Indian Mining Equipment Industry
Construction and mining equipment cover a variety of machinery such as hydraulic excavators, wheel loaders, backhoe loaders, bull dozers, dump trucks, tippers, graders, pavers, asphalt drum / wet mix plants, breakers, vibratory compactors, cranes, fork lifts, dozers, off-highway dumpers , drills, scrapers, motor graders, rope shovels etc. They perform a variety of functions like preparation of ground, excavation, haulage of material, dumping/laying in specified manner, material handling, road construction etc. These equipment are required for both construction and mining activity.
With a wide production capacity base, India is perhaps the only developing country, which is totally self-reliant in such highly sophisticated equipment. India has only a few, mainly medium and large companies in the organized sector who manufacture these. The technology barriers are high, especially with respect to mining equipment and therefore the role of SME’s is restricted to manufacture of components and some sub-assemblies. Prior to the 1960s, domestic requirements of mining and construction equipment were entirely met by imports.
Domestic production began in 1964 with the setting up of Bharat Earthmovers Ltd. (BEML), a public sector unit of the Ministry of Defence, at Kolar in South India to manufacture dozers, dumpers, graders, scrapers, etc. for defence requirements under licence from LeTorneau Westinghouse, USA and Komatsu, Japan. In the private sector, the Hindustan Motors’ Earthmoving Equipment Division, was established in 1969 at Tiruvallur, near Chennai with technical collaboration from Terex, UK for manufacture of wheel loaders, dozers & dumpers. This factory has since been taken over by Caterpillar for their Indian operations. The machines manufactured by Caterpillar in the Tiruvallur factory are marketed by TIL and GMMCO. In 1974, L&T started manufacturing hydraulic excavators under license from Poclain, France. In 1980 and 1981, two more units, Telcon and Escorts JCB commenced manufacture of hydraulic excavators (under license from Hitachi, Japan) and backhoe loaders (under license from JCB, UK) respectively. Escorts JCB has been taken over by JC Bamford Excavators Ltd. U.K. in 2003 and is now called JCB India Ltd.
Volvo and Terex Vectra are the most recent entrants in the Indian market. Volvo has set up their manufacturing unit in Bangalore. At present they are only manufacturing tippers and the other equipment are imported from their parent company and marketed in India. Terex Corporation USA and Vectra Ltd. U.K. have formed a joint venture, which has started manufacturing construction equipment like backhoe loaders and skid steer loaders from May ’04 at Greater Noida with an investment of USD 12 million. Other equipment in the Terex range are being sold through their agents in India.
Most of the technology leaders like Case, Caterpillar, Hitachi, Ingersoll-Rand, JCB, John Deere, Joy Mining Machinery, Komatsu, Lieberr, Poclain, Terex, Volvo are present in India as joint venture companies, or have set up their own manufacturing facilities, or marketing companies. The industry has made substantial investments in the recent past for setting up manufacturing bases, despite small volumes and uneconomic scales of production compared to global standards.
In the mining sector, the leaders are: Wrigten, Atlas Copco, Liebherr, Joy Mining Machinery, Hitachi, Komatsu, Terex, Ranson & Rappier, Bucyrus Erie and DBT. Out of these companies, DBT does not have any technology transfer and neither is it manufacturing in India. Joy Mining Machinery has a small operation in India to manufacture spares and provide sales support. However, these are the two leaders in continuous mining and long wall equipment in the world.
In the case of mining equipment, the technology depends on the mining operations prevailing in the country. In India, open cast mining is much more popular than underground mining. Hence for the equipment required for open cast mining like dumpers, dozers, shovels, draglines and excavators, the level of technology of the equipment manufactured is at par with international standards except with respect to usage of electronic controls, hydraulic systems and engines adhering to the latest emission norms.
The major domestic companies are:
BEML is the largest local manufacturer of excavation machinery and has licensing arrangements with several foreign collaborators. HEC manufactures large walking draglines and electric mining shovels. BBUL, primarily a manufacturer of rail wagons and lifting cranes, is also manufacturing long wall support systems. Among the large manufacturers in the private sector, Hindustan Motors (HM) Ltd. produces dump trucks, dozers and loaders. The Tata Engineering & Locomotive Company (TELCO) Ltd. Produces large shovel-excavators, and bucket-loaders/dumpers. Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Ltd. manufactures hydraulic excavators, while the Delhi-based Escorts Ltd. makes dozers and other equipment in technical partnership with JCB of U.K.
The total number of small, medium and large suppliers of mining equipment and accessories in India exceeds 200. Many of these companies also export mining equipment and accessories to other developing countries. Many foreign companies including ones from the U.S. have established manufacturing facilities in India. While some equipment is manufactured in the country, the balance is imported from the parent country. Caterpillar and Ingersoll-Rand have big operations in India while U.S. companies like Joy Mining and Bucyrus are also doing considerable business in the country. By and large imports are confined to selective specialized mining equipment and account for about 35 percent of the total market. Future import opportunities for such specialized mining equipment are expected to grow with modernization of the existing mines and greater inflow of private investments. Several U.S. firms have done multi-million dollar business in India over the years.
The following indicates the market position for certain broad categories of equipment-