plans to enter into the rental business. According to Mr. Joshi, “For better customer support, we will continue to provide technical and service support through our dealer, TIL, for the benefit of the end users.” TIL is Manitowoc’s exclusive dealer for marketing its crawler cranes in India.

Crawler Cranes Heavier Loads Deliver High Business Confidence
Tractors India Limited (TIL) distributes 77tons-2000tons Manitowoc crawler cranes. According to Mr. S. K. Bhatnagar, Senior Vice President TIL, “Being the sole distributor of Manitowoc crawler cranes in India, appropriate customer support is of outmost priority for us. Customer support is gaining further prominence for us to maintain enhanced equipment uptime at job sites, precisely at steel plant projects and power projects.” He informs, “To arrest equipment uptime for these valued machines, we are posting our service engineers at job sites at strategic locations where the cranes are working. This is one of our key customer support strategy that we would continue to pursue by hiring more people supplemented by enhanced parts support as the population of the crawler cranes grows.” TIL has a total strength of 60 service engineers. Among this 12 service engineers are for providing customer support for crawler cranes. TIL has their application engineers to prescribe the desired model of crawler crane for the required job applications.

Customer support is provided by TIL through operators training at the first level by its service engineers. This is done during commissioning of the equipment. While the second level support, arising out of equipment downtime is provided by its service engineers possessing enhanced technical specialization. Mr. Bhatnagar says, “the service engineers are properly trained by us and also through training by our parents company in USA. This is in tune with Manitowoc’s global strategy to maintain increased focus on customer support.” Customer support model for TIL also provides annual maintenance contracts.

Mr. Bhatnagar mentions, “A much valued element of our customer support is to transport the equipment to the job sites for the customers by providing entire logistical support, beginning from unloading the machinery at the port. This is followed by erection, commissioning and dismantling the equipment. I perceive, this is one of the competitive customer support elements possessed by TIL.” According to Mr. Bhatnagar, “to make the price of the crawler cranes competitive, TIL is exploring the possibility with Manitowoc to manufacture crawler cranes with capacity of 70t–100t.” The cranes could either be manufactured at its existing facility at Kamarhatty near Kolkata or at its upcoming plant Kharagpur near Kolkata.

Crawler Cranes Heavier Loads Deliver High Business Confidence
Demand potential for high capacity crawler cranes from the Indian construction sector is foreseen by Zoomlion. According to the company, it is quite optimistic about the demand prospects of its recently manufactured QUY 1000, 1000 t hydraulic crawler lattice boom crane in India.

The Chinese construction equipment major sees the demand of QUY 1000 from nuclear power projects. According to the company, “The product is customized for nuclear power projects construction, petrochemical and steel plants construction and also for array of industrial projects.” As per Zoomlion, QUY 1000, which comes under its super tonnage class of crawler cranes has eight invention patents. The equipment has been recently sold to a nuclear power project contractor in China.

The 22 m span of QUY 1000 can lift 650 T at most with a height of up to 63 m. The superlift tower type auxiliary jib of the 1000 t crane consists of 54 m main jib and 50 m tower jib with a span of 50 m and a hoisting capacity of 180 T. As per Zoomlion, the 1000 t crane has been manufactured on a new design concept so as to improve the reliability, safety control and operating performance.

To increase its portfolio in the super tonnage class of hydraulic crawler crane Zoomlion has recently completed the design work of 1600 T crawler crane. It is also in the process of developing a 3200T crawler crane.

Crawler Cranes Heavier Loads Deliver High Business Confidence
Demand for higher tonnage of crawler cranes are also forecasted by Liebherr. “We would continue to maintain our focus on the 100 ton market segment. Precisely thrust will be on the 350t and 600t market. Demand will be driven both by thermal and nuclear power projects. We also see demand coming from refinery sectors,” says, Mr. A. K. Somani, Representative Director, Liebherr India Private Limited. According to Mr. Somani, Liebherr has received queries on 1000 ton hydraulic crawler crane from potential nuclear power project developers. Liebherr has supplied one 1,350 ton crawler crane two years back to Nuclear Power Corporation for its Bhavani Power project.

The market for 350t-600t is estimated to be seven to eight cranes in volumes during 2010–11. For 1000 tons cranes the volume is estimated to be two cranes. As per Mr. Somani, “Though the demand is modest for 1000 and above crawler cranes. However, power and industrial projects could be driver of the high capacity cranes.” Liebherr plans to launch 3000t hydraulic crane during 2011. Mr. Somani says, “Based on the growing project sizes, we are optimist on the prospect of the 3000 tonnes in India.” The company is optimist on demand of 2500t crawler cranes projects in India led by requirement from the power sector projects.

According to Mr. Somani, “The technical refinement of the Liebherr crawler cranes makes them deliver optimal performance to the customers.” He informs, “Liebherr crawler lattice boom cranes have an edge over other cranes. This is precisely owing to its ability to undertake refined loading and placement. The cranes are equipped with cameras to monitor the load.”

Liebherr’s products claim to have well refined operational features. This ensures the optimum equipment utilization of the machine with minimum operation costs. It has one of the most advanced safety system known as ‘Liebherr Computer Control System’ LICON. The system shows the lifting of the load. It stops all danger operations in case of overload still allowing safe operation. This safety system at the same time is easy to operate. The operator can check critical parameters of crane from operation cabin itself. With latest systems, crane can be also operated by a remote control device. The crawler cranes have precise hydraulic pressures.

As per Mr. Somani, “The most advantageous operational part of Liebherr cranes is that they are equipped with troubleshooting devices cutting down on machine downtime in case of any problem. Liebherr service office at Kolkata has crane operational program for each crane working in the field in the computer at its office. This enables Liebherr easily correct fault giving remedies over phone when the operator finds it difficult to get it rectified by him.”

Liebherr organizes training to train both operational and maintenance staff of customer at their plant in Europe before dispatch and also at site during commissioning. Liebherr has a team of service engineers for its cranes.

The service engineers of Indian office provide onsite training on operation and maintenance, supervision during commissioning, post commissioning service support, identifying parts requirement, arranging supply of parts etc.

Crawler Cranes Heavier Loads Deliver High Business Confidence
Demand potential of middle class hydraulic crane segment is also endorsed by ABG Cranes Private Limited. According to Mr. R. B. Pandey, General Manager, Marketing, ABG Cranes, “We have recently completed the design of our 160 tons hydraulic crawler lattice boom cranes. The prototype of the crane is at testing stages to make it complete error free. Following successful testing, we plan to introduce the crane during the year 2010 itself.”

Bearing model number ABG1160, the 160 t crane would be having standard equipment features. This would consist of luffing jib, self–erection, self–load indicator, motion cut equipment etc. As per Mr. Pandey, “ABG 1160 would be finding its application in core construction power projects and as well in industrial applications. We also see the crane finding its application in petrochemical and refinery projects.” ABG is also in the process of designing its ABG 1260t, 260 t hydraulic crane.

Crawler Cranes Heavier Loads Deliver High Business Confidence
ABG has recently launched its ABG1080, 80 t hydraulic crawler crane. Indigenously manufactured, the crane will lift a maximum load of 80 tons at 4 metres working radius, supported by a basic working boom length of 13m, at full boom length of 58 m it can lift 15.4t at 12 m working radius. ABG 1080 comes from a full boom length of 13-58m and jib length from 9-18 metres. The crane is powered by Caterpillar Diesel engine 3306b, which runs at 242 kw at 2,000 rpm. Hydraulics are from Lined and Rexroth and winches are from TMA Italy.

Crawler Cranes Heavier Loads Deliver High Business Confidence
Escorts Construction Equipment Limited (ECEL) equally sees value in demand for high capacity crawler cranes from greenfield power projects. The construction equipment conglomerate has marketed Japanese manufactured IHI, 70 t crawler cranes to Mundra ultra mega power project and also a 280t model to Andhra Pradesh Power generation company. It has also sold a machine for construction of Krishnapatnam port construction. “We have promoted around 14 units of Escorts-IHI crawler cranes. Around eight units were given to power projects," says Mr. Sheetal Malik, General Manager Sales, ECEL. Escorts-IHI cranes are available in 8 models consisting of 50t-300t. The models range comprises 50t-70t-90t-120t-150t-200t-280t-300t.

"The cranes are competitive in its class owing to its minimum ground bearing pressure. The technology of the cranes are proven owing to the prolonged experience of the parent company in manufacturing cranes over a period of 45 years,” claims Mr. Malik.

Focus on Duty Cycles

At par with sharing optimism on heavy capacity hydraulic crawler lattice boom cranes, equipment manufacturers are positive on the demand potential of duty cycle crawler cranes. Demand potential is being looked in view of large upcoming metro railway projects, airport projects requiring foundation works. The demand of the duty cycle cranes are also looked in view of increasing dragline operations at mining sites, dredging operations to increase canal and river drafts etc.

Mechanical duty cycle crawler cranes are used for material handling with grab and dragline, demolition, dynamic soil compaction, slurry wall grab, casing oscillator apart from undertaking erection jobs. As per the contractors, mechanical duty cycle crawler cranes are claimed to be more suitable for these applications. Hydraulic crawler cranes are deployed for erection jobs in core construction and industrial projects. Mechanical Duty cycle crawler cranes have enhanced line pull and are also able to free fall attachment used in ground demolition etc.

Crawler Cranes Heavier Loads Deliver High Business Confidence
According to company sources of Telco Construction Equipment Co. Limited (Telcon), “Demand for duty cycle cranes has been growing swiftly in India as contractors understand the versatility of these cranes led by emerging construction applications requirement.”

Telcon manufactured TATA Friction Cranes are extensively finding applications in projects like construction of Metro Railway in addition to its stock projects like Infrastructure and project construction. These cranes are being used to perform sheet piling, removal of soil through grabs, laying of beams, concrete pouring, through buckets etc.

According to Telcon, the current version of TATA Friction Cranes (TFC) feature many improvements yet retain the basic design that made these the standard of the industry with a reputation of dependability and versatility. These cranes are supplied with safe load indicator as a standard feature. Load indicator is provided in full view of the operator giving information about the working conditions of the crane and supplements with visible and audible alarm when the safe operating limit is exceeded. The rugged boom constructions of the crane enable severe duty cycle application.

Friction cranes manufactured by Telcon includes, TFC-75, TFC-280-45. These cranes have a lifting capacity of 25t, and 75T respectively.

Telcon is also the exclusive Indian distributor of Hitachi-Sumitomo Hydraulic crawler Cranes. The Hitachi-Sumitomo Crawler cranes are available in wide and exciting range of 40t-550T.

The Japanese crane manufacturer has launched a 90t-capacity heavy-duty lattice-boom crawler crane, its largest heavy-duty crane to date, to global markets two years ago. The SCX900HD-2 crawler crane lifts 90t at 5m radius.

The crane is a beefed-up version of the SCX900-2, and consequently offers a maximum line pull of 25t on front and rear winches with 28mm rope, compared with 20t for the SCX900-2. Its engine, the 272kW Mitsubishi 6M70-TL engine (at 2,000 rpm) is larger than the 212kW (at 2,000 rpm) Isuzu 6HK1X engine on the SCX900-2.

The winches also use a multiple wet-disc brake and forced-oil cooling system for cool operation of challenging jobs like hammer grab.

Previously, the company’s next-largest heavy-duty crane was the 80t capacity SCX800HD-2, which has a maximum line pull of 20t.

The SCX900HD-2 has a basic boom length of 12m, and maximum boom of 60m.

Crawler Cranes Heavier Loads Deliver High Business Confidence

Positive demand potential from Indian duty cycle crawler crane market is also envisaged by German crane manufacturer, Sennebogen. The company recently launched its Sennebogen 690 HD duty cycle crawler crane at bauma Germany 2010. With a lifting capacity of 90t, the machine can find its application in the fields of civil engineering, quarrying, demolition or material handling. The mechanical hydraulic diaphragm wall grab, pipework machine, vibrator, drag bucket, grab and load hook make the 690HD suitable for tough conditions. The two rope grab operations, high line speed and telescopic under carriage makes the machine deliver high performance in continuous operation.

Crawler Cranes Heavier Loads Deliver High Business Confidence
As per Mr. S.Anantharaman, Business Coordinator-India, Sennebogen, “With nine models and lifting capacities from 20t-200t, Sennebogen offers the holistic duty cycle solutions for practically every task.” He adds, “With our comprehensive offering, we want to provide our technologically refined equipment to the Indian duty cycle crawler crane market.” Sennebogen’s hydraulic crawler cranes are available between a capacity range of 30t-300t. During bauma 2010, it launched its 7700 Star Lifter hydraulic crawler crane. The crane has a lifting capacity of 300t with 74 m main boom and 74 fly boom. The machine can find its application in construction of heavy pre cast concrete sections, preliminary assembly in the offshore field, power plant construction etc.

With new products being launched, the company would like to offer better customer service support for the Indian market. Sennebogen Asia Pacific office has been recently opened in Singapore to support sales and service related demand in India and Asia Pacific region. The office is headed by Mr. Roberto Bencina, MD & CEO. The new set up will have dedicated sales and service group to support the dealers and customers. It will have spare parts stock and equipment bank to support urgent delivery needs. The Asia-Pacific sales group is headed by Mr. Marco Burgmer also based in Singapore.

Manufacturers are much positive on requirement led by sound fundamentals. However, the challenge would be to provide equipment at competitive prices. This is when demand of steel has started pushing prices up once again for the cranes. As per manufacturers, led by demand growth and hardening steel prices, cost of the equipment has started firming up from 2009 third quarter. It would be vital for manufacturers to maintain comfortable delivery schedules as well.

NBMCW September 2010

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