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Construction : Special Focus | February 2016 | Source : Equipment India

Path Breakers

The upcoming and ongoing infrastructure development projects and expansion projects, along with the increased mining activities, have driven the growth of rock breakers.

As the name indicates, rock breaker attachments are mainly used to break rocks, reinforced concrete and non-reinforced concrete, etc. These are suitable for both primary and secondary applications in quarries as well as in mines. The major application areas of rock breakers are project works, foundation works, mine demolition works, road construction works, trenching, tunnelling, bench levelling, general construction works and other demolition works, etc.

Selection criteria
The selection criteria for rock breakers depend on the application. According to Jinesh Jain, Director - Marketing, Indus Rock Tools, the parameters determining the selection of a rock breaker are the rock density, quantum of work and the cost/cu m or cost/tonne. Pankaj Kumar, Vice President - Equipment Sales, Dozco (India) Pvt Ltd elaborates on the selection criteria, "The parameters involved in selecting rock breakers for a project are quality, reliability, productivity, cost-effectiveness, spare parts availability and most importantly, after-sales support. The size, type and make are also selected as per the characteristics of the material to be broken, like its hardness, compressive and tensile strength, etc. Accordingly, the applicable excavator size is also selected. The diameter and type of chisel (tool) is also selected based on application like primary/secondary demolition, trenching, tunnelling, scaling etc."

According to Premal Marfatia, Business Development Manager, Mehta Earthmovers, the most important parameter for selecting a rock breaker is to know the type of soil/rock to determine the most appropriate rock breaker for the application.

Demand drivers
Since rock breakers find application in almost every construction and mining project, the demand is also immense. There is a further growth in demand expected for rock breakers due to the growth in construction activities - many infrastructure projects have taken off and many are in the pipeline. Manish Thombre, Senior Business Development Manager, Fine Equipments India Pvt Ltd, finds, "Majority of the market is price driven and more emphasis is on low initial cost."

"The growth in economy and demand for aggregates, implementation of projects and growth in the mining sector as well as the demolition sector are driving the demand for rock breakers. In the mining sector, which is being governed by strict environment laws the trend of blast-free mining is being imposed, where the work is being executed by rippers, splitters and rock breakers," says Jain.

"By the growth and development in infrastructure sector in India, the demand for rock breakers and other construction equipment has grown dramatically in the last three-four years. The market for this equipment is certainly going to increase with the upcoming projects," observes Kumar. He adds, "Rock breakers are widely accepted in the demolition market. With the growth in the sales of excavators and backhoe loaders, the demand for rock breakers is also rising."

According to him, use of latest technologies for projects, faster completion of jobs, quality products, and after-sales support are the major drivers for the growth of this segment.

Emerging technology trends
The demand for faster completion of projects and the quest for cost efficiency and productivity in various activities have driven the major equipment manufacturers to introduce new technologies and features in their product range. Thombre elaborates, "Use of better quality alloys in the wearable parts of the breaker is needed so as to reduce the overall weight. New additions like anti-blank firing, hour meter on the equipment, adaptability for under-water applications, optimum usage of polyurethane pads etc, and major thrust on after care are emerging as new trends." Jain elaborates, "Enhancement in technology like auto stop, auto lubrication, anti-blank firing, better metallurgy, and strong build have made the rock breaker''s owning and operating costs more affordable. The focus in the future will be in producing breakers with more impact energy and less fatigue to the base machine. There has been considerable improvement in reduction of noise levels by providing dampers and close silent type housing body."

Kumar states, "Dozco is always associated with advancement and technology. We are also focusing on R&D. Recently, Dozco has developed an advanced series of rock breaker with æno rigid side bolts', which ensures low maintenance and operating cost. Advanced dampening system is improved to minimise shocks, noise level and vibration. Dozco is adding new features in its existing products as well as making the required technical changes to make things best suitable for different applications." According to Marfatia, "The emerging technology trends in rock breakers play a very important role in the operation activities, by giving more output, thereby increasing profitability. The various features include the silent-type breakers, special quality spares/tools, that increase productivity and reduce maintenance breakdown."

Less power, more impact
"Dozco advanced series rock breakers are operated by both hydraulic and pneumatic systems. By Pascalæs principle, ''a multiplication of force can be achieved by the application of fluid pressure'. The revolutionary hydraulic circuit operates the piston reciprocation and generates energy and the back head store of nitrogen gas generates impact energy. High pressure diaphragm accumulator is installed in Dozco 2000A, 2200A, 3200A and 5000A. This eliminates pressure fluctuation and increases the impact power," states Kumar.

Marfatia claims, "We would rate our KOMAC rock breakers as the most effective in giving optimum productivity, in terms of less hydraulic input power and maximum input performance."

According to Thombre, "Majorly the power is derived from the hydraulic pressure and flow of the machine. So, reduction in hydraulic input power may not enhance the power even if we use the compressed nitrogen gas in the accumulator. In our case, we use optimum flow and pressure from the base machine, coupled with nitrogen gas to give maximum impact energy."

Product range
There are a host of rock breaker providers in the country. They include Indian manufacturers as well as dealers representing foreign brands.

Says Jain, "Indus is the first Indian company to provide two different technologies of rock breakers, under one roof." Indus offers two different series in Pure hydraulic rock breakers. One is the MS series and another is the RB series. MS series are medium class rock breakers, mainly for 5-40 tonne class excavators. These breakers come with sealed type accumulator with three-stage damping pads which help to reduce fatigue to excavators. In this breaker, pistons are long stroke design which gives very high impact energy at low pressure and lower oil flow volumes. RB series breakers are more heavy duty and are used mainly for primary and secondary production work. In this class, Indus offers 20-120 tonne class of breakers.

"With the MS series Pure hydraulic breakers, we commit better productivity by 25-50 per cent and the RB series performs excellently where the working conditions are very hard," says Jain. He elaborates, "Our breakers are already equipped with the latest technology trends like auto control, anti-blank firing, Silent plus, PP Plus design, and internal flow control systems which reduce damage to the equipment. Indus rock breakers have already achieved different milestones of higher productivity and longer life of around 30,000 hours of successful working."

In the last decade, Indus Rock Tools has installed more than 5,000 assets in the market and is well exposed to the requirements of customers of the infrastructure and mining industry. "We have the capacity and capability to cater to the growth potential and provide cost-efficient products to the construction industry," Jain says confidently.

Dozco is a well-known name in the field of selling demolition and construction equipment. Says Kumar, "Dozco is one of India's largest selling rock breakers and has also established itself in other demolition and construction equipment. It has carved out a niche for itself with the highest value for money products in the rock breaker market. It is a perfect blend of high power and low maintenance cost, high output and reliability, high profitability and optimum investment."

Mehta Earthmovers represents KOMAC, the Korea-make of rock breakers on a pan-India basis. Says Marfatia, "KOMAC manufactures rock breakers from 3 tonne up to 85 tonne class for different applications, produced in state-of-the-art production units in Korea, with the most reliable after-sales support directly."

Fine Equipments offers complete range of rock breaker solutions: 3 tonne to 60 tonne class.

The government sponsored projects like Smart City, highway projects, ports development, Metro projects and the new momentum in mining have really pushed up the demand for attachment tools like rock breakers. There are many roads and highway widening projects underway especially in hilly terrains which required rock breakers as an attachment to excavators and backhoe loaders for rock breaking. Also, in real estate projects, the structures are becoming bigger and it is necessary to create a strong foundation below ground level. Kumar sees a good demand for rock breakers in the future as he says, "Urban infrastructure construction is a new area creating demand for rock breakers. Growing high-rise construction in metro cities needs below ground free level for vehicle parking purposes. Rock breakers are being extensively used to break the rock boulders at the ground level prior to the foundation. Newer demand of rock breakers is also coming from the areas having ban/restriction on rock blasting. Further, upcoming road construction projects in hilly terrain require fracturing of rock boulders that come in way of construction. Though there are numerous newer demand pockets for rock breakers in India, the market continues to remain volume driven. Moreover, it remains fragmented. The rock breaker market estimates demand to the tune of 3,000 units in 2015-16." On expansion plans, Kumar further adds, "Our primary future plan is to expand our business all over India as well as across national boundaries. We are also focusing on R&D on some new products. Our goal is to achieve the key leader position on HEMMs and spare parts business across the country on entire mining, construction and infrastructure sectors."

Marfatia also sees a positive outlook for construction and mining industry in the coming years. He says, "With the increase in activities in the mining, cement and construction industry, the demand for rock breakers is increasing in the Indian market. Many projects have been cleared and work has kick-started, thus increasing the demand for rock breakers."

Thombre feels that Indian rock breaker market lacks professionalism, is extremely unorganised and is price driven. He adds, "It lacks the foresightedness as the major customer base consists of individual person and not the company. Finance companies play a major role in deciding the brand, which is very unfortunate. We are planning for the manufacturing of breakers in near future, as we think that the imports may not be lucrative, considering the global market trends. Major international exporters are facing drastic drop in their local markets. This may result in quality compromises coupled with dumping of the goods."

Kumar concludes on a positive note, "Dozco predicts good prospect of business that envisages the high potential in infrastructure and construction sector and expects good business possibility with its manufactured products, besides establishing its own brand image in the infrastructure and construction sector."

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