History of development of construction equipment in India

Lets get some facts straight...

• The construction industry is a major contributor towards Indias GDP, either directly or indirectly.

• Poised to play a larger role in Make in India initiative of the Modi government, the has a potential to grow about two-fold to $5 billion by 2020 on the back of infrastructure growth from a $2.8 billion industry at present.

• India’s CE market is expected to grow by 20-25 per cent over the next few years to reach 330,000 to 450,000 units sold in 2020.

• With a wide production capacity base, India is perhaps the only developing country in the world, which is totally self-reliant in manufacturing some of the highly sophisticated CE.

• The whole construction industry employs nearly 33 million people currently.

Well, by looking at these facts, you must have understood that the CE industry is one of the prime industries of India and has a great role to play in the growth of the nation as it supports many other industries. As a matter of fact, the CE segment includes a wide variety of equipment put to use in mining, earthmoving, material handling and others multifarious applications.

Here, it goes without saying that the industry which is growing at such a rapid pace in the country today has an equally interesting history of development too. We take you through this historical journey of CE sector growth in India...

Indian CE sector development history

Until 1960s, domestic requirement of CE was entirely met by imports. However, change came about in 1964 when domestic production of CE began with the setting up of Bharat Earth Movers 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 and dumpers and in 1984 from Caterpillar. This factory was taken over by Caterpillar in 2000 for their Indian operations.

In 1974, under license from Poclain, France, L&T started manufacturing hydraulic excavators. Later, Telcon and Escorts JCB commenced manufacture of hydraulic excavators (under license from Hitachi, Japan) and backhoe loaders (under license from JCB, UK) in 1980 and 1981 respectively. Now, taken over by JC Bamford Excavators Ltd., UK in 2003, Escorts JCB is now called JCB India Ltd.

Some of the recent entrants in the Indian CE segment include Volvo and Terex Vectra etc. However, one of the most notable entrants in the CE segment in the country is the Mahindra Construction Equipment, a part of US $16.7 billion Mahindra Group. It started its business in the CE and earth moving industry in India in 2011 with its the revolutionary new backhoe loader—The Mahindra EarthMaster which is loaded with technology not hitherto seen in this product segment in India. Its manufacturing facility is in Chakan, Pune.

At present, 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.

In a nutshell

Thus, overall, the Indian CE industry has traversed a long way since its initial days and has seen huge investments made by national as well as international companies for setting up their manufacturing bases in the country. It is expected that the industry will touch new heights in future.