China manufacturing on show 27 Dec 2018

TunnelTalk reporting

Of the 3,350 exhibitors at the bauma China construction equipment trade show in Shanghai in late 2018, 73% were from China. These included the underground excavation equipment manufacturers CREG, Lovsuns, CRCHI, Sany, XCMG and concrete handling and pumping equipment supplier Zoomlion. Among the international exhibitors were TBM and underground excavation and earth moving equipment manufacturers Herrenknecht, Robbins, Epiroc, Liebherr, Caterpillar, Komatsu and Volvo.

Of the more than 210,000 visitors, 94% were from Asia, the top 10 visitor countries being China, Korea, Russia, India, Malaysia, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore.

The number of Chinese exhibitors and international visitors emphasizes the growing recognition and competition by the in the made-in-China brands and the strategies the nation has in exporting its manufacturing capacity internationally.

Xinzhu equipment product range
Xinzhu equipment product range

Unlike two years ago at bauma China 2016, the emphasis in 2018 was on the larger machines and less so on components, smaller product lines and consumables. In the underground excavation sectors, there were fewer exhibitors of drill bits, pumps and segment moulds and larger exhibition areas for manufacturers of TBMs, drilling jumbos and earth moving machinery.

The mood was also different among Chinese manufacturers at bauma China 2018. Where in 2016, exhibitors were speaking of targets for overseas sales and an urgency to secure a foothold on the international export market, a reality seemed to have set in ahead of the 2018 event,with the discussions centering more on restructures, revised forecasts, and strategic alliances with Chinese construction corporations for taking Chinese TBM brands in particular overseas.

On the LNSS Liaoning Censcience Industry Lovsuns stand, news was of a collaboration agreement with the China State Construction Engineering Corporation that would purchase LNS-Lovsuns equipment exclusively for its overseas projects. It was the first discussion also of the importance to Chinese manufacturers of China’s One Belt One Road vision for the world whereby China funds construction of intercontinental railways and international seaports to create new land-based and maritime Silk Routes for the 21st Century. In much the same way as Japan did in the 1980s and 1990s, Chinese funding will include in the package Chinese firms for design and construction and Chinese equipment to build infrastructure projects in participating countries along the new routes.

CREG celebrating TBM order signings
CREG celebrating TBM order signings

New orders reported at CRCHI, the construction heavy industry manufacturing division of the China Railway Construction Corporation(CRCC), included a TBM heading to Sri Lanka with a Chinese contractor for a wastewater project in the capital city Colombo as well as another delivered in November 2018 to Turkey for the Ismir Metro.

As in 2016, the CRCHI displaywas again the biggest stand among tunnel excavation equipment suppliers at bauma China 2018and the company confirmed it would be exhibiting at the bauma CONEXPO India in Dec 2018 and also at the European bauma event in Munich, Germany, in April 2019 and the World Tunnel Congress (WTC) in Naples, Italy, in May. On the stand, along with models of TBMs, there was a model of the company’s development for changing disc cutters in free-air conditions within accessible cutterheads. Units of other underground construction equipment included excavators and shotcrete machines as well as several drilling jumbomodels. CRCHI said it was the first Chinese company to manufacture a Chinese brand drilling jumbo and reported that it is working with AMV of Norway to introduce computer control for the machines. The information was that the company has no plans at present for exporting jumbos stating that production capacity currently is working hard to keep up with domestic demand.

TBM models on the LNSS Lovsuns stand
TBM models on the LNSS Lovsuns stand

At CREG, senior management was celebrating the first TBM sale into Western Europe with a contract signing ceremony for a 10.03m diameter EPBM for a high speed railway project in Italy. Another TBM order was signed for a 10.5m EPBM to go toAlgeria to excavate single-tube, double-track drives for the Algiers Metro and an order confirmed delivery of two further EPBMs of 6.67m diameter for the North East Line of the Singapore Metro. These will be TBMs 15 and 16 supplied by CREG to the Singapore Metro. With these orders CREG machines will now have been delivered to 16 countries outside of China. The first order outside China was for the KVMRT Line 1 project in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2012 and the second was to Singapore. At a dinner hosted by CREG and at which TunnelTalk and representatives from the Singapore MRT were guests, CREG acknowledged the importance of the Singapore orders in its portfolio stating that potential customers know and appreciate that TBMs supplied to Singapore must meet the stringent quality and operating requirements imposed by LTA, the Singapore Metro client authority. Discussion also included thoughts on the importance and influence on export opportunities of the One Belt One Road vision for global infrastructure expansion by China.

Robbins XRE technology on display
Robbins XRE technology on display

Notedby its absence at bauma China 2018 was CCCCTHand its Tianhebrand of TBMs. A telephone call to the company however confirmed that, contrary to rumours at the show, the company is still in business andexporting TBMs overseas,but that there was a restructuring taking place to coordinate the domesticand international sales divisions. The report was that fewer TBMs were sold in 2018 than in2017 andthat it has been under the One Belt One Road initiative that major TBM orders were confirmed for the export market in 2018. These included two hard rock TBMs to go with the Chinese contractor to Malaysia for the Chinese financed East Coast Rail Line, the future of which is being reviewed by the new government of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, as well as a 13m diameter machine for a high speed railway project in Indonesia and a 13m diameter slurry TBM for another rail project, with mother company CCCC as the contractor, in Bangladesh. During 2018, mother company CCCC celebrated the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao bridge-immersed tube fixed link highway across the Pearl Delta. It also suffered a fatal TBM drive collapse on a contract for the Foshan Metro in China, one of the many, many metro TBM projects being advanced by all tunnelling contractors and TBM suppliers across major cities of China.

Liebherr showcasing main bearings for TBMs
Liebherr showcasing main bearings for TBMs

Of the international TBM suppliers, great interest was generated by the technical capabilities of hard rock TBMs and the Crossover machines on the Robbins standwhile on the Herrenknecht stand, news was of factory tests for delivery of TBMs from its Chinese manufacturing subsidiary in Nanshanear Guanzhou. These included shipment of the two mega machines of 15.6mdiameter for the Westgate highway project in Melbourne, Australia; delivery of the lastof the fiveTBMs for the Sydney Metro and four for the Melbourne Metro in Australia, and continuing delivery of the 19machinesordered for the DTSS deep sewer project in Singapore. It was explained that sale of TBMs into the Chinese market would continue to be for the mega machine sizes for highways, railways and combined road and metro tunnels under rivers and city centres, adding to the many already delivered by Herrenknecht to these mega machine projects in the past.

Among the manufacturers of drilling jumbos and earth moving equipment, the emphasis was on intelligent, digital and green technology. Electromobility and driverless vehicles were seen as the future trend with the next generation of the Caterpillar large excavator models boosting efficiency by up to 45%. Chinese company Sany presented an excavator that can be operated remotely with the help of virtual reality with the operator having the impression of sitting behind the wheel. Volvo introduced its high-resolution touchscreen Co-Pilot that acts as a co-operator to provide unlimited access to standard assist functions to collect real-time operational data.

Gauging the mood at bauma CONEXPO India

Chinese drilling jumbo manufacturer XCMG explained that 65-70% of its production was for the domestic market with 30-35% being exported globally and mainly into the mining industry and through dealerships. Its jumbos have OSHA certificates for operating in the USA as well as EC certificates for the European market.

For all Chinese manufacturers visited at the show, including those of shotcreterobots, concreting equipmentand diaphragm wall installation and pile-driving machines, the advantage of buying Chinese equipment for international customers was:

  • Price –up to 30% cheaper than international name brands
  • Delivery time –with supply in 6-12 months for international brands reduced to 4-8 months for Chinese suppliers
  • Service –with more Chinese suppiersnow recognizing the importance of after sales service and
  • Quality –with many international visitors and buyers of Chinese machinery confirming that any lingering doubt about the quality of Chinese brands is unfounded and marketing propaganda within the competitive market place.

Following a busy time bauma China in late November, TunnelTalk travelled next to India for the bauma CONEXPO show in Delhi where the world’s leading TBM and underground excavation machinery manufacturers were again among the leading exhibitors. India is considered,by them all,as the next major international market for underground infrastructure machinery as well as for infrastructure project design and construction expertise.

The next bauma China show will be held from November 24 to 27 in 2020 and again at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre in Pudong.


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