Creating Compact Foundations

Growth in infrastructure and construction activities are the key factors driving the growth of the compactors market. The introduction of stringent regulatory policies, is also fuelling the demand of this market. Whether it is asphalt compactors or soil compactors, the thrust from manufacturers has been on machines that will achieve optimum compaction with the minimum number of passes. The primary reasons propelling the growth of the compactors market are the expansion of infrastructure and construction activities. The enactment of strict regulatory guidelines is another factor driving up demand in this industry. The emphasis from manufacturers has been on devices that would accomplish optimal compaction with the least number of passes, whether they are soil or asphalt compactors. Compactors have a few more benefits. The exposure of construction, which fuels fast urbanisation, is projected to result in a significant demand for compaction equipment globally throughout the course of the projection period.

A lot of infrastructure development projects are currently underway in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific, where businesses are investing in compaction equipment and related items. In a similar vein, businesses are choosing to expand their reach and hold onto their place in the cutthroat market by engaging in mergers and acquisitions and working with regional players. For instance, Deere & Company purchased Wirtgen Group in 2017 for around $5.2 billion in order to increase the construction equipment industry's alternatives for global distribution. Furthermore, in order to cater to the diverse earthwork compaction applications in India, AB Volvo developed SD100BA, a new range of single drum smooth wheeled compactors, in 2017.

According to a report from Off-Highway Research, “The compaction equipment demand in the country is mainly met through local production, and imports remained insignificant at 1 per cent in 2021. The scale of planned infrastructure development in the country, especially the road sector, is huge, which will continue to drive the compaction equipment market for many years to come. However, demand is likely to decline by 8 per cent in 2022 due to a slowdown in road laying activities, implementation of CEV-IV emission norms from April 2021, and high commodity prices but is projected to grow thereafter to reach 5,000 units by 2026.”

CEV-IV is the new emission regulation for tyred construction equipment in India. This has impacted the cost of the new machines. In addition, rising commodity prices and inflation have also had an impact this year. Off-Highway Research found that machine prices have risen by 5 to 7 per cent this year as a result of the two factors. Running costs are also higher due to the increased cost of fuel.

“However, the simple truth is that there is a massive amount of work yet to be done in the road sector, and this will call for large volumes of equipment to complete it. How large those volumes will be is totally dependent on the government’s effectiveness in facilitating project execution and addressing key impediments,” said the report.

Due to the rapid infrastructure development in developing nations like India, China, Indonesia, Kuwait, and Qatar, the compaction equipment industry in the Asia Pacific and the Middle East is experiencing domination. There are several engineering and building projects occurring in these developing nations. Governmental organisations are putting their attention on organised facilities in the fields of healthcare, transportation, and tourism.

Manufacturers are concentrating on releasing compaction machine types that use little fuel and need little upkeep. Suppliers are focusing on developing machines that would be appropriate for Indian working circumstances as competition among them grows. More work cycles might be performed on these machine models. The key concerns for manufacturers of compaction equipment from their most recent units continue to be performance and productivity maximisation. 

Market trends

The compaction equipment market in India peaked at almost 5,700 units in 2018. It has since declined, as have equipment sales in general, due to the pandemic in 2020. Sales last year stood at just above 4,500 units as a result. However, according to a report from Off-Highway research, the demand for compactors is set to return to 2018 levels. The government of India has come up with ‘Vision 2030’ initiative aiming to be a $5 trillion economy by 2025 and $10 trillion economy by 2030, the foremost dimension of achieving this vision is to build physical infrastructures such as next-generation roads, railway, seaport, airports, urban transport, and inland waterways which needs requires compaction machines equipment.

The Indian construction equipment market will primarily be driven by construction, mining and other infrastructural development activities, which will be supported by the macro-economic situation, policy and reforms, and availability of funds.

The general atmosphere for the infrastructural development in the country is conducive for growth in construction and mining activity. The highly ambitious National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) with an investment of Rs111 trillion during 2019-2024, will change the landscape of infrastructure development in the country if it is implemented with the same zeal in the way it has been planned. Energy (24 per cent), roads (18 per cent), urban development (17 per cent) and railways (12 per cent) will together account for over 70 per cent of the projected capital expenditure for NIP.

Said Himanshu Sharma, Head – Marketing & Corporate Communication, B&R Industrial Automation, “The current innovative trends in this industry are exponentially high, looking at the new buy out strategies and the development of newer machines, changing the old-fashioned way of equipment and inculcating innovations to it, it is very clear the industry is boosting high. Also, the construction sites have newer projects, developments seen in industrial sector of manufacturing construction equipment has given new dimensions in manufacturing and in turn the upliftment of urbanisation is rapidly changing the face of the city. It is seen as per recent reports that the growth of the earthmoving equipment market will significantly contribute to the growth of the construction machinery market, which is expected to increase exponentially in coming years. Thus, as the consumer demand is increasing there has been a significant uplift of market size too.”

He added, “Also, it has been seen manufacturers are more engaged towards building multifunctional tools, this reduces your expenses and uplifts the demand of the product as this is the need of the hour. Companies are investing more from where they can reduce the overhead expenses and invest on tools and software which can perform more than one function and reduce the load of the overall equipment. Thus, manufacturers worldwide are investing on their design, research and development teams to bring out a product that is sustainable, provides fewer breakdowns and has multi utility.”

“To accelerate infrastructure development as well as implement execution and holistic planning to improve logistics efficiency, the government announced the Gati Shakti- National Master Plan in 2021. The focus on infrastructure continued in 2021-22 too. However, the CE industry contracted by 11 per cent mainly due to the impact of change in emission norms for wheeled construction equipment to CEV4,” said BKR Prasad, Head – Marketing and Product Development, Tata Hitachi Construction Machinery.

Demand drivers

Key factors driving the compaction equipment market include rapid urbanisation, a rise in the development of transportation infrastructure, the demolition of old sites, and the construction of new ones. A major shift from labour-centric approach toward mechanisation is also likely to be a significant driving factor for the compaction equipment market during the forecast period. The trend of offering compaction equipment on a rental basis has been growing.

The India compactor market is expected to witness significant growth over the coming years on account of several upcoming projects such as the expansion of public infrastructure, the establishment of new industries as well as a growing number of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country. 

The market is anticipated to register growth during 2020-2026. The government of India and Invest India have come up with “India Investment Grid” (IIG) aiming to provide different investment options to global investors in 5000 projects from across the 36 states and union territories. 

Such initiatives would create ample demand for compactor equipment in the Indian market.

Ground-breaking tech

Companies are investing in compaction equipment and related products mainly in APAC and MEA, where a large number of infrastructure development projects are in progress. Developing economies have a large number of projects ongoing in terms of engineering and construction. Government bodies are focusing on structured facilities such as hospitals, transportation, and tourism, which is boosting the market for compaction equipment.

Many companies have launched new models in soil and asphalt compactors or have upgraded the models with advanced features. At present, all CASE India equipment is furnished with in-built safety features, fuel efficiency, etc. Apart from these, in order to ensure the safety of a machine, CASE India has introduced Eagle-Eye telematics, a GPS-tracking system in its loader backhoe range. This monitoring system provides diagnosis alerts remotely. Another innovative feature is the Compaction Meter, which determines the density of soil and other material. 

It acts as a defense mechanism against unseen soil compaction. This system helps in analysing the amplitude, frequency, and ICV (intelligence compaction value), which helps in avoiding over-compaction.

Case’s award-winning compactor range and road equipment already come equipped with a multitude of smart features such as an eagle eye telematics system which helps in monitoring the performance, security, and efficiency of the machine in real-time. Our soil compactors offer great manoeuvrability through their 15-degree drum oscillating angle, 37-degree steering angle, and short steering radius that allows the operator to handle the equipment smoothly and cautiously through the site. Our 1107 Ex compactor comes with a 4 pins central joint which makes the machine reliable and robust enough to be used in harsher conditions. It also comes with a round safety handrail to make the machine easy to use for the operator. Additionally, our machines come equipped with our renowned FPT Industrial engine, which provides faster response time, and up to 10 per cent better fuel economy.

At Excon 2022, CASE India displayed 10 models at the exhibition from its existing range of equipment, including 952 EX and 450 DX vibratory compactors. Said Alok Jha, Director – Sales and Marketing, India and SAARC, CASE Construction Equipment, “CASE offers a range of compactors for the domestic and global markets. The new Soil Compactor 1107EX features a standard drive and smooth drum for multi-purpose activities and standard compaction jobs. The 1107EX PD with pad foot drum and double drive is designed for compressing more cohesive materials. It also offers a 25 mm drum and turbocharger with pre-cleaner as a part of its clean and quality design.”

“We are leaders in compaction equipment in which we have a market share of 28 per cent. We are spread all across the country – right from Ladakh in the north to Kanyakumari in the south, and from Jamnagar in the west to Arunachal Pradesh in the east. We have more than 200 touchpoints, 66 dealers, and one factory in India. We also have a couple of retail offices,” says Jha.

Nowadays, due to stringent government mandates and consumer preference for connected vehicles, the adoption of telematics is on the rise. As the maintenance for heavy-duty vehicles is more costly as compared to normal vehicles, advanced telematics helps in reducing the overall operating cost. Manufacturers in the soil compaction machines market offer service contracts and extended warranties to control operating costs throughout the lifespan of the machines. Following this trend, renowned players in the soil compaction machines market such as John Deere and Volvo introduced machine monitoring services recently. The adoption of advanced telematics to reduce operating costs is likely to gain further momentum in the soil compaction machines market in the coming years. 

JCB116 soil compactor, the VMT860, is a tandem roller and the VMT330, is a smaller 3T category tandem roller. Exclusively designed to cater to the road construction needs of its customers, JCB Road Solutions offer a comprehensive range. Every JCB compactor is equipped with unique features and a robust structure. Designed for productivity, the range is suitable for various projects, depending upon the volume of compaction work. Whether it is a single drum soil compactor or a vibratory tandem road roller, every JCB Compactor offers high efficiency and productivity.

Vogele has been the industry pioneer for asphalt pavers. It can pave from 1.5 m paving width to a maximum of 16 m. Several innovations like the pressure bars and electric heating of the screed, Niveltronic plus operating concept and ergo plus operator features have been introduced. Hamm compactors are equipped with an isolated operator platform mounted on shock absorbers so that the vibrations are reduced. The operator platform is with antiskid material to ensure operator safety. The engine compartment is closed with FRP hood in Hamm compactors, which reduces the noise levels. ROPS/FOPS requirement is currently not mandatory as per Indian regulations however it can be provided as an option.”

Vivek Hajela, Head & General Manager, Construction Equipment Business, Larsen & Toubro, said “L&T had pioneered the concept of vibratory compactors in India with the introduction of Albaret products way back in 1978. Later in 2015, L&T once again forayed into the compactor market with its 100 per cent indigenous effort. The soil compactor, L&T 1190 was introduced first in Oct 2015, followed by the tandem compactor, L&T 990 a few months later. The L&T 491 mini compactor was introduced in 2017. In order to further expand the range, the pneumatic tyred roller, L&T 2490 was introduced in 2018. All these machines have worked in a variety of applications and around 3000 L&T compactors have been supplied till date.”

He added, “We are offering L&T DigiEye as an optional fitment on the L&T compactors. This digital technology helps in tracking the equipment performance, fuel consumed and machine location. The use of telematics by end-users is slowly catching up, but still, actual utilisation is low. Many fleet owners feel the need to monitor the machines remotely. In the CEV-IV compliant machines, this option of L&T DigiEye is offered. compaction meters is another concept that is offered on L&T soil compactors and this helps the operator in knowing if the desired levels of compaction have been achieved.”

Recently, L&T Construction & Mining Machinery reached a milestone in the supply of indigenous equipment with the successful delivery of the 3000th L&T compactor. The roll out of this 3000th machine reinforces LTCEL’s leadership in manufacturing indigenously-designed equipment and paves the way for fulfilment of Atmanirbhar Bharat mission launched by the Government of India. L&T has been successful in exporting these compactors to SAARC and African countries as well. L&T compactors, launched in 2017, have fast penetrated the Indian market and are a preferred choice of customers given their excellent quality and reliability.

Road ahead

Manufacturers are also focusing on coming out with machines that are fuel-efficient and require minimal maintenance, all adding to the good news for contractors. With competition, intensifying suppliers are concentrating on coming out with machines that would ideally suit Indian working conditions, where typically these machines would be put through more work cycles, as compared to the developed world. Manufacturers are also focusing on coming out with machines that are fuel-efficient and require minimal maintenance, all adding to the good news for contractors. With competition, intensifying suppliers are concentrating on coming out with machines that would ideally suit Indian working conditions.