Loaders and Pick-n-Carry Cranes on a Makeover Drive

Escorts Pick-N-Carry Crane

The Indian market of loaders and pick-n-carry cranes is passing through an interesting phase. Manufacturers are aggressively looking to add newer dimension to the product category, through carrying out engineering advancements along with introduction of newest product lines in the segment. This is both for general infrastructure applications, however, notably for precast engineering construction both in commercial and residential construction. P.P.Basistha took stock of the emerging advancements.

Growing requirements of precast building construction is driving to a good extent the newer engineering advancements of pick-n-carry cranes and introduction of new variants of telescopic loaders. Traditionally, loaders and pick-n-carry cranes have been used mainly for moving and lifting lighter loads, comprising construction materials and utilities, required at projects, within the job site limits. However, based on the newer application requirements of pre engineered buildings, featuring modular construction and in situ assembly of building sections, loaders and pick-n-carry cranes is presently passing through an extensive makeover to suit the newer application requirements. Value in the products, in its new origin features multiple attachments to lift varied parts and sections of the pre-engineered buildings. The newer equipment also incorporate newer safety features both to suit the onsite ground requirements and lifting requirements in pre-engineered building construction. Longer working heights through extended booms, for pre-engineered highrise construction is one of the other added value based features.

Rajinder Raina
"We studied the market and newer applications extensively. To address fast emerging, particular material handling requirement involving pre-cast construction, we have launched Escorts F-20, a 20 Tons, mobile cranes in the TRX family. The crane can lift 20 tons with much better reach, making them suitable for infrastructure and industrial construction projects. F-20 boasts of many firsts that will make it the right fit for highrise & precast construction projects. Further, the cranes score high on fuel efficiency which will be a huge plus," says Mr. Rajinder Raina, GM-Marketing, Escorts Construction Equipment (ECE). F20 will be the next in the series of the highly successful F-15, the 15 tons mobile crane.

Pre cast is increasingly being preferred over in situ casting at various project sites. This has thrown up new demand for handling of precast components. TRX is best suited for such applications.

Mr. Raina continues, "Another launch, in this series of cranes, scheduled for this month is Escorts F17. It's a 17 Ton crane with a maximum lifting height of 21m. Besides other applications, it will be very useful for building construction sites. The back-to-back launch of F 20 & F 17 will give you an idea about the traction in the market for this family of cranes with highrise building construction sites is one of the target application areas.

Mr. Raina avers, "Continuing with our quest to incorporate advancement, we have made the new, F-20 more compact. It is the first crane in its category with front wheel drive which gives it a distinct advantage while travelling with load under all conditions. With a rated Capacity of 20T @1.5m it is the only Pick-n-carry crane that can lift 15T using the snatch block & winch. The travel speed for mobility & the ideal creep speed for load handling are the USPs of the crane."

The TRX cranes claim to deliver higher levels of safety as they have a special platform as compared to tractor platform in pick-n-carry cranes. The cranes are provided with outriggers for added stability. One of the prominent features of the crane to prevent toppling is ensured through design improvements by maintaining the center of gravity close to the ground with the right ground clearance. Load moment indicators are the added safety features of the cranes.

ECE will ensure support to the cranes, primarily by facilitating prompt parts availability through its sixty dealers with 180 outlets. Mr. Raina adds, "The emphasis would be to increase efficiency of the existing dealers by making them more robust."

Sorab Agarwal
To take on the growing safety requirements of contractors, Actions Construction Equipment (ACE) has introduced its 'New Generation Cranes'. According to Mr. Sorab Agarwal, ED, ACE, "Our 'New Generation Cranes' have been designed to cater to the practical working conditions and needs of construction sites. Safety aspect has been taken into serious consideration, to prevent the cranes from toppling while working on undulated work sites. This has been done through improvement in kinematics involving the geometry of lifting. We have made the cranes stable while moving on undulated ground conditions with loads. The new crane comes with improved visibility owing to its spacious cabin and operator comfort has been our priority."

He continues, "Safe load indicators are available on our all 'New Generation Cranes'. One of the major attributes of the cranes is that they have been 'overdesigned' as far as their lifting capacities are concerned, to ensure safe and stable operations even in steered / articulated condition. 2-3 highly productive attachments have also been introduced which make these cranes versatile, both for core, construction and general industrial usage."

ACE's 'New Generation' cranes comprise of SX Series for construction and industrial application. The cranes are available with 12-14-16 tons lifting capacities. The other offering in this segment includes, FX Series, also for infrastructure projects and industrial usage and are available in 15-20-23 tons capacity. ACE will launch higher capacity, 25 tons by April this year.

ACE Pick-N-Carry Crane

The third offering in the segment is F series wherein the company currently offers crane in 16 tons capacity.

Mr. Agarwal says, "To ensure the cranes deliver higher mobility, we fit them with commercial drivelines from Tata and Ashok Leyland. This makes them move at higher speeds of 40 kmph plus on roads, enabling them to operate between clusters of job sites."

ACE has also improvised its conventional, mainstay pick-n-carry cranes. ACE manufactures its 'Hydra' series of pick-n-carry cranes from 9 to 20 tons. Explaining the rationale behind the advancements being carried out in the Hydra series cranes when demand for new generation cranes is improving owing to their improved safety features, Mr. Agarwal says, "The conventional pick-n-carry cranes still continue to command 70% of the demand in comparison to the new generation mobile cranes."

The improvised cranes come with better ground clearance, improved fuel efficiency and options of safe load indicators. Both the existing and new generation cranes are supported by all India network of dealers and area offices operating out of 100 Locations and supported by 15 Area / regional offices and a dedicated product support division based at Faridabad.

Mr. Agarwal says, "As the population of our new and conventional pick-n-carry increase, we will add more dealers and service locations, so as to be closer to customers." The company has a full-fledged dedicated training center at Faridabad in Haryana for providing operator and preventive maintenance training."

Usage Orientation

Prefabricated engineering construction in building requires lifting and moving with loads of varied capacities within the site limits. Further, there are many other jobs the cranes are required to do. For example, the cranes may require to move with the loads while working within the fabrication yards. The usage also involves taking the loads or the building sections from the yards to the construction sites. Further, there are also requirements to lift the loads at heights within a compact area. This is when the building construction, notably highrise is taking place within the city. All the concerned jobs require lighter yard cranes with higher levels of mobility. The booms are required to be maneuverable as well in many cases supported by the attachments.

JCB Loadall

With all the pre engineered building construction jobs becoming extremely time bound, at par with other infrastructure jobs, optimum usage of the pick-n-carry cranes is required. Most importantly, the cranes are also needed to work safely and are required to be designed featuring compactness, to be suitable while working at compressed construction locations, notably if the work is of building construction projects taking place in clusters.

Jasmeet Singh
JCB India, has recently launched the 'Load all' telescopic handler. Mr. Jasmeet Singh, Head - Corporate Communications, JCB India says, "The product optimally scores on the safety requirements of new pre-engineered building projects taking place at uneven sites. This is because the equipment is supported with stabilizers, ROPS cabin and rear axle oscillation, which enables the machine to work even at rough terrain sites. Spacious cabin provide better visibility to the operator. Four wheel drives provides better traction to the machine, while working at slushy terrain, internal sight gauge and audio visual alarms enable the machine work safely while lifting the loads."

'Load all' telescopic handler is being manufactured at JCB India's plant at Ballabgarh in Haryana. Currently, the company is manufacturing two models of the telescopic handlers, 530-70, with 3 tons lifting capacities and 7 meters working height and 530-110, 3 tons with 11 meters working height in India. The company is also offering higher capacity, 540-170, 4 tons, 17 meters working height from its U.K facility.

Mr. Singh elaborates, "We have added adequate value to the new machines through various new attachments, most of these are indigenized. Prominent among the attachments are general bucket, hooks, man platform, and industrial grappler. The multiple attachments make the machines suitable for usage for varied nature of general infrastructure and industrial projects, wide scope of application with the attachments, make them preferable for rental and corporate buyers in onstruction and in agricultural logistics."

Apart from adding value through attachments, Mr. Singh explains, "We have engineered the equipment to deliver total lifecycle costs by making them cost competitive. Cost competitiveness to own and operate the telehandlers is based on the commonality factor with our JCB backhoe loaders. This in terms of the similar drivelines as in the backhoe loaders, 76 hp, fuel efficient; 'Ecomaxx' engines and various other common components. Commonality of parts enables our dealers to service the new machines with ease." JCB has introduced separate industrial vertical to service the new 'Load all' telehandlers and skid steer loaders with its existing sixty dealers.

Lorry Loaders Advancements

Making its foray into loader cranes in India, Japanese mobile crane manufacturing major, Tadano India displayed its TM-ZT505H at Excon 2015. The crane comes with maximum lifting capacity of 5.05 ton at 2.25m radius, and maximum lifting height of approx. 15.2m.

Other than TM-ZT500 series, Tadano offers TM-ZE260 series, TM-ZE290 series, TM-ZE300 series, TM-ZE360 series, TM-ZT400 series, TM-ZT630 series, TM-ZT650 series, TM-ZT820 series, TM-1052, TM-1882, and TM-20110. Tadano's products in the above mentioned segment come under the category of "Loader Crane", and "Cargo Crane" (up to 8.2 ton capacity) and "Boom Truck" (17.0 ton capacity and above).

TM-ZT series are manufactured by Tadano (Thailand) Co. Ltd. Other products are manufactured by Tadano LTD. Japan.

Chihiro Nishida
According to Mr. Chihiro Nishida, Managing Director, Tadano India, "In general, as compared to knuckle boom crane or pick-n-carry cranes, our loader crane has advantage for sophisticated work with the function of 360 degree swing, straight boom with winch. The loader cranes can take underground work with ease, which otherwise is difficult for knuckle boom crane or pick-n-carry cranes. Technical support to the cranes is being provided by our engineers. Our engineers would assist the customers through identifying suitable chassis as available in India for the cranes followed by mounting the unit on the chassis and its appropriate integration for optimum performance."

Mr. Nishida says, "Since the product is new to India, we will promote this by regularly studying the emerging job applications, through having an interaction with the industry along with finding right dealers, eligible to promote the cranes."

Tadano Truck Crane

Karthi Swaminathan
Truck mounted knuckle boom crane manufacturer, Palfinger India, is looking to promote its cranes by carrying out product customization. According to Mr. Karthi Swaminathan, DGM, Institutional Business, Palfinger Cranes India, "We are carrying out customization after thoroughly understanding the end users requirements. The same is backed with detailed stability drawing in sync with the chassis of the customer's choice and loading requirements of the user. The inputs which chiefly incorporate safety elements, take into consideration aspects like loading and stability factor, prior mounting choice of the customers on the truck chassis."

The strategy to engineer the cranes along with the truck chassis is being worked by Palfinger at par with its global standards for mounting the cranes on the trucks. Mr. Swamnathan says, "We will promote the strategy in a bigger way to make our cranes more popular in India."

He adds further, "Our wholesome strategy is to offer a safer product with enhanced stability and mobility as compared to conventional pick-n-carry cranes. These cranes are much suitable to work at undulated job sites and altogether at construction job sites irrespective of distances. Featuring, the knuckle boom, they are suitable to work in areas which are not accessible by conventional stiff boom telescopic truck mounted cranes."

Truck mounted knuckle boom crane
He explains, "Application engineering, incorporated in the cranes is based exactly on understanding the application of the user. Based on the same, we take data from truck manufacturer / ARAI and calculate the stability of the vehicle, and design the crane accordingly with our own licensed design software. Based on the calculation of stability, we look for mounting the cranes either at rear or front of the truck chassis. Stability factor is calculated on the basis of the jobs the cranes will undertake through our range of attachments involving, simple hook application the clamp shell buckets, brick grab handlers and various grapples and buckets pole manipulator for erection of poles." Palfinger has supplied its cranes to projects for various infrastructure projects like metro rail, oil & gas platform, high rises, factories through contractors L&T, Afcons, ITD.

The evolution of the newer range of light mobile cranes and loaders based on newer application requirements is a new development in the Indian light mobile cranes market. Though the market is in its nascent stages, there is potential for growth. This will require to be driven by closely studying the emerging applications backed by appropriate product support.

NBM&CW April 2016

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