Technology has always been a growth driver in the development of world economy. Globally, the knowledge developed over the years on new technologies has catalysed the growth journey of various sectors. India has in the recent past pushed hard towards new developments and innovations in various segments using the platform of technology. This is evident especially in automotive industry with the concepts of electro-mobility, autonomous solutions, telematics etc. Construction industry in India however, was slow in adapting to these new concepts and acquiring knowledge on these solutions. This may be due to the low awareness and reluctance to invest more in such technologies. But over the years, things are changing as many construction contractors are looking for new technologies and solutions that increase the productivity at projects. Government has also come out with mandates on using machines at project sites. People are now aware of the real benefits of these technologies with the knowledge gained gradually. The investment in these technologies can get a better return in the long run by way of optimum utilisation of the machines with minimum downtime and quality output.
Emerging technology trends
Technology is evolving in India in every sector though at varying pace. In the manufacturing sector, Industry 4.0 is picking up pace with many companies implementing the concept in their manufacturing operations."The implementation of Industry 4.0 concepts is a development and change journey for any country, even though the initial phase will have limited impact. India stands at the door step of transformation of age-old practices to adapt new practices fulfilling the market demands and effectively utilising the abundant human resource," says Nitin Lall, General Manager, Industrial Technique Customer Center, Atlas Copco India.
Construction equipment rental business is very small in India and is largely unorganised. The scope for technology disruption in equipment rental is very low in the current scenario. However, with many young entrepreneurs coming into the segment and the organised big players are developing their business, new technologies are slowly finding place in rentals also. iQuippo, a major equipment rental and auction player in India, is trying to build a digital platform for the construction equipment provider and buyer to effectively connect online for their needs. Anant Raj Kanoria, CEO elaborates, "We are building our technology in a way that people who have equipment lying idle and people who require equipment can be connected immediately so that downtime in between jobs are reduced. And with the use of IoT devices, the billing can also happen automatically rather than manual log-books being kept."
Over the years, the construction equipment industry in India has grown to become an important market globally. Technology is evolving in the Indian CE market with digitalisation picking up across the equipment segments. "We are currently in the process of rolling out telematics to our fleet of truck-mounted concrete pumps. Later in the year, there will be some further announcements related to our line of stationary pumps. We are also working on developing solutions for new technologies such as 3D printing," says Wilfried Theissen, Managing Director, Putzmeister India. According to VG Sakthikumar, Managing Director, Schwing Stetter India, There is a general shift in the construction industry approach in accepting newer technologies in their various operations. Schwing Stetter offers a range of digital technologies along with its products. Sakthikumar elaborates, "Schwing Stetter India stepped into networking of batching plants in 2009 which was the beginning of IoT. The integration of production data to ERP was initiated in 2009 and now the process data is hosted into the cloud and the customer is provided with the dashboard to monitor the real-time productivity, efficiency and the alerts that is generated during production. Schwing Stetter also facilitates customer by triggering email notification of the critical alerts to the respective stake (configured) holder. The available equipment fleet can be monitored in a single dashboard. Legacy control (our old equipment) needs some retrofitment for effective data mapping."
Advancements in components New technologies are playing important roles in the evolution of CASH (components, accessories, spares and hardware) industry over the years. For example, diesel engines are one of the major happening segments now with the new emission norms around the corner. All engine manufacturers have geared up to the latest emission regulations in the country with the updated engine designs and components. Electronics and digitalisation play a major role in this scenario. Rajesh R, Vice President - Power Solutions Business, Ashok Leyland claims, "For the automotive segment, we have implemented a well-connected, innovative and intelligent vehicle monitoring system "iAlert" and "e-diagnostics". As part of our BS CEV IV migration strategy, we can leverage the same technology based on customer-specific requirements for digital monitoring and diagnostics."
Filters play a major role in the upkeep of machines with efficient filtration solution. With the new emission regulations to be implemented soon it is imperative using suitable filters in machines to meet the requirements. Vishwas Gawade, Director - Engineering Filter Elements, Mann and Hummel India says, "Our global know-how in filtration products helps to continuously bring new technology to Indian market such as three-stage water separation, brake dust filter, fine dust eater and urea filters, which would be critical for new emission norms in India, while our wide product portfolio has tremendous potential to meet the ever-increasing demand in Indian market for filtration."
Hydraulics play an important role in construction equipment though electric power is gaining some prominence in the global market. Shandar Alam, Managing Director, Hydraulics & Vehicle Business-India, Eaton is of the view, "From an engineering perspective, the challenge is to increase the efficiency of the product without increasing the cost and make it lighter and compact. We want to make the machines lighter to reduce fuel consumption and smaller to save space. Electrification is the buzzword today and we offer a range of electro-hydraulic products also."
With monitoring and control technologies are gaining more prominence in construction equipment worldwide, technology providers are working on to introduce new solutions while upgrading the existing monitoring and control technologies. In the recently concluded Conexpo 2020 in USA, technology players such as Trimble have showcased new solutions.
In spite of the present slowdown in the infrastructure equipment market, the long term growth prospects are still intact. Infrastructure development planned on a big scale in the country is a major growth driver and prudent steps from the government can bring India back on the growth trajectory. There will be need for quality machines with innovative features. According to Theissen, the push for higher productivity, for rigorous timelines and green construction will result in more innovation and creativity in the medium term. With productivity and efficiency gaining traction in project execution, Tech-Knowledgy is the Way Forward.