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Trending on the Tech-Wave

Trending on the Tech-Wave

‘Going Digital’ has evolved as one among the key growth mantras in India’s race for development. And this promising wave has even gulped the mining industry. Adding to this is the pulsating thirst of miners to seek unexplored regions which has levelled up the demand for technically superior machineries and real-time analytics.

While infrastructure remains as the key buzz point of growth, mining is one among the key economic sectors increasingly gaining a limelight focus among the economies worldwide. The sector though had to surf through its share of economic doldrums, is gradually and steadily regaining its lost growth pace. This steady movement is especially witnessed among the Asian countries, i.e. since 2013-14 due to increased infrastructure activities; wherein China and India has emerged as the strong growth players during this pace of re-evolution.

The benefiting scenario has heightened the pulse among the miners to dig in more opportunities and seeking unexplored regions – ultimately resulting in an increased demand for new and advanced machineries and technologies. The evolving opportunities have brought back the cheer among equipment manufacturers and technology providers, especially serving the Asian regions, to pump up their business activities.

Global Mining Scenario

The promising push on infrastructure activities and improving GDP growth has led the industry to pace on the stable graphs. As per a recent report let out by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the global GDP growth of about 4 per cent per year over the next years and increased infrastructure focus in emerging economies is expected underpin a continued demand for mining products. However, while the demand tends to grow in a relatively stable fashion on the back of the economic growth, a sheer contrast is also seen in the supply index – a piling bulk-supply. But, the steady focus on infrastructure activities has resulted in Asian economies like China and India to mark a positive and promising growth figure – with an increased demand for commodities like iron ore, copper and coal.

As per the market analysts India’s mining industry has been exhibiting strong growth fundamentals since 2013-14. A vital push for this development has been the revamps in the policy measures, so much that a new policy landscape is believed to have pushed the mining and mining equipment industry to witness a steady growth since 2014-15. A recent study by the prominent analysts’ firm, Research and Markets indicates that the pipelined projects for mining sector presently comprises an entailing investment of at least ` 1.22 trillion. These projects pertain to minerals such as coal, lignite, iron ore, copper, lead and zinc, sand as well as limestone.

Evolving Equipment Market

The growing positive push towards mining activities in India while has pumped up the encouragement levels among the equipment manufacturers, it has also led them to evolve and adapt to new technology upgrades.

Commenting on India’s improving mining opportunities Ajay Aneja, Brand Leader, CASE India shares, “Mining industry is a very crucial industry and contributes as a major backbone to the economy of our country hence imperative innovation are necessary for sustainable growth in mining operations. The mining sector in India has reached a high level of development but it still has a lot of unrealized potential. With a view to encourage initiative and make the mining more competitive, the Government of India has opened up the sector to private players which is a golden opportunity for CASE to showcase its specially designed Mining industry equipment namely: Motor grader 865B and Crawler dozer 2050M.”

Agreeing on similar lines, Sandeep Singh, MD, TATA Hitachi Construction Machinery Company Pvt Ltd says, “Almost all the metals and minerals have registered a growth in production during this fiscal and this has a direct correlation with our growth of mining machines wherein we also saw growth of the equipment sales. Tata Hitachi has been growing ahead of the industry pace. With orders from corporates/mining companies which are under execution during this fiscal, we have the largest range of excavators in India which are used in a wide variety of applications. Our mining excavators are sold in almost all mining mineral available.”

“A recent mining equipment markets report expects the global mining equipment market to reach $88 billion by 2023, with Asia Pacific expected to grow the largest. One of the highest revenue generators and most essential services sectors of the world, the coal and mining sector has always needed sharper technologies and more advanced equipment to solve the operational problems involved. The Government of India fully understands what it takes to improve infrastructural development and has been pushing for the improvement of existing and new mines by adopting latest mining technology and equipment,” comments V.G. Sakthikumar, Managing Director, Schwing Stetter Sales and Services.

On the other hand, while agreeing on the improved market opportunities Sharwan Agnihotri, Head – Export & Business Development, Hyundai Construction Equipment India Pvt Ltd points out a plunging concern on the demand-supply mismatch. He points out, “Excavator industry in general has been witnessing one of the best times ever in terms of demand of machines. But this demand is majorly driven by the road and irrigation sectors. Contribution of mining is around 5 per cent in terms of numbers and around 7 per cent in terms of revenue. Excavator industry has grown by around 45 per cent in 2016 over 2015 it further grew by around 22 per cent in 2017 over 2016. This year YTD growth in this industry has been more than 35 per cent. Hyundai also grew along with the industry and our growth has been better than the industry which helped us in improving our market share from around 16.4 per cent in 2016 to around 18 per cent in 2018. Though the situation at demand side has been quite favourable, the industry is facing enormous challenges on supply side. Since the major components of excavators are imported, the currency fluctuation disturbs the cost dynamics and thereby the predictability of the bottom line. This fluctuation and volatility of currency not only affect the direct sourcing but also the domestic sourcing as the domestic vendors too import many sub-components for making components of the machines.”

The Tech-Run

Technology has always been a ‘Game Changer’ in economic activities. A similar trend is also seen buzzing among the equipment manufacturers. With miners on quest to seek out the unexplored regions, equipment manufacturers have increasing become tech-conscious. While automated and computerized machineries are becoming increasingly popular among the miners, the challenging geographical terrains have today boosted the OEMs to upgrade the equipment on real-time basis. A new wave of real-time operations is now on the roll among the miners.

One such equipment major trending on the tech-path is Tata Hitachi Construction Machinery. Their GI series of excavators in India which are enabled with ‘ConSite’, a feature which enables users to see the equipment performance in real-time as well as access historic data to  help analyze  equipment parameters. In addition, they have also incorporated new technologies like the Autonomous Haulage Systems on dump trucks.“Technology has been at the fore front across the industries and the mining and equipment industry has followed the same trend. The customers have started looking for optimizing mining operations or improving mine efficiencies. This has led to a new trend where customers are looking for solutions like fleet management systems which coordinate between the shovels and dumpers - enhancing the utilization of both, vehicle health monitoring systems, etc. Moreover customers are also looking for upsizing of equipment to reduce cost of operations,” briefs Singh.

Aneja echoes, “Rapid adoption of automation technology has resulted in increased usage of smart mining solutions. (R&D) activities to improve machine operations and engine efficiency add to the recent trends in the mining equipment industry. Also, increasing trend of transitioning to digital mining is providing an impetus to industry growth. Mining sites are adopting automated vehicles, drones, and wearable technologies, most of which use Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to capture data in real time.” To make their products technologically efficient and stand out in the market, the company has introduced Eagle Eye Telematics System, a real time vehicle tracking and communication based on GPS technology which can help keep a track of the machines. For instance, if the fuel box is going down or the machine is working far away from its prescribed geographic area. It automatically sends a message regarding the same to the concerned person.

Another major strolling along the similar lines of tech-transformation is Hyundai Construction Equipment India Pvt Ltd. Briefing upon the trending technologies implemented in their machineries Agnihotri says, “Aligning the expectations of the customers in mining sector in terms of enhanced safety & low operating costs, Hyundai Construction Equipment India launched 9 series Global model of R480 LC-9S for Indian market last year. The machine is fitted with safety devices like camera on counter weight for visibility of blind spots, wider display screen , safe cabin for the operators and many more inbuilt safety features of the machine. The machine is also equipped with the unique remote management system “Hi-Mate” for remotely accessing critical operating parameters of the machine.”

It could hence rightly said that technology has been one among the key trend buzzers empowering not just the miners but also the mining industry as a whole to scale up India’s economy on a global level. Sakthikumar opines, “This is the age of automation, which when imparted in mining systems, not only saves up manpower that is involved in high-risk environments, but also makes it all efficient, quicker and cheaper for the bulk-hauling operators. Going forward, with better technological intervention by employing evolved and powerful machines in the mining industry, the industry can not only make economies prosper, but also handle the environment in a better way.”

However, despite the evolving scope of opportunities, like any crucial economic activities even the mining and mining equipment industry is not devoid of its market uncertainties and challenges. But, thanks to the technological advancements the manufacturers have today embraced these challenges as a scope of new opportunities to scale up their level of operations. In addition, the promising push by the global decision makers and governing authorities has further encouraged the industry as a whole to aim towards soon regaining its lost shine.

@EPC World Media

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