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Construction : Equipments | September 2015 | Source : Equipment India

Passenger-cum-Material (PM) Hoists

Rack and pinion type PM hoists or construction hoists are the comparatively new crop of construction equipment, which have appeared on the Indian skyline over the past decade. Although this equipment has significant presence in the rental space, the used hoists have still to find a place in the used equipment market, finds EQUIPMENT INDIA.

Available information collected from various sources reveals that approximately 2,000-3,000 units of construction hoists are operational in India. They are mainly deployed in construction of multi-storied buildings and structures of heights above 75 m. Some special hoists are also used in construction and maintenance of large cooling towers, chimneys and special high-rise marine structures like the main pylons of the famous Bandra-Worli sea link in Mumbai.

´One-tonne capacity, single-cage PM hoist is the most popular among Indian real estate developers, closely followed by 1.5 tonne capacity hoists,´ says Vikram Mehta, Managing Director, Spartan Engineering Industries. He adds, ´There are a few numbers of two tonne or higher capacity PM hoists with twin-cage configuration which are utilised only in construction of high rise buildings above 175-250 m in height.´

On the other hand, Rambabu Cheruvu, Managing Director, ConMech Auto Consultants Pvt Ltd, a dealer of PM hoists explains, ´Indian customers are characteristically cost conscious by nature. As such, most Indian manufacturers and suppliers initially focused on supplying economy, one tonne-capacity, single-cage PM hoists travelling on triangular masts, to our markets. That is how this configuration gained popularity.´ With experience, most buyers now only opt for square masts for both single and twin cage hoists.

Over a period of time, many premium brands like Alimak Hek, Geda, Electro Elsa, Liftec Korea and others have also made a strong presence in India for PM hoists. The rest of the market is flooded with a horde of Chinese manufacturers.

Market dynamics
To begin with, used PM hoists are not available in the Indian market as of date. Current market for new equipment is around 1,000 units annually, which is in line with the country´s demand as compared to 30,000 units in China. For example, we manufacture around 500 units annually, imports by Alimak, Geda etc would be in the range of 100 units, while Universal and Alicraft produce another 50 units. The rest of the demand is met by Chinese suppliers.

Currently, the product life cycle is in its initial stage, more than 50 per cent of the customers are still first-time buyers. As such, the market is still in consumption mode. Owing to paucity of funds with the builders, the rental market is growing. However, refereeing to used equipment, the problem areas can be described as below. Safety is of prime importance for PM hoists. It is very difficult for used buyer to accurately assess the proper functioning and available life of critical safety features like centrifugal brake which is triggered to arrest the cage in the event of a free fall, overload sensors, variable frequency drives, and self-braking geared motors. It should be noted that these items are the core of equipment and are costly items. The equipment is subjected to high level of abuse during operation, especially caused by regular transportation of building materials to higher levels of the structure, during construction. Later, the same cages are used to transport finishing materials like marble or granite slabs, tiles etc.

Since these are used in open air, different weather conditions take a heavy toll of the masts, anchors, cages and other steel components. Quality of maintenance is highly questionable. Proper maintenance records are not maintained by most users. As a result of above few critical factors, buying used hoist is a major risk. Secondly, the cost of refurbishment exceeds 50 per cent of the original cost, making it economically unviable.

Almost as a general rule, after an average use of the hoist for an initial period of 5-7 years, the equipment is reduced to scrap and is sold as same by most owners. Very rarely, few owners offer used hoists in very good or fully acceptable condition. These sell like hot cakes at attractive price realisation by the sellers.

In view of this situation, currently the market for used PM hoist is non-existent and it would be prudent to revisit the same after a few years, join in both Mehta and Rambabu.

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