Material handling industry on a continuous growth at varying pace

“With India taking active initiatives towards building world-class infrastructure, MHE manufacturers and suppliers are looking for more and more options in the huge market potential the industry presents,” says Tushar Mehendale, Managing Director, ElectroMech
Mr Mehendale, could you give a brief introduction on material handling industry?Rapidly developing countries like China and India will gain as manufacturing output and fixed investment are on the rise. Three major sectors which would drive demand for material handling systems would be power, mining and manufacturing industries. Newer and efficient material handling technologies in the market are propelling competitiveness and driving development. The field of material handling equipment (MHE) embraces a vast array of equipment, though cranes, conveyors, and forklift trucks form the three main segments.
The developing economies of India and China, in particular, hold enormous potential for the market owing to the high economic growth rates and the burgeoning industrial products and consumer goods sectors. The Indian MHE industry has lately started witnessing tie ups with global players. This has led to substantial global influence in terms of quality and use of better technology in the industry. The industry has started becoming more and more customer oriented as compared to the past. Apart from the market competition and the surplus of products available in the market, there has also been a considerable amount of shift in the approach of the consumers towards companies as well as manufacturers for different aspects of customer service in India.
The Indian materials handling industry has certainly seen a contraction in the recent past; primarily due to the short sighted approach of our policy makers. However, in the long term, one expects the market to bounce back to its previous levels.
What is the current status of the material handling industry in India?The Indian industrial cranes market is extremely fragmented. According to our estimate, the industrial cranes market in India this year will have dropped to the region of Rs. 1500 – 1800 crore. Almost 30 per cent of the demand for cranes comes from government-owned companies and the remaining 70 per cent from the private sector.
The private sector is the most vibrant part of the Indian economy and growing at a sustained pace and is willing to adopt newer technologies, thus creating scope for innovation in the crane industry. If we divide this sector region-wise in terms of quantities of the total requirement, Western India contributes 50-55 per cent, Southern India contributes with 20-25 per cent, Northern India with 15-20 per cent, and Eastern India with 5-10 per cent.
Over 40 per cent of the total market is captured by a handful of reputed names in the organised sector. The rest of the market is shared by an excess of 250 small crane companies. The material handling industry has been on a continuous growth at varying pace over the years. This can be attributed to the huge amount of investments made by public and private enterprises towards the construction industry thus giving a direct push towards creating a huge demand for the crane industry.
What products do you offer?ElectroMech offers a range of MHE ranging from Electric Wire Rope Hoists, Single Girder and Double Girder EOT cranes, Jib Cranes, Wall Travelling Cranes, Goliath Cranes, Underslung Cranes, along with special purpose cranes such as Stacker Cranes and Tunnel Mucking Systems. ElectroMech entered into an exclusive partnership with the German powerhouse ABUS Crane Systems, for their entire range of standardised hoists and cranes. ElectroMech also has sole representation for Stahl’s range of Explosion protected hoists and cranes in India and with Zoomlion China for their state-of-the-art Tower cranes
In addition to the entire array of products that ElectroMech offers to its customers, ElectroMech also believes in providing well-engineered turnkey hoisting solutions. In the process of installing industrial cranes (EOT’s), factors like the building height, area, column strength etc. also get affected. To relieve our customers from these issues we provide our clients with an apt solution, providing them maximum space utilisation on their shop floor along with playing down building cost.
What are the challenges faced by material handling industry?Even as we witness a positive growth in the industry most PSU tender and consultants have not adapted to the developments in the crane industry. Tenders won purely on price as a base stay in the game.
Manufacturers consequently can only provide the minimum technical specifications cited in the tender. Any extra feature, no matter how advantageous, doesn’t allow the bidder to demand a price premium as all bidders are assessed on an equal level, according to the tender specifications. Since the new technology may not fit into the inflexible (and often redundant) specifications of the tender, it might become a technical disqualification of the bidder, thus proving disadvantageous to the very people floating the tenders. PSUs or consultants even without a price increase are denied of world class products because their technical specifications haven’t advanced on lines of the available technology in the industry.
Also many major MNC’s have their strong presence resulting in a stiffer competition. Intense environment is felt by the indigenous equipment manufacturers and the foreign companies. The parameters for this competition are majorly focused on overall value for money. Hence even if some imported equipment is expensive, if it is delivering high quality results consistently with lower breakdowns and at high productivity rates, contractors would prefer such equipment over domestic ones. Hence the challenges for the domestic manufacturers is to substantially ramp up on their quality and value propositions and leverage lower manufacturing costs to gain a competitive edge in this industry.
Even when the thriving Indian market provides large amount of prospects to crane manufacturers, the challenges in this sector should be resolved soon. Challenges faced by manufacturers while undertaking business development acts as huge challenge in making users understand the function and handling of the machinery.
Availability of capable and skilled manpower is yet another challenge which needs to be addressed astutely to allow optimum utilisation of the equipment. To overcome the challenges with regards to skilled manpower in the industry and academic course on crane industry will be a step in the right direction. A diploma courses for crane operators in the field of crane operations and safety is one way to plug the shortage. The possibility of a tie-up with institutions overseas should be explored.
On what factor does the growth of material handling sector depends?With India taking active initiatives towards building world-class infrastructure, MHE manufacturers and suppliers are looking for more and more options in the huge market potential the industry presents.
In general Indian construction and infrastructure sectors are the major demand drivers for the crane industry in India. Most of our company’s cranes and hoists are utilised at major infrastructure projects sites. For e.g. Gantry cranes are used for precast segment yards and bridge constructions, specialised hoisting equipment are used for bridge launching girders etc. Other industry segments such as steel and cement are growing at a good pace too, complementary to the growing infrastructure needs and the prerequisite for a variety of cranes and hoists for their material handling needs.
The power sector is also expanding in India, with the government promoting expenditure on several new projects; hence there is demand for a large range of cranes from this sector. The power sector requires cranes for a variety of applications and their requirements could be up to 250 MT, as in the case of windmill manufacturers, Transformer manufacturers, TG Hall cranes, coal mill handling cranes, etc.
The demand for cranes will majorly be dependent on India’s industrial output and infrastructure needs. Since there is an expected growth in all sectors at varying paces the demand for cranes will originate from all sectors, i.e. infrastructure, heavy engineering, manufacturing, power, etc.
Brief us on your future expansion plans.ElectroMech, as a philosophy believes in providing customers with the best possible solutions for their various material handling requirements. In the spirit of this commitment to the clients, ElectroMech is always looking at new and best possible solutions to offer them.
Semi-gantry CranesThese cranes find its application in workshops where part utilisation of shop bay is required (as in a tool room attached to a press shop), a Semi-Goliath/Gantry Crane is used. In such a configuration, one end-carriage of the crane will travel on the regular gantry rail while the opposite end-carriage will travel on a rail mounted typically on the ground or at a lower elevation.
Stacker CranesThese unique cranes finds their use in industries requiring to stock substantial volumes of their products or inputs, especially if they are diverse and palletised, are looking into material handling systems which maximise utilisation of warehouses by volume instead of by floor area, besides of course swift retrieval and stocking.

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