Mini Equipment Market Booms
The mini construction equipment market in India has been experiencing steady growth in recent years due to various factors such as urbanisation, infrastructure development, and the increasing trend towards mechanisation in construction activities. Mini construction equipment includes compact excavators, mini loaders, skid steer loaders, compactors, and other small machinery used in construction projects.

Let’s examine the prospects of different mini machines.

Mini excavators: Compact excavators are similar to regular excavators in structure, with a crawler undercarriage and revolving superstructure fitted with a boom, arm and bucket as the front attachments. With increasing use, however, appreciation is growing for the compact size of the machine, its higher safety in operation and efficiencies—both in fuel and usage—which in turn is further driving the use of mini excavators.

JCB’s mini excavators fall in the 3 tonne and 5 tonne operating weight category. Similarly, CASE’s mini excavator segment provides a wide variety of machines ranging from a capacity of 1.5 to 6-tonne (t) with a horsepower ranging between 20 to 60 hp. With a dedicated focus on expanding our electric line-up, we offer both IC engine-powered and electric mini excavators. “Our machines are thoroughly researched and developed for compactness to ensure easy manoeuvrability in restricted spaces and featuring higher breakout force for increased efficiency across various applications. In order to gain best results and performance we conduct regular testing quality control measures,” said Shalabh Chaturvedi, Managing Director, CASE Construction Equipment.

Compact compactors: Compact compactors offer a host of features. These machines from Wirtgen group company HAMM offer high gradeability (up to 60 per cent) and maximum ground clearance thanks to the drive provided by modern wheel motors. The modern motors with future-proof technology in HAMM’s compact compactors also ensure extremely low emissions. These are very short, making them ideal for narrow construction sites and compaction work on rough terrain.

Dimitrov Krishnan, Managing Director, Volvo Construction Equipment India, said, Our product offerings span soil compactors, tandem rollers, and pneumatic tyre rollers. Localisation is a key aspect, with our products boasting varying degrees of localised content. We’re well-prepared for future regulatory changes and technological advancements, ensuring our products meet the highest standards.”

“So, we have the complete range of compaction equipment what the customer wants for the road construction projects. For soil embankment and granular sub base layers, we have the soil compactors that deliver exceptional performance in variety of materials, then for asphalt layer we have double drum compactors, and to finally finish the roads, we have pneumatic tyre rollers, which is our leading product in the market as well.”

Projects in confined spaces and for smaller jobs are drivers for compact compactors. HAMM’s H-series compactors are high-performance professionals for modern earthwork with a high compaction force. Off-road, their three-point articulated swivel joint and large slope angle front and back make them extremely manoeuvrable while ensuring optimum driving stability.

While HAMM compactors are currently imported from Germany, CASE India is manufacturing mini drum rollers at its world-class Pithampur facility for both the domestic market as well as for Africa, Southeast Asia, Russia, the Middle East, etc. However, CASE India’s skid-steer loaders are imported. Greater indigenisation would bring down the cost of this class of equipment and expand demand—something to look forward to.

Skid-steer loaders: In comparison to excavators, tractors or traditional forklifts, skid steers are compact, strong, agile, have great visibility. Skid steer loaders are known for their maneuverability in general, but small skid loaders are the most maneuverable you'll find. They are able to fit into tight spots where other heavy equipment cannot go, which makes them perfect for unique applications like interior demolition.

Sunil Newatia, Chairman and Managing Director, Suretech Infrastructure, said, “The growth rate of skids is too low when compared to the rest of the world. In a country like India, there is a market of appx 500 skids in a year against 35,000-40,000 backhoe loaders. Skids are the highest selling construction equipment overseas while in India it is backhoes. Skids must be accepted as the most versatile and most important piece of equipment on a job site. Till that happens growth shall continue to remain sluggish.”

Most of the skid manufacturers in India are making entry level models of 49 hp and 75hp. It is only Bobcat that is offering the entire range of standard and high flow skids but they are all imported and not manufactured in India. The main feature is skids is option of using several attachments. Skids are designed to work with various attachments making it a very versatile equipment for any job site.

Telehandlers: A telehandler can lift several tons worth of materials, making them far stronger than similar sized crane machinery such as a cherry picker or forklift. Better still, the flexibility of the telescopic boom allows heavy loads to be lifted at great heights and lengths, unlike most other machinery that has a limited reach when providing so much power. One of the main advantages of a telescopic handler is the ability to lift loads to normally unreachable heights and lengths. As the boom handle on our range of telehandlers to hire can reach up to 20 m in length, a telehandler can effectively transport materials to distances that would otherwise be impossible to reach using a single vehicle.

Said Deepak Shetty, MD and CEO, JCB India, “Telehandlers are gaining popularity and are today being used in three core sectors - Agriculture, Construction and Industry. Some examples are hopper loading in ready mix concrete, ceramic products, metal scrap recycling plants. In rail/road/hydel tunnel projects, the JCB telehandler with man platform provides a safe working platform for technical personnel. Telehandlers are used for horizontal and vertical movement of prefabricated components and aggregate material in the construction and infrastructure sector.”

The unique Q-Fit feature in JCB telehandlers enables easy and quick changeover of attachments, thereby increasing the versatility of the machines. An unloading rake attachment enables easy unloading of aggregate material from trucks. Different sizes of standard and grab buckets enable usage in industries like paper, metal scrap rehandling and coal rehandling. the man platform attachment has made the JCB telehandler a ‘must have’ for construction companies for any rail, road and hydel tunnel and bridge construction projects.

These types of mini construction equipment provide the versatility and efficiency needed for modern construction projects, especially in urban areas and confined spaces.