Time-bound projects demand highly efficient equipment
In the current scenario, most of the projects have become time-bound and have to be completed within the stipulated period. Due to this, expectation of the market has also changed especially in road segment. VG Sakthikumar, Managing Director, Schwing Stetter India, elaborates on the Schwing Stetter range of concreting equipment that can meet the specific demands from various projects.

What is the current market size of concrete equipment such as batching plants, pumps, mixers and pavers in India?
In India, on an average, around 1,500 concrete batching plants are sold from a minimum capacity of 15 cu m/hr to a maximum capacity of 240 cu m/hr. The market size of concrete pumps in 2018 was around 2,000 units. Self-loading concrete mixer market size is around 4,000 units per annum, while transit mixers constitute 7,000 units. During FY 2017-18, concrete pavers demand increased by around 55 per cent.

How do the applications of Stetter concrete batching plants vary with respect to the size and nature of construction projects?
Road, irrigation, river linking, ports, RMC, railways, metro rail, power (nuclear, thermal, solar, wind, hydro, gas-based), real estate and other community buildings are the major project applications for our product line. In the current scenario, most of the projects have become time-bound and have to be completed within the stipulated period. Due to this, expectation of the market has also changed especially in road segment.

Project like trans-harbour link road in Mumbai have special demand due to the nature of its construction. The selection of such plants becomes a very complicated job due to the high strength of concrete requirement which demands GGBS, microsilica and ICE that too on a barge. A lot of high-rise projects are also adding to the requirement of M70 to M100 grade of concrete, which require exclusive mixing time for all the ingredients.

What are the new design and technology trends in batching plants?
Our newly launched Stetter concrete batching plants M3 are available with twin-shaft mixer of 3 cu m capacity in mobile version for both inline silo configuration and compartment batcher configuration. Another newly launched product is Stetter concrete batching plant M25Z. New trends are demanding very fast erection and dismantling time. Customers are also demanding the plants which are modular in nature wherein they can take different outputs. Projects like Samrudhi Expressway have demands like 500 cu m in an hour at the pouring point of 16 m paver, which is a kind of world record on its own.

The industry is making a transition to a more innovative method by moving to intelligent systems driven by IoT and data analysis for networking, service and sustainability. OEMs are using advanced control systems in operator cabins, and the best aggregates/components to make machines that are highly productive, fuel-efficient and low on maintenance.

What are the new market opportunities in concrete batching plants?
India is the second largest manufacturer of cement in the World and the Government's focus on development of infrastructure projects has created a huge potential for concrete batching plants. Government of India is also trying to develop new segments such as affordable housing, micro irrigation, solid waste management, sports complexes, exhibition and cultural centres, which indicates the serious intent for infra building across the sectors. Even in the two-tier and three-tier cities, customers are ready to shun the traditional methods and going for mechanization of equipment which is also a big boost.

How do the applications of concrete pumps vary with respect to the size and nature of construction projects?
AWe can broadly classify concrete pump, based on usage like Ready Mix Concrete (RMC) market and project sites. RMC sites require small amount of concrete according to their plan, whereas large projects require large volume of concrete at shorter period. Also depending on the construction methodology of the customer and building height, the concrete mix will vary and higher heights require bigger concrete pumps with more powered engines.

What are the new design and technology trends in concrete pumps?
As construction is increasing in the urban areas, efficient ways to reduce noise pollution is the need of the day. Placing boom both mobile and stationary are the new technology trends. Concrete pumps with engines to meet latest emission standards and more fuel efficiency will be the customer requirement. Also improvements in the control system which are IoT-enabled. These control systems can give complete pump working parameters to the user over internet in real-time. This helps in better pump performance monitoring, better maintenance practices.

What are the challenges in concrete pumping? How far do you able to overcome these challenges?
Increased height of building requires high-pressure pump with pumping lines, clamps and their supporting systems to be designed and implemented for pumping high grade and heavy weight concrete. We are overcoming the challenge by developing high-strength materials, periodic and preventive maintenance of concrete pumps. Modern concrete pumps have evolved to handle mixes which have more fine contents and make them sticky in nature. Hence increase in pressure, output and improved hydraulics help in handling these tough mixes.

What are the new developments in self-loading concrete mixer products and technologies?
Slewing version of the machine is the new technology for the Indian market. Stetter self-loading mixer machine has a safety feature of three inter-lock systems for safe function/operation of axle gearbox. This machine is also equipped with an additional safety feature by using BODAS controlled drum pump, which helps to stop the drum rotation at - position, admixture dosing system and auto greasing system for maintenance of the machine. Stetter self-loading concrete mixer is used as concrete production and concrete transportation equipment for the project site where concrete needs to be produced and consumed within the project site with productivity at 100-150 cu m per day.

How is the market progressing for self-loading concrete mixers? What are the challenges and opportunities?
Stetter self-loading concrete mixer market is progressing steadily with year-on-year growth at 15 per cent. New application and entry into newer geographical locations are the opportunities. Skilled manpower availability to operate and maintain the machine is the major challenge.

What are the challenges faced by transit mixer segment?
The government has permitted higher axle loads for the trucks. We sincerely hope the roads are built to withstand the road condition. The regulation is imposed more stringently to stop further overloading beyond this relaxation. May be it is time for the government to look at the specification of road and road making machinery for more load bearing roads that lasts longer.

What is your outlook on the market for transit mixers?
Road, irrigation, river linking, ports, RMC, railways, metro rail, power (nuclear, thermal, solar, wind, hydro, and gas-based), real estate and other community buildings will always drive the concrete transit mixer business for the present and the future.

Stetter concrete transit mixer:
Technology trends
Schwing IoT Ready
CAN-based controller and multi-color display.
Elimination of conventional gauges.
Battery voltage.
Drum loading/ unloading status with graphical representation.
Drum RPM monitoring for increased drum life.
Number of drum rotations in CW and CCW direction.
Critical alarm messages in display.
Maintenance scheduling.
IoT integration for data analytics (optional).
Schwing IoT In
Reduced downtime.
Proactive maintenance.
Integrated GPS for live tracking.
Data analytics for machine efficiency monitoring.
Data storage with traceability/statistical reports.
Productivity status on cloud.