Paving the way ahead
While recent times may have been tough on construction equipment manufacturers, the compactor market is still brimming with optimism.
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.

Demand drivers
Key factors driving the compaction equipment market include rapid urbanisation, rise in the development of transportation infrastructure, demolition of old sites, and 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 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 its 15° drum oscillating angle, 37° 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 all 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.

Nowadays, due to stringent government mandates and consumer preference for connected vehicles, the adoption of telematics is on the rise. As the maintenance for the 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 have introduced machine monitoring services last year. 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.”

While recent times may have been tough on construction equipment manufacturers, the industry still is brimming with optimism. With competition becoming intense, manufacturers [too] are faced with the challenge to innovate. The entry of several global leaders in the field is a welcome development since it brings in the latest technology into the market. With major players having gained a solid presence in the Indian market, the next few years could see them further consolidating their position by bringing out newer models. With increased collaboration among construction equipment manufacturers and rental fleet owners, the products are being designed as per the customer’s needs. Despite the presence of competition problems, due to the global recovery trend, investors are still optimistic about this area and the future will still have more new investments entering the field. Some of the manufacturers dealing with compactors are JCB India, Writgen, Hamm, Volvo CE, Escort, Case Construction, Ammann, Atlas Copco and many others.

“India has great potential to be an export hub for compactors.”

What is the current market size of compactors in India? 
The market size of compactors is estimated at 4,200-4,300 machines in the current financial year. This is still significantly lower than the market size during the pre-pandemic levels, when the demand touched a high of 5,800. From April 2021 onwards, the compactors have undergone an emission norm upgrade to achieve CEV-IV compliance. There has been a substantial increase in the cost structure following this change in the emission norms and with the steep increase in steel prices, manufacturers had no option but to pass on the price increase to end customers. This has certainly dampened the demand. Further, the pace of road construction has also slowed down this year compared to similar corresponding period last FY. We were hoping that Q4 will be better, but the Covid-wave 3 has further impacted sales adversely.

How do you assess the growth potential for compactors in India? 
The potential for compactors is high in India, with a large demand for actual execution of the road construction works underway in Bharatmala and other state and central projects envisaged in NIP. The compactors are also deployed extensively in railway embankment construction, besides new railway projects, which are on the anvil, will spur the demand for compactors.
ICEMA (Indian Construction Equipment Manufacturers Association) in its Vision 2030 report envisaged that the compactor market by 2030 would more than double from the current levels. This demand would further get fuelled as the contracts would be required to be completed within specified time-frames. India being a tropical country with a heavy rainfall,  the black top on the road deteriorates fast, this needs re-carpeting periodically which in turn fuels the demand for the machines. The demand for compactors for handling  solid waste management is also likely to go up in the market.

What are the latest offerings in your product range?
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 Tandem compactor, L&T 990 a few months later. The L&T 491 mini compactor was introduced during 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.

What are the upcoming digital technologies in compactors?   
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 the 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 which is offered on L&T soil compactors and this helps the operator in knowing if the desired levels of compaction has been achieved.

How do you look at the future of compactors in India?
India has a great potential to be an export hub for the compactors. Many large multinationals already use India as a base for the export market. The ICEMA report envisages that atleast 15-20 per cent of the production could be targeted for export by the year 2030. The rental markets for compactors will also grow significantly in the years to come and is a trend which will continue to grow in the Indian market.