Divisional Head-Mobile Crane Division,
Our Vario-base plus provides more flexibility in terms of load lifting in constrained work place.
The forecast of the growth demand of the mobile crane and its rental segments is highly divided. We are yet to form standard rules for crane life and safety due to which there is a dangerous mix of used and new cranes supply by hirers and crane manufacturers, says Subhajit Chandra, Divisional Head- Mobile Crane Division, Liebherr India Excerpts from the interview…
What is the demand – supply scenario of hydraulics mobile cranes?
On the basis of type and material lifting, the Indian mobile crane market is segmented in to all terrain cranes, rough terrain cranes, crawler cranes and truck cranes. All terrain dominates the market owing to growth in the construction sector across the globe and in India due to his versatility and operation efficiency. Use of heavy duty mobile crane in Indian industries is a sign of increase in investments in construction, cement, steel, wind and power sectors. The market for all terrain cranes is predicted to accelerate owing to the expansion of cement plants, construction industry, infrastructure projects and the increased business potential of ship building and repair industry. Also, the increasing competition in the market is expected to drive further the crane rental rates resulting in overall growth of all terrain crane revenue share.
Which of these sectors are expected to drive the demand?
Cranes will be required for the metro project for general erection as well as for heavy lifts involving lifting and lowering of TBM sections through the shafts. Greenfield nuclear power projects are also expected to be a major driver for medium capacity mobile and crawler cranes in the medium term. The government is laying major emphasis towards development of nuclear power projects across the country. Power generation capacity is at various stages of implementation in the country. The government has set an ambitious target to set up additional Greenfield capacity in the years to come. It is keenly looking to set up atomic energy facility in Haryana. Punjab is also strongly on the radar of the government.
Which are the verticals Liebherr’ presence is very strong?
The Liebherr crane comes with sophisticated technology and human safety is our utmost priority since crane is the high tonnage lifting equipment. Acceptance of Liebherr crane is in niche segment where safety is the priority. We cater reasonable amount of market share in India for our tyre mounted mobile crane and crawler crane. Liebherr has been supplying cranes in India for a few decades and we have captured almost all the major heavy duty segment in India. Currently more than 600 Liebherr cranes are working in India. Wind sector is quit dependent on Liebherr crawler cranes for heavy duty operation and that too safety is the major concern in such critical jobs. Liebherr is the most preferred crane in wind energy segment. The most preferred segment for Liebherr all terrain cranes in India is cement industry. Due to the excellent quality of our product and our continued in-time after sales support acceptability of our all terrain cranes in cement and oil & gas segments is higher.
What are the technological upgrades from your range of cranes?
We make sure that we provide the customer very updated crane to cater full load operation and we are so flexible that further upgrades can be done, if need be, by customer in the future. Product development is a continuous process and should be open for customer preferences. To give an example, our Liebherr patterned Vario-base is updated with Vario-base plus which is again providing more flexibility in terms of load lifting in constrained work place. All such upgradations are informed to customers timely.
What has been the impact of leveraging the benefit of digital platforms in the mobile crane segment?
As digital platform achieves an effective level of integration and flexibility, it will be cost-effective over time. It is becoming increasingly important to interact with customer at every stage. We are educating customer through our ‘e-learning’ program where customers are educated through online training programs which are more cost effective to customer.
Our ‘3D Work Planner’ gives a clear load lifting plan to operator which avoids load lifting mistakes and does not compromise on human safety. Operator is provided required inputs to get the final safe load lifting.
Liebherr also has started SMS (Service Messaging System), and with the help of this, our service engineers get updated technological inputs during commissioning or any break down. The work done also can be observed by the concerned team from factory.
Give us a brief us on some of the significant features in your range of cranes?
The space available on sites is often constricted. Many times it becomes impossible to extend all the outriggers of the mobile crane evenly. VarioBase from Liebherr allows the crane to be used safely and flexibly in these difficult conditions. The increased safety and ease of use take the strain off the crane operator who can concentrate fully on the hoist. The enhanced range and lifting capacity means that the system’s capacity has also been improved.
VarioBase is a unique system which enables each individual crane support to be extended to an arbitrary length. The load moment limiter within the LICCON control ensures that the crane can operate safely. This prevents accidents by human error during both the set-up and when hoisting loads. VarioBase also increases lifting capacities and extends the working range, and not just on constricted sites.
Liebherr has an in-house developed intelligent crane control system. Could you elaborate on that?
Liebherr mobile cranes are controlled precisely using intelligent technology. The LICCON computer system is at the heart of all this. Liebherr designs and produces the software and hardware for the mobile crane control in-house. Our specialists continue to work on the development of the control’s architecture to meet the ever growing demands of the market. Flexible control system from a single source LICCON (Liebherr computer control) is the most modern computer system in the world for controlling and monitoring mobile cranes. All the key components, including the software, have been developed by Liebherr in-house. This enables us to guarantee reliability, quality and future spare parts availability. The crane control with integral LML load moment limiter meets the very highest safety standards. The electronic control system is tailored individually to each crane. Its freely programmable nature means that it can be adjusted flexibly to suit individual requirements. Particularly important in practice use: The Liebherr crane control is insensitive to ambient influences such as extreme temperatures.
What are the design upgrades on the telescopic boom systems?
Liebherr telescopic boom systems are designed for performance and economy. Technologies developed in the company have been proven in practice and have become established on the market. The appropriate crane can be configured quickly using flexible additional equipment. Liebherr quickly established itself as the industry pioneer in the field of boom technology. Our concepts relating to telescopic booms have bench market the industry standards. Liebherr has a clear focus on R&D. The Telematik single-cylinder telescoping system pushes the various telescoping sections into the required lengths fully automatically. The crane driver controls and monitors the process on the LICCON monitor in the crane cab. The large number of extension versions enables enhanced lifting capacity properties for a very wide range of requirements.
Tell us about the steps initiated to upgrade the skill sets of technicians and operators?
The operators training shall be provided together by OEM’s (Original Equipment Manufacturers) i.e. Liebherr Werk Ehingen GmbH Via Liebherr India –MCD and ‘Skill India’ authorized body. This training will be on simulators manufactured in Germany especially prepared for such purposes. Proper completion of the course would enable them to understand crane better and get confidence to do the trouble shooting if required. Due to increase in infrastructure development, number of cranes is also increasing which will create additional pressure on trained operators. Hence we came up with the idea of training them on simulator alongside with classroom training’s with proper training materials. We wish to use logo of ‘Skill India’ on our training certificate which will surely increase the proposition of the certificate.
Tell us about the service back up provided by your company.
We are able to support the customer in-time with best after sales support and easy accessibility. In India we have a total population of over 600 Liebherr mobile cranes and we are promptly providing service to all these cranes. We have expert service engineer’s team in place and providing spare and service in all over India. Liebherr provide timely operators training to the customer and technological upgrades in crane has been informed to customers as on when required during service support. In totality we maintain the notion of reliable partners in business.
What are the growth prospects from the rental segment?
In India the situation of rental market is changing drastically which is really alarming for rental companies and eventually mobile crane manufacturer. When it comes to mobile cranes in India, there has been a marked increase in interest but a significant drop in rental rates over the last couple of years – partly due to intense competition and the large quantity of machines flooding the market. There are too many rental companies with crawler cranes and the rates have come down substantially.
The forecast of the growth demand of the mobile crane and its rental segments is highly divided. We are yet to form standard rules for crane life and safety due to which there is a dangerous mix of used and new cranes supply by hirers and crane manufacturers. However, hiring rates are expected to remain stable due to the upcoming projects; this can be assessed from the fact that majority of the medium and large size crane hiring companies are open to acquisitions of both new and well-maintained used mobile and crawler units. Upcoming energy pipeline projects across the country, expansion of the hydrocarbon sector in the north-western part of the country, wind sector and roads and infrastructure projects will be good lift for rental market.
What is the scenario look like when it comes to the import of used cranes?
The Indian market has plenty of capacity to accommodate domestic and overseas suppliers, that too, new and used cranes. Eventually, the end users will be happy to have so much choice on the open market. However, the trends in the used crane market are much to be desired as health of the machine and safety norms are not complied with. The major cranes import happening in India is from Europe and USA market for used cranes but again the service provided to such cranes through OEM based in India and the authenticity of such cranes’ age and safety is still questionable. The used crane market requires a set of structured standards to follow the safety rules which will not comprise safety.