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Construction : Focus | March 2017 | Source : Equipment India

Indian customers are gradually becoming safety conscious

AWPs are industry favourites since they enhance safety, productivity and convenience at customer´s work place. Rakesh Modi, Managing Director, Mtandt Group, shares more on the importance of AWPs and the market trends.

What are the advantages and importance of using AWPs in a project?
Aerial Work Platforms (AWPs) can make a difference in a company´s day to day operation. There is a broad spectrum of models with a variety of lift heights suitable for almost any work requirement. When choosing an aerial lift, some aspects to consider are indoor vs outdoor applications, vertical and horizontal reach of platform and lifting capacities.

Made for the purpose of lifting workers, tools and light materials, AWPs can move easily on the work site and provide safer access in hard-to-reach areas. The design of these lifts allow operator mobility and flexibility which increases efficiency. It also replaces the use of traditional ladders, man-baskets on lift trucks and scaffolds to make working at high elevations safer. Industries such as manufacturing plants, maintenance service providers, real estate management companies and warehouse and construction companies all utilise AWPs. Besides general construction, you will see aerial lifts being used to handle routine building maintenance, painting, trimming trees, installing rooftop HVAC services and inventory management.

What is the response from your customers and user industry on the use of AWPs? How serious is the user industry in India on utilising this equipment in their projects?

AWPs are industry favourites since they enhance safety, productivity and convenience at customer´s work place. Customers take safety quite seriously as norms are getting stringent day by day and even a small mishap could have big implication over the entire project. Without saying it goes, customer looks for equipment which can save considerable amount of time and easy to use.

Is cost a deterrent in choosing AWPs in projects? Do the users think that AWPs are luxury in projects in India where they can compromise on their use in order to reduce cost of operations?
Cost is not the only parameter customer considers while buying any capital equipment. It is a complex buying process and many factors are considered by an informed customer like time, safety, productivity and convenience. A cheaper looking solution may take huge time and manpower for installing, dismantling and transportation, above all, may not be the safest option available. A wise buyer will consider the overall cost saving, time saving and safety over the project lifecycle and chooses the option which satisfies all the parameters. No buyer will want to buy an option which is not safer to use as this may jeopardise the entire project.

How safety conscious are Indian customers in their operations? Do you think awareness is needed for the contractors/users? What are your initiatives towards this?
Indian customers are gradually becoming safety conscious and nowadays many companies have a separate safety department headed by a safety officer. We, being safety and work at height expert, provide training to the customers and introduce them to the latest safety practices and products used internationally. This initiative of Mtandt is welcomed in the industry and now many corporate clients even want their suppliers/contractors to be trained by us.

What are the challenges you face in Indian market regarding the acceptance of new technologies and developments happening in the AWP segment?
India is a labour-intensive market where labour is available at very affordable rates. There are no proper guidelines for workman safety in place and there are varied kind of regulatory issues in different states. Also, availability of trained manpower who qualifies to work at height is very less.

The driving force and implementation of safety norms pertaining to the use of used equipment is still not upgraded from the government´s side. Availability of used equipment and lack of proper safety regulations make them unsafe to use at workspace.

How far the government initiatives such as Skill India help improve the situation?
Government has taken a good initiative to connect the people with the experts who can impart skill that is much needed in the industry. We are also in talk with the Union Government for a collaboration and make the working at height training programmes most widely available. With such initiatives, definitely, availability of trained manpower who qualifies to work at height will improve, resulting in enhance safety at workplace.

What are the major growth drivers of AWPs in India? How do you look at the current market trend?
The market expects to grow exponentially in the upcoming years as there are many projects lined up in the awarding stage. Also, increase in safety demands and limited availability of skilled labours give spurt to the powered access platforms and other aerial work platforms.

Compared to the US, Europe and other developed countries like Japan and Singapore, the Indian AWP market is still in the process of maturing in terms of knowledge, use and the importance of the equipment. Even there is wide disparity between man-machine ratio in India, as compared to USA and Europe.

What are the growth prospects you foresee for this industry in the short to medium term?
We believe major driver for AWP market growth in India is exponential growth in infrastructure segment. Increase in demand for safe working practices expect to take the AWP market to new heights.

PRODUCTS & SERVICES OFFERED Mtandt is popularly know as ´The man lift and material lift company´ as the entire product range revolves around equipment used for safe lifting of man and material. Mtandt do sales and rental of the following equipment:

Man Lifting Equipment:

  • Boom Lift {Straight Boom, Articulated Boom (Diesel/Electric)}
  • Scissor Lift (Diesel, Electric, Push Around)
  • Truck-mounted Boom Lift
  • Spider Lift
  • Self-propelled Mast Boom Lift
  • Vertical Lift (Personnel Lift)

Material Lifting Equipment:
  • Order Picker
  • Telehandler
  • Truck loader Crane
  • Hook Loader
  • Mini Crawler Crane
  • Duct Lifter
  • Glass Lifter

Mtandt also imparts comprehensive training to operators for pre-start inspection, operation and following the safe work practices.

Cost benefit is a key factor - renting equipment instead of owning it removes a sizeable burden from a contractor´s asset register.

The significant price inflation in recent years associated with buying new machinery, when new engine regulations have pushed equipment prices higher, makes the prospect of renting even more attractive.

Renting gives contractors access to the most modern, safe and environmentally friendly equipment without the capital outlay. And as far as the rental companies are concerned, having the most up-to-date, reliable equipment on offer is of key strategic importance, and they spend a lot of money to make sure their fleet is in the best condition for rental.

Renting equipment means that contractors not only have on-demand access to the most advanced machines on the market, but they also avoid the cost and efficiency pitfalls of in-house servicing and maintenance.
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