Crane manufacturing sector: bottlenecks within
June 22, 2011 6:16 am
Low level of demand and volume as compared to major markets outside India are the major challenges faced by the industrial crane sector today. Therefore, Indian manufactures face a cost disadvantage due to economies of scale as compared to foreign manufactures from China and other countries, explains Tushar Mehendale, MD, ElectroMech
India – a country with a population of more than 1 billion people, is the world’s second fastest emerging economy; even higher than Russia, Italy, and the UK. This gives huge impetus to the purchasing capability of the nation, making it an area of huge potential. It also offers companies a wide array of options and avenues to pursue. The huge population of India is generally taken in a negative notion, but on a positive aspect, it also provides with a huge customer base. Contrary to the old belief, the standard of living for this customer group has also raised and all this is the result of continuously rising GDP. This also brings a plethora of opportunities in the Indian industries, be it automobile, hospitality, IT or manufacturing industry.
The manufacturing industry in India has all the elements which augment the financial progress, increase the productivity and efficiency of the manufacturing industry as well as face competition in the competitive global markets. The manufacturing industry in India has shown the characteristics of possessing the potential of improving the country’s economic conditions. Researchers have attested that India’s manufacturing industry generate a production of approximately 20 per cent of that of the United States and about 50 per cent of the productivity of countries such as Taiwan and South Korea. Manufacturing is a huge contributor to the modern Indian economy. And one of the inclusions of the manufacturing industry is the material handling segment.
The Material Handling Equipment (MHE) industry has a wide array of products on offer to the industry depending on the needs of the particular industry. As the name suggests this sector deals with equipment that relate to the movement, storage, control and protection of materials, goods and products throughout the process of manufacturing, distribution, consumption and disposal. Material handling sector is a critical intermediary in the economy of a country today. MHE may not directly contribute in terms of value addition towards production of goods but it brings about efficiency in handling, transport and storage of goods. In fact the MHE industry practically complements the manufacturing industry by ensuring smooth and efficient distribution of goods. Thus it is a very important aspect and the role of MHE in any set-up cannot be overlooked. Broadly, MHE can be classified into equipment such as cranes, hoists, conveyors, scissor lifts, transfer trolleys, stacker reclaimers, bucket elevators, etc. Each different type of equipment in turn has a huge variety of different specifications and as such the whole universe of MHE is vast.
Cranes and hoists are an integral part of the manufacturing industry. Cranes drive the technique required for any kind of construction or manufacturing and are considered as tools for simplifying process in manufacturing, mining, infrastructure, automotive and construction industries. In today’s world of automation, when every step taken is in regard to reduce human effort, cranes and hoists have provided a solution to several industries when they are in need of not just lifting or lowering materials, but to enhance the efficiency of their operations.
Since cranes affect the working of many industries, the huge demand for cranes reflects the growth across all sectors. As a country undergoing rapid development, the construction and infrastructure sectors are witnessing an increase in activity, hence requirements for cranes from these sectors is strong. Primarily, there is a direct requirement for equipment at various project sites such as gantry cranes for precast segment yards and bridge constructions, specialised hoisting equipment for bridge launching girders etc. Typically, the capacities for such cranes can range from 10 MT to 200 MT. Several other industries, such as steel and cement are growing as well, as they are complementary to growing infrastructure needs and require 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.
India has emerged as a well recognised manufacturing hub for several heavy engineering companies, both domestic and multinational and several high capacity cranes are required by them. Core manufacturing companies have the maximum demand for cranes due to the nature of their work. Automobile and ancillaries, power, infrastructure construction, shipyards, capital goods manufacturers, general engineering and fabrication industries in particular have a large demand for the company’s products. Automotive manufacturers and their allied suppliers require light duty crane systems ranging from a few hundred kgs for assembly lines, to 50 MT and more cranes for stamping operations.
Another trend we see is the increase in demand for world class cranes or cranes from international crane manufacturers over traditional designs. This is primarily attributable to the large number of multinational companies establishing their presence in India as well as Indian companies who have international technology partners.
Potential for Growth
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