Earthmoving Equipment: About to Move?

Earth moving equipment and dump trucks


Faced with the breakneck pace of business cycles in mature markets, the earthmoving equipment segment need to find new ways to predict and take the edge off the industry's wild swings.

India's large investment in urban and rural infrastructure, such as the building of IT parks, shopping malls, highway networks, residential areas, roads, ports and irrigation systems had driven the earthmoving equipment market during the review period.

The earthmoving equipment industry that was roaring with activity till recently is going through a rough patch now. “Owing to the economic slowdown, many existing projects that largely used earthmoving equipment are on hold. And to make matters worse, many mining sites have closed down. Thus, the general fund flow in this segment is a little low with not many financers looking at investing,” says Brahmanand Pandey, Vice President, Construction Equipment, Gmmco Ltd.

Reasons behind

The sluggish economy has taken its toll on the market for earthmoving equipment in the current fiscal. According to Pandey, the first impact on this segment is because of the bar on mining in many places in India including the Goa Iron ore mining ban and Karnataka Iron ore mining ban. This proscription has affected people working directly and indirectly with the mining industry including the earthmoving machinery manufactures. With solid source of revenue getting closed, the industry is forced to look at alternative options to keep the show up and running.

The current market size

According to GVR Murthy, CEO, Escorts Construction Equipment, the current market size of the Earthmoving equipment would be around 60,000 units. “Looking at various trends and government initiatives we can expect a marginal growth of 5-10 per cent next fiscal,” he adds.

The market size is expected to keep growing at a very steady rate, although a lot will depend upon the upcoming policies from the government for the coming financial year. “A compound annual growth rate of 8.5 per cent is expected though a lot depends on the government policies,” says Subhas Kedia, Director Marketing, Shakti Mining Equipments Pvt Ltd.


Loaders: Poised for Heavy-Duty Action

wheel loaderWhile delving deep to explore the heavy duty loaders market, Mathew Thottungal finds that loaders indeed drive and propel the construction equipment industry in the country.

For the infrastructure development, the construction equipment manufacturing industry estimates that CE demand would go up to around 100,000 units during 2014. It’s estimated that 65 per cent of the construction equipment machinery produced in India is mainly backhoe loaders (BHLs). In fact, backhoes constitute the biggest segment in the CE market. Manufacturers are also closely exploring the possibilities of how the product integrates with the new demand transition which is also an equally challenging proposition. This is because in the past, the application versatility of the equipment was only its sole consideration. But the latest trend is based on more value proposition.

Successful business

Speaking about the excavator and the wheel loaders market in particular, Dheeraj Panda, Head - Marketing & Key Account Management, Hyundai Construction Equipment India Pvt Ltd, is a bit apprehensive. This is because the excavator market in India has witnessed a steep growth over the past few years, but currently it has slowed down since the last quarter of 2012. The year 2013 too didn’t start off on a promising note either, with the excavator figures just hovering around 1,100 units per month. The annual figures too look below par from what the industry outlook was predicted a year ago. In the calendar year 2013, the sales are expected to be below 12,000 units. Overall there is a drop of over 10 per cent sales over the last year. On the other hand, the wheel loader market has plummeted to 1,500 units as compared to 2,000 units in 2012.

The fact is that wheel loaders are used mainly for wagon filling, asphalt loading, and block material handling. However, on the contrary, Backhoe Loaders are used for smaller trenches, laying pipes, clearing rubble and digging. Both the products are separate and both have different application. They cannot be compared as the application for them is non-comparable.

But Panda believes that loaders are largely used as a complementary product for material re-handling in construction and mining applications. Though the market for wheel loader was majorly in unorganised hiring rental business segment, the demand for wheel loaders has also increased into mining activities due to the increase in the global demand for mining. Just like excavators, a comprehensive maintenance and service support would be critical for the success of the wheel loader business.

But on the contrary, Dulipsingh Thangasamy, Facility General Manager, BCP Division, Caterpillar India Pvt Ltd, “According to a recent market research survey, the market size for backhoe loaders in India is currently poised at around 30,000 units per annum. In fact, Caterpillar’s backhoe loader market is gradually gaining momentum and we have been able to garner good traction in various markets in India. We strive to provide our customers a world-class product in terms of reliability and durability, which gives them true value for money.”

Anil Bhatia, Director - Sales and Marketing, Case New Holland Construction Equipment India Pvt Ltd (Case India) says that his company is known for offering a full line of premium quality construction equipment. “In fact, the Loader Backhoe market of India is the largest in the world with volumes close to 32,000 units in the calendar year 2012. Case is a market leader in the loader backhoe industry with market share close to 10 per cent. The Case models include like Case 770, Case 770OL and Case 851 in loader backhoes category.”

In fact, a backhoe loader or a steer loader having backhoe attachment can be proved as very advantageous if it is very safely and properly used. The safety chain in backhoe prevents the rotation or shifting of the backhoe mounting in backwards direction. Different backhoe loaders have different features but the common safety feature among all of them is that they have frame lock and attaching layers that help to backhoe to be safely fastened to the loader during its operation.


India well poised to lead the global Green Building Movement

CII MeetAs we all know that the City of Mumbai is facing a major water crisis. Green buildings are very effective in saving both water and energy upto a maximum of 45 per cent depending upon the level of rating achieved. To provide impetus to this Green Building movement and facilitate new business opportunities in the real estate industry, CII - IGBC recently organised a meet with theme on ‘Innovation Intervention & Invention in Green Design’. A report…

Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) of CII with the support of all the stakeholders is spearheading the Green Building movement in the country. The movement was triggered off when CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre building in Hyderabad was awarded with the first and the prestigious Platinum rated green building rating in India.

Since then, Green Building movement in India has gained tremendous impetus over the years. Today, India has over 2,110 registered green building projects amounting to over 1.51 Billion sq ft of green building footprint, which has put India on the top 5 countries in world green building map.

Gurmit Singh Arora, Vice Chairman – CII - IGBC Mumbai Chapter underlined that, today Mumbai with over 295 registered green building projects, amounting to over 229 million sq ft is leading the green building movement in the country. As this numbers steadily grow, the State can reap significant ecological and economic benefits. Most importantly buildings can demonstrate energy savings to the tune of 40-50 per cent and water savings to the tune of 20-30 per cent, apart from other intangible benefits, highlighted Arora.


Connecting with Green

Dr. Prem Jain-Chairman-IGBCDr PREM C JAIN, Chairman, Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), is driving the Green Building Movement in India with great passion to restore the health of our ailing Mother Earth. He says that the need of the hour is to go back to our roots and re-connect with our rich ancient green heritage. Let’s know more on how we go about building a green future.

What are our capacities to go green?

We all Indians inherently have the inclination to address ecological issues and concerns. We equate our planet earth to Mother Earth and treat it with utmost sanctity, hence our capacities to adopt and embrace green is unlimited.

All through we have being treading this important path; somehow we have drifted away to a materialist way of life and have caused damage to the Planet Earth. All our natural resources are severely stressed and strained.

The need of the hour is to go back to our roots and re-connect with our rich ancient green heritage. This is what we in CII’s Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) are trying to do. IGBC with the support of all the stakeholders are involved in promoting sustainable structures which are a perfect blend of India’s rich architectural heritage and modern technological innovations. All the green buildings promoted by IGBC are a reflection of India’s rich heritage.

Tell us about the acceptance of green buildings in India

Today over 1,980 green buildings amounting to over 1.38 billion sq ft of green building footprint are registered with IGBC. This is a clear testimony on the growing acceptance of green buildings.

Hence our capacities to go the green way are significant and will go a long way in addressing ecological issues and concerns but will also play a catalytic role in placing India as one of the global leaders in green buildings.


Budget 2013 and the way forward

ChidambaramP Chidambaram’s Annual Budget 2013 has received mixed responses from the industry. While some believe it to be ‘conservative’ with focus on populist measures, there are others who feel that it demonstrates the government’s determination to bring about fiscal consolidation. Read on to know our industry players’ reaction…

Anuj Puri, Chairman & Country Head, Jones Lang LaSalle India: “We did not expect this budget to be a game-changer. The realities of the Indian economic situation need to be viewed in context with the factors that drive it, not least of all the global economic situation. There is no escaping the fact that the business which comes to India from the European Union and the US has a trickle-down effect on key economic drivers in India, and the Finance Ministry does not control these factors. The Union Budget can only hope to address factors within its control. This was a moderately encouraging Budget in general, but tepid for the Indian real estate sector.”

Dilip Oommen, CEO & MD, Essar Steel India Ltd: “The budget proposal presented by Mr. Chidambaram has nothing much to cheer about. No doubt the economic space was severely limited by the growing fiscal deficit. However, hiking planned expenditure by 30 per cent will give a boost UPA’s flagship programs. While a whole lot of measures have been earmarked for infrastructure, which is the only few positives from the budget, and so likely to revive the flagging fortunes of core industries to some extent like steel, it remains to be seen how much of it is actually implemented. And to keep the bulging fiscal deficit in check, FM had no other means but to raise surcharges on the super-rich and companies. Surprisingly there was no relief provided to manufacturing which is going through a huge crisis. So unless the investor sentiment is revived by supplementary measures outside the budget, economic growth which is already at a decade low of 5 per cent would remain much below the potential.”


Sustainable Design Concepts

Harsh BhutaniHARSH BHUTANI, Managing Director, ED&P Group (JV partner to A49 in India), shares insights on architectural design trends in India.

India, today is witnessing a paradigm shift - technology has positively affected our lives and has made a breathtaking change. India is one of the world’s largest democracies and its continuous growth despite the global meltdown has put money into the hands of the middle class youth who are now experiencing a lifestyle their parents had only dreamt of. A well planned and technologically advanced designed space is now well within their grasp and its being re?ected in the growing construction industry. Hence, design flexibility that allows any configuration as per client’s requirements is hugely popular with consumers.



Architectural design as a discipline aims at solving problems or enhancing lives of end users worldwide. End users today are very demanding and have many expectations from brands, which, if not complied with, have a possibility of going into oblivion in a short period. It also has to be functionally and financially viable to appeal to a wide range of users. Design, therefore, is a combination of using a creative solution and channelising it in the right direction to obtain the optimum output.

The historical aspect of architectural design is almost incomplete without a reference to the grand architecture that the nation fashioned from the times of the Rajahs and till today, Indian arts and crafts have embellished plush luxurious homes around the world. Conventional approach to design development, poor availability of technology, high cost of development as well as inadequate involvement of key stakeholders - to ensure continuity of the process of innovation - are the factors that impede design innovation.

However, several factors like talent, technological expertise, focus on innovation, ability to optimise development and acute understanding of customers' needs can enable India to become the global design hub. Right mix of people and resources coupled with a willingness to adopt innovation and technological advancements, making it a part of the development eco-system, barriers in design services can definitely be overcome. Architecture is an all-encompassing applied art form that encompasses art, inspiration, science, technology, finance. Building architecture, more than any other form of art, touches our everyday lives. It defines the way we live, the way we work, the way we play. With the growing Indian economy and the growing awareness of the Indian clientele (i.e.: individuals/businesses/ corporates) to the international lifestyles, work styles, design trends, need for global design services is becoming necessary.



Can Infra Sector Salvage Slowdown?

Arun SinghThe pervasiveness of time and cost overruns across all infrastructure sectors reduce the efficiency of available economic resources and ultimately takes its toll on the economic growth. Can the infrastructure sector act as a catalyst to propel the economy? DR ARUN SINGH, Sr Economist, Dun & Bradstreet India, presents his analysis…

The heightened degree of turbulence in India's macroeconomic environment was further evident in the latest data pertaining to GDP and IIP. India's GDP slumped to a nine-year low, both in the Jan-March quarter at 5.3 per cent and FY12 at 6.5 per cent. While there is no denying that high interest rates and the impact of the euro zone debt crisis has weighed in on economic growth, the continued policy drift also has a major role to play in the current economic malaise.

According to Finance Ministry documents, projects worth Rs 1.46 lakh crore are pending because of absence of regulatory clearances. These are in the sectors of power, steel, highways and cement. Mega projects such as $ 90 billion Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor are also delayed on various counts such as clearances and land acquisition. In an attempt to boost investment and steer growth in such beleaguered macroeconomic environment, the government has announced a series of measures to prop-up infrastructure development and pledged quick action in awarding airports, highways and port projects. While these measures are a step in the right direction, there are numerous challenges confronting the infrastructure sector, which, if not swiftly addressed, can cascade through all layers of the Indian economy. India's infrastructure development has not kept pace with economic growth as it continues to be beleaguered by the perennial problems. To name a few, these challenges revolve around poor project management practices, financing and regulation. Needless to say, growth in infrastructure is a pre-requisite criteria for sustainable growth.



“Construction fraternity has awakened to the advantages of using modern technology”

Girish DravidGIRISH DRAVID, Director, Sterling Engineering, has been thoroughly groomed in the structural engineering school. In contrast to the norm of most IITians migrating to the West he chose to make a landmark career in India and has made seminal contributions to advanced design techniques and new construction methodologies for large projects. In an exclusive interview to Construction Business Today, he discusses how new drawing software and how structural engineering is spawning new construction methods to speed up the construction process.

In what way is structural engineering expanding the limits of construction technology?

In modern construction practices, sequence of construction process is important.  If you need a faster slab cycle in a 60 floor building, it’s foolish to build one slab a month. At this rate, the building frame will take five years to complete. To aim at a reasonable period of 12 to 15 months to complete the structure, at least 4-5 slabs should be poured every month. Advances in concrete technology have enabled early strength mixes which provide sufficient loading capacity to manage loads for high-speed construction. But other factors like low E-value at early age of concrete, shrinkage etc need to be considered in structural design. Effects of wind and temperature variation can affect recently set concrete. Elements which have not achieved their full strength can be significant. Reactions from operational cranes attached to the building can impose variable loads on the fresh concrete frame. Hence it’s necessary to incorporate such construction induced forces in design of the structure, considering early concrete strength.

On the other hand, techniques of structural analysis and design have improved substantially with availability of sophisticated software and processing abilities of high speed computing. Various alternatives for structural systems, sequential analysis, computation of forces for any desired architectural and functional forms, and simulation of complex structural geometries with the help of graphic interfaces, have become easily possible. To translate the structural engineer’s conceptualisation of the structural system into a workable efficient economic scheme with adequate number of iterations is now a matter of a few days for any complex geometry. This ability of structural engineers is fuelling increasing demands from architects, contractors and developers to push the limits of fancy – in architectural forms, speedy and quality construction practices, efficient and elegant structural systems, aesthetic structural forms and least possible expenditure on structural framework.