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CRUSHING AND SCREENING - Await good times.

Crushing and Screening is one of the most important activity of the Infrastructure segement.It caters to the infrastructure sector covering highways, roads, bridges, airports, buildings and almost everything where a significant amount of construction gravel and sand is needed.

The most sought after Plant/Equipment for the Crushing and Screening solutions are:
• Cone Crushers. • Jaw Crushers. • HSI Crushers. • VSI Impact Crushers. • Screen & Feeders. • Gyratory Crushers. • Plant Solutions.

In recent past there is a spurt of demand in Crushing and Screening plant/equipment not only in India but across the globe.

The demand for mining equipment is soaring across the globe and India will remain a beneficiary of this ride. A study says the world mining equipment sector can grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 7.9 per cent between 2016 and 2022, to reach a value of over US$150-billion by 2022. The study also indicates China will continue to be the largest national market; India will rank as the fastest growing.

Crushing and screening industry is both labour-oriented and capital-intensive. Hence, it is important to maintain large production lines as well as a large labour force. The sector is also responsible for providing direct employment to over five lakh people who work in areas such as mining, crushing and transporting of mined stones and crushed products. Owing to the hazardous nature of the work, manufacturers are required to adhere to stringent safety standards. In order to increase market share in this unorganized sector, companies are spending higher on R&D activities to innovate and upgrade themselves technologically. Alongside, they are also maintaining a wider product portfolio. Manufacturers are also looking at the merger and acquisition routes to increase footprint across the globe.

Like every other industry, the onset of technology has left its indelible footprint on the crushing and screening equipment makers. The basic equipment has now been replaced by modern machines that offer high cost-to-crush ratio. The static plants, which take days to set up and dismantle, have slowly become obsolete with the advent of portable devices with higher capacity. These mobile crushing and screening equipment are increasingly becoming popular among customers who witnessed the high amount of savings and higher levels of productivity. Such equipment solved the logistical problem too of setting up and dismantling of plants.  The present demand of the quarry operators is also shifting for mobile crushers that can be used at multiple sites. 

There is also a shift in the design of the equipment with demand rising for split chassis models that could be deployed in any kind of terrain – including hilly or sandy areas.

Over the years, most manufacturers have also realized that doubling up as solution providers over the lifecycle of the equipment make greater economic sense. While productivity has always been the objective, equipment offering low cost to crush has a far superior chance of being deployed. It is often desired that a single machine handles the entire crushing process. 

The crushing market in India is still fragmented. As of 2015-end, there were around 15,000 crushing units functional in India. Since most of them want their return on investments to break-even in three-five years instead of the earlier norm of 10 years, the demand pattern is changing. The new customer buying habit now is guided by the benefits of time-bound projects and is demanding better quality with higher safety standards, which are offered by multinational players. 

The trend is also getting inclined towards equipment makers who provide holistic services. Tuning into market demand, many players have scaled up plant capacities. Additionally, many of them have also embarked on strategic collaborations to survive in the ecosystem.
However, despite the competition, there exist many small players in the market who are using obsolete technology. Such machines are cheaper to buy, but as they age, the cost of ownership tends to go up. 

According to sources, the construction equipment industry can grow as much as six-fold to US$20 billion by 2022. Since nearly a quarter of total construction equipment share is spent on crushing, screening, and aggregate plants, this industry is among the key beneficiaries of the building boom. According to a report published in March 2016, the Indian market for crushing and screening equipment industry can grow by 16-18 per cent to clock an annual turnover of `5,000 crore or over US$1 billion in next three years.

The rising cost of raw materials is a major hurdle facing the crushing and screening industry. Setting up a crushing unit involves high cost and in many cases unavailability of raw material on time only adds to the cost. Another challenge facing this industry involves strict government regulations. Ban on mining activities in the past had dealt a severe blow to the industry. Since environmental issues involving quarries in various states are yet to be entirely resolved, overall demand will continue to suffer. In particular, crushing units that are functioning without the “official consent” from the Pollution Control Boards are in real danger of being closed down. Moreover, there is a dearth of skilled and trained personnel because of which the industry hires a large number of unskilled daily labourers to carry out the operations. 

Presently, India is in the middle of infrastructure development supported by the current government. The coming years will see massive development work related to the construction of bridges, roads and buildings across India, which in turn will drive the growth of the crushing and screening equipment industry. Lately, several projects that were stuck at various levels have been given much-awaited clearances. 

With the Finance Budget 2016-17, and emphasis of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on building of 10,000 km of national highways, up gradation of 50,000 km of state highways and allocation of a whopping `97,000 crore to the road sector, the demand for crushing equipment in the immediate future will surely go up.

The 'Make in India' is another initiative of the present government that will have a far-reaching impact on the crushing industry. Thus the industry leaders are now drawing up strategies to involve quick plant deliveries, easy scalability, and mobile crushing solutions that promise minimum relocation costs.a