Disruptive Concrete Equipment Technologies Emerging
Current and new concrete equipment manufacturers are developing new technologies and equipment concepts to enable Indian customers meet upcoming challenges and gain a competitive edge.

Off late, there have been numerous disruptive technologies and equipment concepts introduced to Indian markets. Earlier most of these were only available to highly developed countries like USA or European Union where mechanisation and process integration has been of essence, to counter act lack of adequate manpower. The advent of these concepts are expected to be game changers for the domestic users involved in infrastructure and realty construction, where cement and concrete are major concerns.

Industry outlook
Going by some estimates provided by Central Pollution Control Board, India will process over 300 billion tonnes of crushed aggregates for construction, over the next two years. Nearly 50 per cent out of the same will be converted in to concrete for various infrastructure project construction. Some of the industry players share their views on growth prospects of this prolific industry.

VG Sakthikumar, Managing Director, Schwing Stetter Sales and Service India Pvt Ltd, shares his assessment of the market, ?Concreting equipment industry in India over the next five years is bound to grow at a CAGR of 15 per cent. Road, rail, port and power projects are boosting the market and in future, we expect real estate projects to add further growth to this industry. As per market analysis estimate, increase in urban infrastructure projects, high-rise building projects and other projects across the globe impel market growth. Consequently, this market is expected to generate revenue of more than $8 billion by 2019. Geographically, the APAC region is estimated to account for more than 45 per cent of the total market share by 2019.?

He further adds, ?Increasing investments in urban infrastructure projects across countries such as China, India, and Indonesia is expected to augment market growth in APAC during this period. As per various market analyses, the infrastructure segment is considered to be the largest segment during the forecast period followed by the residential and commercial sectors. Huge investments made by the governments of several countries across world are expected to result in this segment?s high market share. For India, smart cities apart from rapid urbanisation, coupled with growing vertically in metros will drive the growth.?

Prem Raj, Managing Director, KYB-Conmat, articulates the same as industry?s sentiments, ?Demonetisation may have a short-term effect, but the industry has been growing at a phenomenal rate over the past three to four years. In 2015, we achieved 70 per cent growth and in 2016 too, we are achieving similar growth. I see a good future for the construction equipment industry, particularly for the organised sector, which believes in transparent business.?

While Ronak Shah, Marketing Manager, Kappa Building Machines Pvt Ltd adds, ?Indian concrete equipment market has a huge scope. As such we manufacture screeding pumps and the famous Kappa spray plastering machines. Learning from our customers like Tata Projects, Jindal and L&T, we have now brought our innovative concreting solutions to India. I will sell as a package a total solution to our customers for structures, screeding and plastering applications.? He elaborates on the new range of machines from Kappa, ?As such there is a huge market opportunity for our new AERO 550 machines for any builder dealing with concrete contractors in shopping malls or large parking lots which require trimix which is a method wherein one lays the concrete, surface it and then de-water. In this machine, we add water in small quantity only to activate the cement particles. Major dewatering or vacuuming will not be required, thereby saving time, labour and money. This machine has been newly launched by Kappa in India. Earlier this was being manufactured in Europe as AERO 450. However, AERO 550 is a more robust machine fitted with a more powerful engine and screw compressor supplied by world renowned manufacturers.?

Impact of turnaround of realty sector
?Today most of the RMC plants are coming up in retail segments, and we have offered tailor made solutions in terms of control systems, MCI360, MCI400 and MCI550 are highly sophisticated, user-friendly and robust control system which is developed in-house by Schwing Stetter India. In the past decades the first computer based system introduced by Schwing Stetter India was MCI300 control system. Schwing Stetter batching plants with control system made a revolution in the concrete manufacturing industry. The system was so user-friendly even a non-technical operator could run the plant quite easily without any trouble,? says Sakthikumar.

He adds, ?MCI 550 control system is known for its robustness. The main advantage in the system is it doesn?t depend on any third party tool or editors to execute. This system is also known for its speed and accuracy. The state-of-the-art technology of the control systems and their reliable quality has helped Schwing Stetter India earn its place as the leader in the ready mix concrete equipment industry. In cities like Mumbai, where high strength concrete requirements are high, our equipment is custom built to take care of customer?s special need.?

Emerging technologies
Sakthikumar elaborates, ?Most of the initiatives taken in Schwing Stetter India are continuous and always there is an effort to make our productivity, efficiency and quality to improve consistently. In 2016, our transit mixer production facility has already been upgraded to a line production process. This will result in a lot of savings, time and effort in manufacturing the truck mixers.?

He further says, ?We will be pursuing to move our other products also to a line production method in the time to come. We have invested in many modern machines, in the recent past to improve the productivity. In case of energy management, our rooftop solar panels are supplying green energy and we are able to meet our office and administrative requirements with this power. We are not a polluting industry and we are already compliant with emission standards.?

?Fuel efficiency, longer parts life, using information technology and automation for operations and maintenance are the generalised innovations that we have noticed in the segment globally. Skilled labour shortage is also a growing concern with mechanisation,? he adds.

Next gen equipment features
Schwing Stetter India launched a slew of new products at Bauma Conexpo India 2016. These products are for different needs like batching concrete, transporting concrete, pumping concrete, recycling concrete and shortcreting concrete. ?We specially addressed the key focus areas of Government of India in the area of Clean India or Swachh Bharat and Skill India. Towards those goals, we will be displaying Smartec sludge pump, which will be of great help in projects like cleaning of Ganga, metro rail construction, waste water management and smart cities. Similarly, our training simulators will offer opportunity to the operators to move onto virtual experience and simulation to train them in safety and operation of concrete boom pumps. This will be a one step forward compared to the current learning with the graphics,?explains Sakthikumar.

Moving on to new products he informs, ?Also, we will be showcasing a heavy duty stationary pump SP 4507 for the first time. SP 4507 is a new development for the present trend of high rise pumping requirement especially in growing real estate markets like India and abroad. This new age pump bridges the gap between SP3800 and SP4800 capacity pumps. This will cater to high rise segment where the present challenges of pumping the mix with stiff consistencies at a faster rate to around 300 m vertically.?

?This year, we have launched five important products in all categories. We have launched our 240 cu m concrete batching plant, the biggest in India. We are launching two new models of concrete pump: one is 45 cu m per hour and 72 cu m per hour. We are also launching our range of transit mixers of 6, 7 and 8 cu m concrete carrying capacity with either a donkey engine or main engine with PTO. In addition, we are launching a new two tonne load carrying capacity, rack and pinion construction elevator. So, we are showcasing different technologies to establish the company?s complete range of concrete equipment,? informs Raj.

Shah highlights, ?Instead of bringing the VTM the truck mounted mixer, which is very expensive and the material is watery, we have to make use of the dewatering process. We have introduced AERO 550 equipped with JCB 75 HP engine and Gardener Denver, maintenance free screw air compressor. With the use of this machine we make our customers free from such problems because it has a hydraulic skip to load the materials, it can mix the material and shift up to 20th floor. This is a self loading - mobile batching plant for semi-dry and dry materials. It can also shift horizontally up to 120 -150 m which is very convenient and there is no loss of material.?

He further adds, ?The response has been beyond my expectations as this is a completely new concept for India. We have a machine working in Himachal. With this machine one does not need steel pipes as we provide equally strong but flexible rubber pipes. The delivery capabilities of up to 20 floors vertically and 150 m horizontally is achieved through the air delivery at the rate of 7,000 cu m per minute by the screw compressor and supplied through flexible rubber as the concrete reaches even the small areas of building without any hassles. The machine produces 5-6 cu m of concrete per hour which is equivalent to one transit mixer.?

This machine cannot be compared to boom pumps which are expensive equipment and having much higher delivery capacities. However, a machine costing only Rs 20-25 lakh is a very economical alternative for smaller buildings. This machine is mounted on a German chassis with inbuilt automatic braking system and can be towed on highways at speeds up to 160 kph.

Way ahead Says Sakthikumar, ?There is a process in Schwing Stetter in identifying the emerging requirements for our customers in different category of construction irrespective of their size. So, this process will help us to identify the commercially viable products that are required to be launched in the future.?

Raj mentions, ?We are setting up a manufacturing facility in the near future in NCR and a new R&D set-up in Western India. Being a Japanese equity company, our focus is on global supplies and exports. So, the Indian operations are being developed as a global sourcing hub. We are already exporting to 15 countries and will continue and increase our exports.?

Shah informs, ?Customers are responding very positively because traditionally they have to rely on transit mixers, concrete pumps and people for their concreting works. This is cumbersome and expensive. However, on viewing our innovative idea they feel that they will be free from all such worries by simply owning one such machine. Although theoretically our delivery capabilities are much higher we prefer to be conservative in our approach, till such time the product is proven in the market.?

He adds, ?Since 2012 we have been marketing our equipment directly from Gujarat to create awareness in India. This is unlike many others who use dealers and distributor networks. Through our adequate number of company engineers we provide service, maintenance and extensive training to our clients. Training is our main forte. As we go forward we will continue in the same manner as we find it to be the most effective approach to the market to make our clients have trust in us.?

Looks like that the stage has been set for Indian customers to be on the look out for new technologies and equipment capabilities in all types of concrete applications and derive rich benefits and profits by using the same.

Key features SP 4507
1.The pump develops 203 bar pressure on concrete and delivers an output of 54 cu m per hour in high pressure configuration.
2.The pump kit and rock valve of the SP 4507 each have their own hydraulic circuit. It helps to handle high grade mix. The full power of the pump kit will be available - regardless of the switching movements of the rock. This ensures a quiet pump behavior, high pumping capacity and protection of the components with less vibration.
3.The new generation ?rock? comes with high efficient energy transfer on the concrete.
4.New operator interface and emergency pressure release system will ensure safe operating environment.

Newly launched products by Schwing Stetter

1.Heavy duty stationary pump SP 4507
2.Transit mixer with pump TMP 32.6
3.Batching plant M30Z with Inline Silo.
4.Smartec sludge pump
5.Recycling plant RA20
6.Flat top tower crane XGT T80
7.Wheel loader LW180K
8.Truck mounted crane QY85KA-Y
9.Piling rig XR130E
10.Scissors aerial lift platform GTJZ10
11.Crank arm type aerial work platform GTBZ14J
12.Horizontal directional drilling machine XZ450 plus.