RACING TO THE TOP SLOT?

India is currently the fourth- largest construction equipment market in the world; its share in the global demand has grown from three per cent in 2006 to six per cent in 2010, and is likely to further grow to eight per cent by 2015. With a significant portion of the country's GDP dedicated to planned expenditure for infrastructure upgradation, the construction equipment sector is once again looking for a 'never before' boom. The increased inflow of international OEMs onto our shore underlines this fact. For example, If BEML, Telcon, Caterpillar, JCB, L&T Komatsu and Volvo were the major players in the earthmoving equipment segment, today the market has witnessed the entry of more players like Kobelco, and Sumitomo from Japan, Hyundai and Doosan from Korea, Chetra from Russia, Liugong and Sany from China, Liebherr from Germany, Terex from US; to top this, the number of OEMs eyeing the Indian market is on the rise, too.

The market potential for hydraulic excavators, the second-highest selling construction equipment in the Indian market after backhoes, is expected to more than double over the next five years. As the Indian construction equipment market matures, the role of heavy equipment like excavators is bound to grow. As per reliable data, growth wise, (not necessarily in volume, though) the excavator market has overtaken the backhoe market; whereas the forecast in growth of backhoe in 2014 over the 2009 base is 90 per cent, for the same period, the forecast in growth of excavator is around 183 per cent. Given the fact that excavators are highly versatile, and come with myriad attachments, it can become the most sought-after equipment. As per industry sources the excavator market has been witnessing tremendous growth and it is envisaged that it may catch up with the No1 product in the CE industry. That must be sweet music indeed, to investors, both domestic and international.

On one side, there is a visible shift towards segmentation of market based on applications, and on the other side, with increasing fleet size and asset management becoming issues, many a customer has now started looking at tracking solutions, a better tool for man-machine communication, in order to gain optimum utilisation of their construction fleet. Both are positive signs of a fast developing and maturing market. While the market segmentation throws open the door for the entry of myriad application-oriented machinery, machine control systems enhance not only the productivity but also management practices. With shift in trends in machine utilisation, types of applications and hours of usage of a machine, several technological improvements are making excavators far better than before. Advanced features like AMS computers are available today on several models which help reduce dependence on the skill of an operator to a certain extent, and enhance machine productivity. Even features like auto idling improve fuel efficiency. If the government focus on infrastructure remains consistent, the CE market should double in the next five years.

It is also a matter of pride for us, that EQUIPMENT INDIA, the only hundred-per-cent dedicated magazine on the mining and infrastructure equipment industry in the country was adjudged the Best News Magazine at the recently concluded third Construction Industry Development Councils' (part of Planning Commission, Government of India) Vishwakarma Awards. We sincerely thank all our supporters. The award, in one sense, reminds us of our responsibility, too; we will leave no stone unturned to make it the best. The present edition, which you hold now, is just a humble contribution to that greater goal.