Following a hiatus for some time, crawler cranes demand is once again gaining traction, and driving manufacturers to widen their product offerings to include the lighter, medium, and higher capacity cranes. Demand is coming from windmill projects, urban infrastructure like roads and bridges, metro railway projects, ongoing expansions at airports and ports, maintenance work at crude oil refineries and petrochemical units, while pipeline network expansion is a new demand driver.
Liebherr Cranes IndiaLiebherr, which launched its new LR 1700-1.0 700-ton crawler lattice boom crane in June 2020, has been making deliveries since October 2020, and is seeing an encouraging response from rental companies in the US, namely, ALE, Buckner, and Biggie. In fact, both the 700-ton and the 1000-ton have been seeing demand from Europe, Korea, and Japan and USA, with acquisitions of the 800-ton as well. The company’s existing fleet in India includes 600-750-ton crawler cranes.
He adds, "With the hub heights of windmills in India becoming higher (above 130-140 meters) with heavier nacelle weights for 3.5 MW wind turbines (as being done by Suzlon, Vestas, Gamesa, and GE) the crane will find increasing use in India."
The new LR 1700-1.0, crane, built as per EN13000 standards, comes with variable counterweight the radius of which can be automatically adjusted by controls, based on the load that the crane will be lifting at the given radius. Equipped with standard safe load indicator systems, the crane can automatically calculate its inclination when working in windmill sites on hilly locations.
He informs that the leasing of cranes could be an option - both dry and wet - along with maintenance and operating support. Another strategy is to rent the cranes to hiring agencies who rent out to project contractors and to sub-contractors. However, direct renting will not be considered since many of Liebherr customers are rental companies.
Rental over purchase and leasing have been a good experience for Liebherr in selected parts of the world. Molankar expects that customers in India would also find this an attractive proposition considering the volatility in hiring rates. “Customers get adequate hands-on experience of using a premium, highly advanced Liebherr product without owning it, so much so that they may subsequently aspire to buy one,” he says.
However, Liebherr’s success in the leasing/renting business in India would depend on the given business scenario and the financial viability in the deployment of cranes and the estimated profitability in the current volatile market. Says Molankar, “We will have to associate closely with the leasing companies and the customers as we will be giving the required maintenance and other services to the users of our cranes. This will require the leasing companies to have a deep understanding of the existing market and requirements of our clients.”
To make its cranes more productive and powerful, Liebherr has equipped its Crawler Cranes with more advanced and fuel-efficient engines. The winch capacity of its 100-ton duty cycle crawler crane (HS 8100 HD) was enhanced from 25 to 27.5 tons. The 200-ton duty cycle crawler crane (HS 8200 HD) has been upgraded with new boom design, new software and features for safer and increased productivity. What’s more, Liebherr’s ‘Crane Planner 2.0’ offers state-of-the-art planning for lifting jobs and provides vital information like capacity of the crane, real time ground pressure, percent utilization and exceptional 3D view of the crane. In addition, it is very easy to alter the crane boom configurations and generate customizable reports in PDF formats that provide all information about the particular lift.
To widen its business footprint in India, Liebherr is focussing on its HS series duty cycle crawler cranes from 40 to 300 tons. These multipurpose hydraulic crawler cranes, with a single line pull of up to 70 tons can be used for a variety of applications with different attachments for diaphragm wall construction, foundation works, dredging, etc. Liebherr has supplied duty cycle crawler cranes to L&T and ITD Cementation for various applications. Liebherr also supplied a 200 t duty cycle crawler crane to Adani for dredging purpose amongst others.
Sany Heavy Industry India Pvt. Ltd.
According to him, demand for the higher capacity crawler cranes, which has been gaining traction, is set to gain momentum owing to the application demands, advanced technology & safety features, especially for jobs like WTG installations, complex infrastructure projects etc. The demand for medium capacity crawler cranes are is buoyant due to the sustained growth in energy, mining, and infrastructure projects, especially expansion in the refinery and wind energy industries.
Sany India’s new lift operating design of in its SCI2600A medium capacity crawler crane, makes it capable of higher lifting on long working radius. The modification has been done to meet the lifting requirement of shield machines used for subway construction and similar products. SCI2600A has an class leading maximum lifting moment of 1380 ton-meter with maximum boom lengths up to 86 meters.
Sany India’s clients include both the captive users and rental agencies. Says Saxena, “We help our customers in minimizing their cost of operations by making technological advancements in the cranes based on the application and service demands. We promise and deliver timely services and support, to ensure the maximum uptime of SANY cranes in the field. We have the best manpower training and up-skilling infrastructure for crane operation and maintenance in the country. We strive to empower our customers with the best product solutions and services to ensure their profitability and growth.
The company’s round the clock toll-free number is available for all customer queries related to sales and service. There are 6 regional offices and 18 service stations manned by maintenance experts, and for cranes working in remote locations.
SCHWING - XCMG India
The company is meeting the requirement for cranes with higher lifting capacities and longer working radius, informs Sakthikumar. “Load capacities vis a vis class of crane from XCMG have been well defined and designers for Bridges, Metros, Ports and so on take this into consideration while arriving at maximum single load to be lifted at any site. XCMG crawler cranes have advantages like ease of assembly, handling, and transportation. There is provision for gantry self erection system and boom pinning cylinders, which help in curtailing time and cost (which would be incurred in hiring smaller support cranes during assembly). All these advanced features improve our cranes’ productivity while keeping cycle times low.”
The maximum single unit weight of various XCMG crawler crane models during transport has been kept at optimal level to make use of the full capacity of the semi/low bed trailers being deployed for transport. This makes the cranes easier to transport. Plus, the integrated design (for ease of transporting) in XCMG cranes reduces assembly time, and nesting of smaller booms inside larger booms reduces the number of trailers required for transport.
“Our crawler cranes can be applied for various jobs from refinery construction to regular shutdown jobs that require lifting and reinstalling of heavier distillation columns. In windmill jobs, XCMG cranes offer options like stronger booms for higher hub heights. Here, special boom heads/vessel lifter attachments can be used for higher capacity and ease of operation,” informs Sakthikumar.
As regards safety, XCMG crawler cranes come with additional features like safe load indicator with overload prevention, wind speed alarm, alarm for operation on uneven ground, etc. The company has recently introduced a self-assembly counterweight system on its smaller crawler cranes. The company offers preventive maintenance and monitoring schedules and onsite health checks for its cranes so that they have minimum downtime.
Action Construction Equipment
ACE presently manufactures 40 and 75-ton crawler cranes for all types of applications that include piling, loading, unloading and general erection activities. Adds Agarwal, “As per the job requirements of lifting heavier loads, we have made some changes in the cranes’ structural design. To reduce their weight, while enhancing their strength, we have used steel of high tensile strength for the booms. We have ensured reliable and safer operations with components sourced from reputed manufacturers. Even the operator cabin has been made more modern and comfortable. Overall, the cranes are more mechanized, yet simple in design, and sturdy enough to suit even the most tough construction site requirements.”