It is certain. If India has to sail through the ongoing Pandemic and register a positive economic growth, commissioning and executing of infrastructure projects has to be the top priority. Taking a step in this direction the government is tendering plenty of roads and highway projects which have given a impetus to the construction equipment industry
There a very few industries that very few industries that survived the havoc caused by Covid-19. Construction equipment industry is one such industry that survived the onslaught of Covid-19. Even during the Pandemic, in fact during the lockdown too, roads and highways construction went on as usual with reduced labourers. Same can be said about the Railways., building of bridges, construction of railway lines, upgradation of railway utilities went on as usual. If we take the roads and highway sector, the achievement is mind boggling. Construction of roads and highways went on unabated. In a recently released press not, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has stated that its daily highway construction achieved a new high by laying down 37-kilometres of national highways on daily basis in 2020-21. MoRTH constructed 13,394 km of National Highways in the financial year 2020-21. This is history high. A record breaking achievement!
This record breaking achievement by the roads and highways sector has given an increased impetus to the construction equipment sector. Escorts Construction Equipment Segment in March 2021 sold 680 machines, the company's highest ever monthly sales and registering a growth of 252.3% against 193 machines sold in March 2020. For Q4 FY21, the company sold 1604 machines compared to 986 machines in Q4 FY20, recording a growth of 62.7%. In a filing to stock exchange, the company said, “With continued Government thrust on infrastructure spending with an aim to achieve accelerated growth in GDP and massive Capex plan under NIP (National Infrastructure Pipeline), timely disbursal of project payments, major policy amendments for highway concessionaires and asset monetisation to ensure liquidity, we expect construction equipment demand will continue to be strong. However, some supply chain issues and rising inflation in commodity prices, continue to be worrying factors”.
To assess the on-ground sentiments amongst the CE dealership fraternity ICRA conducted a survey of 13 Construction Equipment dealers. These dealers are spread across Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. According to the survey, regular fund flow from the central government has supported demand from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), irrigation projects and rural infrastructure. Further, a steady pick up in activity under the mining segment has also supported volumes from Q2 FY2021 onwards. "The industry witnessed a significant volume contraction during Q1 FY2021 because of the lockdown impact on demand. Surprisingly, during a period of considerable fiscal strain on government and private sector finances, demand started picking up in late June/July and has continued to hold strong till November," said Pavethra Ponniah, Vice President and Sector Head, ICRA.
New Construction Equipment Entrant
Sensing the opportunities the roads and highways sector has to offers. Leading construction equipment manufacturers were quick on their feet. What followed was, new construction equipment launches from leading players. JCB India flagged off its new range of CEV Stage IV Backhoe Loaders. The range includes the new 3DX Plus, the 3DX Xtra, the 3DX Super & the 4DX to meet a wide range of applications for customers. The new Backhoe Loader range is powered by the well-established and reputed 55kW JCB ecoMax diesel engine. This CEV Stage IV engine is environment friendly and comes with well-proven CRDI technology, a Waste-Gate Turbocharger & a Two-Stage cooling EGR system. A unique feature of this engine is that it has a state-of-the-art combustion system that eliminates the need for any After-treatment, DOC (Diesel Oxidation Catalyst) or a DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter). This engine also has no deration at higher altitudes thus greatly benefiting customers and users in mountainous terrain. The 3DX Plus CEV Stage IV machine is 7% more fuel-efficient in Eco mode and has 25% higher productivity in Plus mode as compared to the outgoing model. It has features such as Auto Idle and Auto stop to help reduce fuel wastage and improve efficiency. Additionally, a high torque of 400 Nm and three Excavation Modes for different site conditions - Eco, Standard and Plus enhance the machine’s adaptability to meet output needs.
Volvo Group has introduced its range of SDLG excavators, starting with the 13 t E6135Fi crawler model. This new machine is loaded with technology, including a powerful DDE Deutz engine and advanced hydraulic system, and has been designed with operator comfort in mind. Indian operators often spend seven to eight hours in the cab continuously, so it is essential they feel comfortable and as fresh at the end of their shift as at the beginning. Air conditioning is installed in the E6135Fi as standard and the cab is extra spacious with all joysticks and controls laid out ergonomically. The superior visibility of the surrounding jobsite offered by the machine’s cab also helps to make operation safer and more productive. The E6135Fi excavator’s robust design means that it only requires maintenance every 250 to 500 hours, when all service points can be easily and safely accessible from ground level. The colored LCD screen in the cab updates operators on the health and movements of the machine for preventative maintenance, promoting high uptime and low total cost of ownership. The new SDLG E6135Fi excavator is also well suited to urban construction projects – such as the development of smart cities – and to smaller quarries, especially those supplying the road construction sector.
CASE Construction Equipment has launched ‘Made in India’ CX220C Crawler Excavator. This excavator is equipped with a powerful and reliable FPT Industrial engine to ensure high productivity with low fuel consumption, It is ideally suited for stone quarries, road works, general construction and earthworks. This Excavator has an operating weight of 22 tons and is equipped with a new 6-cylinder fuel-efficient electronically controlled engine, developed by the sister brand FPT Industrial. It delivers gross power of 117 KW (157 hp) and peak torque of 622 Nm at 1800rpm. Additionally, the excavator features five energy saving controls and ECO gauge function which enables continuous fuel consumption monitoring to help reduce fuel costs. The CX220C model is powered by fuel efficient FPT (Fiat PowerTrain) engine, designed to boost machine performances and optimize fuel economy. The 6 cylinders FPT engine delivers outstanding power and torque, that reduces the transient time making the hydraulic system immediately reactive to any load. Fuel consumption can be constantly monitored by the operator throughout the new ECO gauge function, that displays in real time the energy saving level utilized.
Nowadays all the construction equipment comes with telematic system. For the uninitiated, telematic is a one of the key technology that provide machine diagnostics alerts which helps prevent downtime, theft and misuse. With this technology owners can remotely track and create reports for data such as location, fuel consumption, and machine operation. JCB India’s telematics technology LiveLink is an advanced Telematics technology for Next Generation Asset Monitoring and Feet Management. It is aimed towards increasing productivity, controlling costs and asset safety. Through real-time data, available on smart devices, customers can access information on critical parameters of their fleet such as fuel, maintenance and service, thus improving equipment uptime. LiveLink gives service reminders, critical health alerts and keeps machine data back-up. It further helps in improving operations through fuel level information and engine status. LiveLink also enables a new and smart, digitally enabled product support for JCB customers. The Smart Serve Mobile Application locates the nearest service engineer to the machine and through the Parts Application customers can now buy parts online.
Volvo CE India’s CareTrack telematics system gives equipment owners access to a wide range of machine monitoring information that can help save time and money. The system generates a wide range of reports with data on aspects such as fuel consumption, operational hours, geographical location and more. These reports are available via a web portal or can be received via SMS or email alerts. CareTrack can also be used to manage machine servicing and wear parts. This allows fleet managers to reduce fuel costs, optimize machine and operator performance, as well as proactively manage service and maintenance to maximize uptime. CareTrack is offered as specialized packages designed to enhance customers’ businesses. It supports with maintenance, invoicing, fleet management and operator training. With this telematic customers can monitor load efficiency, number of cycles, overload percentages and identify operator training needs. CareTrack can tell owners what time the machine operation starts, takes a break, and ends. It allows owners to tap into a wealth of actionable data including fuel consumption, idle time, machine location, fluid levels and service alerts.
CASE Construction Equipment has launched the next generation of its SiteWatch telematics platform with an all-new dashboard, more intuitive navigation and new overview sections that spotlight critical information without requiring the user to search extensively for the data. The new dashboard features an easy-to-read horizontal menu at the top of the screen above five widgets that focus on core operating information such as an equipment summary, equipment search, fuel level reports and alarm status. An easy dropdown menu makes critical reports on factors such as equipment utilization, fuel consumption and maintenance just a click away, and topline menu buttons take users immediately to fleet and maintenance overviews. Additional reports highlighting specific alerts and fault codes are also available. SiteWatch telematics help fleets of all sizes work more efficiently in many ways, including simplified fleet management, understanding equipment utilization, analyzing workload and productivity, Real-time alerts, improved billing and estimating, prevent unauthorized use, equipment security and others.
According to Techsci Research India construction equipment market is projected to cross $4.7 billion by 2025, on account of growth in construction industry, increasing foreign investments, and rising number of smart city projects in the country. Government initiatives focused on infrastructure development are further boosting demand for construction equipment in India. Some of the largest projects include Smart City Mission, AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation of Urban Transformation), Metro Rail in urban areas, Bharatmala, and Sagarmala, among others. In addition, government is also supporting the construction equipment market by liberalizing taxation policies for construction industry such as GST and custom duty. In 2018, the government of India reduced the GST on construction equipment from 28% to 18%, which will help the construction equipment manufacturers to reduce the overall cost of equipment and other operational losses. However, the global economic slowdown and spread of COVID-19 pandemic pose a huge imminent challenge for India construction equipment market.
“The Construction Equipment Sector has witnessed a good revival after the pandemic situation from 2020. Construction sector is poised for good growth in FY2022 due to strong pipeline of projects and various government measures aiding growth. The investments planned under the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) will be key growth drivers for the construction sector. The execution of projects were severely impacted in H1FY2021 due to the nationwide lockdown, reverse migration of labour and supply-chain constraints. In the last few months, the Centre has announced a slew of relief measures to support players, including relaxation on EMD (earnest money deposit) and performance security, relaxation of bidding eligibility criterion and increased frequency of payments for government tenders. As a result, today with the increasing number of Tender Awards and other large scale projects like the Expressways, Bullet Train Project and other Mega Railway and Metro projects, order book position of most of the construction players is growing. This along with focus on upgradation of existing rural roads from Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) scheme, Smart City Projects, Rural Housing scheme such as Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) have increased the demand of Self-Loading Concrete Mixer (SLCM), Small Batching plants and Pumps,” says Ajay Aneja, Chief Marketing Officer, AJAX Engineering.
The numbers of Construction Equipment launched in recent time clearly indicate the industry in on revival path. With plenty of roads and highways projects, favourable mining policy, railway projects, and other infrastructure projects, in the coming months the Construction Equipment launches will increase and will move forward to construct India’s road to prosperity