Commercial vehicle suppliers at Auto Expo 2016

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Suppliers put up a sterling show at the Auto Expo 2016, and highlight an ability to meet challenges and drive innovation.

Story by: Team CV

Over 1500 exhibitors made it to the Auto Expo 2016 components show at Pragati Maidan in the heart of Delhi. Of these 900 were Indian and 600 were foreign exhibitors. Most foreign exhibitors (and those that have their holding companies outside India) presented themselves under their country of origin pavilion. The pavilions included the China pavilion, Canada pavilion, France pavilion, Germany pavilion, Japan pavilion, Taiwan pavilion, Korea pavilion and the UK pavilion. In between the Korean and Chinese pavilion was the innovation pavilion set up. It highlighted the nature of innovation some of the tier suppliers have done. The compact bus alternator by TVS Lucas for example, and which offers a power to weight ratio of 500-watt per kg; has miniature slip rings for long service life; has high temperature insulation for copper wire; high temperature rectifier diodes, and a sealed brush box to protect against water splash and dust ingress. Jamna Auto Industries displayed composite leaf springs they have innovated for commercial vehicles. Brakes India displayed the auto adjuster drum brake and clutch booster innovations for light-duty and heavy-duty commercial vehicles respectively. ZF displayed a heavy vehicle retarder (HB1200) innovation. It is capable of handling a torque of up to 1200 Nm; is highly localised; has sealed bearings, and costs less.

Supplier innovation

Tata AutoComps displayed composite components they developed for the Tata Prima. Bits like the bumper, wiper enclosure, door and cabin extension, and fenders. Wheels India displayed light weight aluminium wheels for commercial vehicle application. Expressing that they would support the OEMs in their endeavour to meet the set norms and customer demands, Arvind Balaji, Joint Managing Director of Lucas-TVS Ltd. and President of the Automotive Components Manufacturers Association (ACMA), stressed upon the Indian auto components industry’s strength to support changes like the move to electric, hybrid or alternate fuel vehicles. Balaji mentioned that they were receiving good support from the government and issues like difficulty in funding faced by the automotive SMEs are being addressed. Balaji also stressed upon the industry’s ability to innovate.

Spread across 18 halls, and over an area of 80,000 sq. m., the auto components show put the spotlight on the nature of business auto components manufacture conduct – right from the level of the tier 1 supplier to those that are down the supply chain. If the fair saw a large number of independent after market players display their ware as well as highlight their capabilities, those that work closely with OEMs and have a presence in both, the OE as well as the aftermarket, also flexed their muscles.

German supplier, Mann And Hummel, which has a manufacturing facility at Tumkur near Bangalore and at Bawal near Delhi, displayed the air filtration and passage system that they have developed for the Tata Prima. Drawing attention to his company’s innovation prowess, Rohit Surve, DGM – Design & Development, Mann And Hummel Filter Pvt. Ltd., explained how his company is working towards helping OEMs to meet stricter emission and safety norms. While pointing at the centrifugal oil filter his company has developed to address the demands of engine and vehicle manufacturers to extend the oil drain intervals, Surve quipped that manifold charging could mark the next phase of innovation in the area that his company specialises in.

Manufacturing prowess

A professional manufacturer of (semi) trailer axle, bogie, suspension system and trailer spare parts with nearly ten years experience in China, Guangzhou Huajing Machine Manufacturer Co. Ltd. displayed its product range adjacent to Hall 18. Said company sources present that Guangzhou Huajing is an ISO 9001 and TS 16949 certified company with advanced manufacturing facilities including an automatic assembly and painting line. Each procedure from IQC, IPQC to QA is monitored under strict quality management system, and the company is capable of producing 10,000 axles per month.

Lighting specialist Neolite displayed its wide array of lighting solutions including those that it makes for commercial vehicles. Autolite also displayed the range of lighting solutions it makes for automotive applications including CVs. Apart from the display of headlamps the company supplies to the Tata Ace, Autolite also displayed CV headlamps with LED daytime running lights built into them. Expressed Adarsh Gupta, Director, Autolite (India), that they are working on adaptive LED headlamps without the use of (swivelling) motors or mechanical parts. He mentioned that they have reached 25 million light combination levels out of the one billion levels required in case of adaptive LED lighting, and would reach the one billion level in the next three to four months. They also intend to use laser diodes, which give a reach of 650 m, and would have a prototype ready for OEMs in six months. Stressing upon the export of 17 lakh halogen bulbs per month to China, Gupta expressed that states have to take initiatives to further the cause of ‘Make in India’ initiative. Appreciating the government’s move to hike the anti-dumping duty, Adarsh averred, “In the interest of safety, we are developing products like conventional CV lamps with daytime running lamps in them. The cost increase in this case is nominal, but the safety enhancement is much more valuable.” “We are one of the eight suppliers of Tata Motors who have been chosen to be a part of the Supplier Relationship Transformation programme, and the only one in lighting. Tata Motors’ Pantanagar plant to which we supply has in-turn been selected under the agreement signed between the Indian prime minister and the Japanese premier for technology enhancement. Professor Dr. Kurahashi is training the Autolite team,” exclaimed Gupta. Sankar Sealing Systems put on display a wide range of sealing (gaskets) solutions (under the Sanko brand) they supply to the automotive industry. On display were sealing solutions for CVs like the Mahindra Maxximo.

Supporting OEMs in the race to BS VI

Riding on the Euro 6 (or BS VI) wave, BorgWarner, specialising in the manufacture of thermal and emission products, displayed electronically controlled viscous fan drives that are suitable for application in CVs. Mentioned Karl Wagner, Vice President – Global Sales & Engineering (Thermal Systems), BorgWarner, that the move up to Euro 6 will drive a lot of economic growth. “In Europe, Euro 6 is already there. BorgWarner thus has an entire product portfolio that will help us in India. Two product divisions under thermal include those on the airflow side (like fan drives, guide vanes and more), and on the coolant flow side. We are about to launch coolant control pumps for the CV segment. This would be beneficial in reducing emissions by saving fuel and weight,” Wagner said. Drawing attention towards the challenge of integration, he exclaimed, “CVs account for 40 per cent of the business worldwide including off-highway equipment. In India too, CVs accounts for 35-40 per cent of the business. Our products offer significant benefits such as fuel efficiency, NVH, durability and longer service periods. This year, for the first time, we are launching electronically controlled Vistronic in India.”

Averred G Murali, Director & plant Head, Thermal Systems, BorgWarner Cooling Systems India, that the R&D in India is closely working with other centres on some critical innovation projects. Anshul Gupta, Head – Sales & Marketing & Programme Management, BorgWarner Emissions Systems India, said, “The near term focus in India is going to be fossil fuels. The perpetual debate is whether EGR or SCR. OEMs are ready with either stream depending on how it pans out. CV market is a cost driven market, and will call for a firm support. Engines below 7-litre may go the EGR way, and those above will go the SCR way. We are keen to focus on EGR technologies. There are companies globally who have tried meeting Euro 6 norms using EGR technologies. It depends on how the engine is; how much it is fouling (dictated by the quantity of Sulphur in fuel).” Gupta stressed upon an amount of integration taking place in the Indian automotive industry.

Technology par excellence

Automotive instrumentation specialist Veethree displayed a wide range of instrument consoles and gauges, including those that find use in CVs. Veethree instruments are found in Swaraj Mahindra tractors, Eicher tractors and Tata commercial vehicles among others. Veethree also has a presence in the independent aftermarket. A C K Birla Group company, NBC bearings displayed a wide range of bearings and bearing-based solutions. York unveiled the 5620 YPS (12-tonne) axle with York Precision System (YPS). The YPS includes a patented temper-lock spindle nut and a preload tool along with the best quality of bearings, hub seals and grease to ensure up to 40 per cent extra tyre life. Greasing interval for this axle is 300,000 kms under Indian conditions subject to proper care of related components and aggregates. The Tecair 1 air suspension with common lift and square axle, the company showcased, is aimed at cryogenic and petroleum tanker trailers. This suspension, said York sources, supports faster travel in order to achieve a faster turnaround time. York also launched 13-tonne and 16-tonne rated sheet metal suspensions, which include Poly and Vesconite bushes to avoid greasing. Use of tab lock washers on adjustable torque arms do away with the need for frequent inspection of fasteners. Said G. S. Chatterjee, COO, York India, “Despite 2015 being a tough year, York cemented its position in India as a market leader in trailers. The Indian plant now exports axles and suspensions to more than 10 countries.”

Denso put up attractive layouts of its products to effectively explain the role they play in critical automotive areas like fuel injection systems. Products that are electrical and electronic in nature, and find application in two-wheelers and passenger vehicles. Stating that it has entered into the CV space, and is catering to the needs of Volvo Eicher, Takao Nojiri, DMD, R&D Center, Denso International India, mentioned that they would support their clients in their pursuit to meet the BS VI emissions by leveraging their global know how and an ability to localise. Stress going forward would be on localisation (depending upon volumes) Nojiri mentioned. He added, that they started their R&D centre in India in 2012, and have began complete product development besides application engineering. Like most Indian exhibitors at the failr. Denso also prominently displayed the ‘Make in India’ lion at its booth. Some exhibitors expressed that this was the best thing to happen; there were those who opined that it did not touch them yet, and especially in an environment where getting funding to expand or move up the value scale was becoming difficult.

Expressed Balaji that SMEs, which form a major chunk of the auto components industry are finding it difficult to modernise in absence of easier funding options. He said that efforts were being made to ease the situation by increasing access to funding. Jasbir Sindhoo, Assistant Vice President – Sales & Marketing, Omax Autos Limited, averred that his company manufactures critical sheet metal components like front under body protection device, air cleaner mounting bracket, front towing cross member, sub-assembly cross member, crash tube, and chassis for CVs. The Gurgaon-based company also caters to the needs of the off-highway segment. Clients include Ashok Leyland-Nissan, Ashok Leyland, Tata Motors, Volvo, Piaggio, Sonalika, and New Holland among others.

Garage equipment major Manatec and Madhus unveiled new CV wheel alignment machines. Madhus introduced a Hunter brands of DSP 760T HD alignment system for fast and accurate wheel alignment of multi-axle trucks. Costing in the region of Rs.15 to Rs.16 lakh according to K. Mahesh, General Manager – Truck & Bus Equipment, Madhus Garage Equipment, a system like this makes a good reason for educated youths to start a wheel alignment centre and turn entrepreneurs. Manatec also introduced a wheel alignment system for multi-axle trucks. According to R. Mananathan, Chairman, Manatec Electronics Pvt. Ltd., the Jumbo 3D is the world’s first wheel alignment system for truck and bus capable of single ROC up to five axles.

Over 114,328 focused trade visitors were drawn to the fair. They came from over 62 countries, making the components show a premier business event in the region. What this edition will be remembered for is the stress on ‘Make in India’ apart from the suppliers abilities to innovate and frugally engineer.