The Indian operations of TUV Rheinland Group are offering technical services for Cvs.

Story by:

Ashish Bhatia

Looking at aligning business processes with best global practices, TUV Rheinland Group, through its Indian operations, is offering CV technical services to the stakeholders of the CV industry. In view of the regulatory changes and changing market demand, the Group, through its Indian operations, is looking at playing a role of a catalyst. Partnering with nodal agencies like Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) and the Central Institute of Road Transport (CIRT), TUV Rheinland, in India, is working closely to help the CV industry stakeholders to meet challenges arising out of the interaction between man, technology and environment. Claiming to be a leading international testing service provider, the Group, in pursuit of sustained development of safety and quality in India, is offering a host of services spanning the realm of testing, inspection, certification, training and consultation. Underlining safety, quality and environment protection as the pillars, TUV Rheinland, present at over 100 locations, is offering in excess of 2,500 services that include concept consulting, drafting of regulations, overall development of integrated passive safety systems, development and coordination of product-specific requirement documents, preparation of loading condition and prototype plans, validation of computer simulation, homologation consulting and type testing in accordance with German regulations.

Describing itself as the world’s largest technical services company that is into homologation and type approval, TUV Rheinland is confident of bringing a change in the way technical inspection of CVs is carried out in India according to Hemant Desai, Vice President – Mobility, TUV Rheinland India. Capable of catering to commercial vehicle and component manufacturers among other stakeholders in the Indian auto industry, the Group, in India, has invested an estimated Euro 2.5 million to build a state-of-the-art automotive lab at Bangalore. Supporting commercial vehicle and component manufacturers in their export endeavour, involving different approvals, and often different markets, TUV Rheinland has built the lab with the objective of expanding its reach in the Indian automotive market. Worth approximately Euro 1.92 billion (revenue share from mobility was Euro 486 million in 2016), the Group is confident of making it big under the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Indian Government. Boasting of a photovoltaic lab, material testing lab, electrical safety lab, medical lab, battery testing lab and a softlines testing lab, the facility at Bangalore also contains a wireless IoT testing lab, which can conduct radiated and signal measurements. The Bangalore facility of TUV Rheinland can facilitate wireless alliance certification too.

One of the first privately setup bodies that is authorised to grant a certification in the country according to Desai, the Electro Magnetic Compatability (EMC) lab at Bangalore is facilitating EMC testing. “Electronic sub-assemblies, vehicle control systems, infotainment systems, advanced driver assistance systems that are making their way into India are providing a high potential for growth. It is the same with the export of vehicles from India to other international markets,” said Desai. He drew attention to the growth potential of export markets of the Indian Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). Stating that Indian exports are getting a boost with the entry of global OEMs, TUV Rheinland, said Desai, focusing on the growing importance of regulatory approvals in India. Regulatory approvals are assuming higher significance with India overtaking Germany to become the fourth largest automobile market in the world. With the company’s experts qualified by the European ministry of transport, TUV Rheinland India is leveraging its ability to carry out tests in the country in association with private and national labs, and with select OEM labs.

At TUV Rheinland, before issuing the type approvals, adequate measures are taken to assess labs and manufacturing facilities according to Desai. “Since India is fast evolving as an export destination, many facilities at par with international standards are finding their way,” he mentioned. Apart from playing a vital role in electromobility, the Indian operations of TUV Rheinland, according to Desai, are focusing on vehicle homologation, component homologation, and testing of energy storage systems like batteries. Confident of creating a market pull for wireless communication protocols that include Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), TUV Rheinland, in India, has invested in test chargers, connectors and cables at the Bengaluru facility to aid the inspection of an entire charging infrastructure. Training modules have been specially prepared to train technicians on handling high voltage electrical systems. Stating that the Global Market Access Services (GMAS) deals with information from exporters and manufacturers on different regulations across countries, Desai averred, “It would be a key focus area of the company to achieve good growth.” Into training and consultation, the Group is looking forward to support the Government of India in devising charging infrastructure by leveraging its global experience in the inspection and setting up of safety standards for charging infrastructure. It is, in the area of electromobility, that TUV Rheinland is looking at offering testing with the use of EMC, wireless or energy storage systems, concluded Desai.

Hemant Desai, Vice President – Mobility of TUV Rheinland India

Q. What are the areas under mobility that TUV Rheinland India operates in?

A. A 100 per cent subsidiary of TUV Rheinland Group (Germany), TUV Rheinland India specialises in technical surveillance (technical inspection). We ensure safety, quality and protection of the environment. These also form the three pillars of our services. Our services thus include testing, inspection, certification, training and consultation. With several divisions that cater to industrial sectors like infrastructure development, pressure equipment certification, energy and environment technology, material testing, and nondestructive testing among others, in the case of mobility, we deal with railways, automotive and the aviation sector. In case of product testing, we cater to diverse range of products – from a leather shoe to a nuclear installation. We also deal in fields like machines, IT equipment and appliances. In the case of academy and life care, we deal with professional and vocational training. Our Group company, TUV Rheinland NIFE, deals with fire safety training. TUV Rheinland, in India, also deals with communication technology. It is, in fact, looking at increasing its reach in this area in India. As far as systems go, we take part in ISO standards, Government certifications, and more.

Q. What was the exact motive behind your Auto Expo 2018 participation?

A. By participating in Auto Expo 2018, we emphasised on core areas of expertise like training, certification, and testing in the automotive space. We are the world’s largest technical services company with homologation and type approval as a forte. Globally, we cater to the different needs of vehicle and component manufacturers as they turn to exports. This entails different approvals from different countries. We also support global manufacturers to comply with Indian approvals. We have our own labs. The Electro Magnetic Compatibility (EMC) lab for example. We are one of the first privately set-up body to possess such certification in India. This lab caters to automotive EMC testing.

Q. How has CV testing and homologation evolved over time?

A. Homologation in India started in 1989. It is a very matured system contrary to popular opinion. It is on par with markets like Europe and Japan. With global manufacturers entering India, exports have increased. The market has thus evolved into a globally competitive place. This has made regulatory approvals important. In India, we may not have our own big laboratories for type approval, our experts are qualified by European ministries of transport. It is possible therefore that we witness the tests here in India, across private or national labs. It could be OEM labs as well, and such that we assess the lab and facilities before issuing the type approvals. The space that we operate in, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) need tremendous support. With India announcing that it would align most of its regulations with United Nations regulations, it is becoming easier for OEMs such that they have to carry out the test once to be held valid in other regions and markets. Such a practice would help the industry to move in the direction of one test and many certificates. With India fast evolving as an export nation, many facilities on par with international standards are making their way here.

Q. How advanced is your EMC lab?

A. Consider the fact that we do not limit ourselves to testing for the domestic market only, we have set up the EMC lab such that it is not exclusive to the auto industry. With us assisting OEMs in engineering tests, the EMC lab was actually expanded to include automotive testing. Besides complying with Government regulations, it is necessary to comply with OEM specifications which are far more stringent. With this in consideration, we continue to increase the capability of our test centres; to expand them as per the need. We are thus looking beyond electromobility. We are looking at homologation; component homologation, testing of energy storage system that includes the batteries. Our battery testing lab caters to non-automotive space in India. At other locations, the lab has full capabilities. In India, we are looking at getting the lab to acquire full capability. Our wireless communication protocols cater to Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). ADAS includes collision avoidance, lane departure warning, etc. It also entails communication in a wireless manner. It might sound ahead of its time for the Indian market, the fact is, there is a big need for this in the entire electromobility value chain. Our safety lab can test chargers, connectors, cables, and inspect the whole charging infrastructure. We have training modules for handling high voltage electric system.

Q. How evolved are these capabilities from a CV perspective?

A. CVs from India are currently exported to markets that are not the most advanced. The markets that CVs from India are exported to are majorly third world countries in Africa, Latin America and Gulf. We cater to major OEMs for these needs. There is no inherent demand as such for advanced safety features as yet. For the Indian market, these are exceptions like Anti-skid Braking System (ABS) and adherence to advanced emission norms. From 2010 onwards we have been getting a significant number of queries in case of CV testing.

Q. How do you look at OEMs offering fully-built vehicles and extended warranties?

A. We see a significant shift. Previously it was easy to spot a rolling chassis being driven in an unsafe manner. The CMVR mandated a minimum safety addition to such vehicles. India may not yet have a full-fledged powertrain manufacturer, and major chunk of components could still be imported, the country’s prowess in sheet metal and forging however is well recognised. With global OEMs entering the Indian market and sharing their quality systems and standards with their vendors, Indian OEMs too have upped their ante. OEMs are also paying more attention to customers. Measures like extended warranty are an exercise leading to brand loyalty. It marks an effort to retain the customer than speak of a technological advancement.

Q. What is TUV Rheinland’s footprint in India like?

A. We have a dedicated automotive lab at Bangalore.

Q. Does TUV Rheinland work with nodal agencies ARAI and CIRT?

A. We signed a MoU with ARAI a couple of years ago. As per the MoU we have come to support each other on all fronts of industry requirements. If a manufacturer wants to export or needs an international certification, ARAI would approach us with the requirements and we will support ARAI in whichever way we can. Similarly, we take help of ARAI when an Indian certification is required on the testing front. In many instances, formally or informally, we are in touch with organisations like ARAI because of the standardisation that is happening. We are asked for global interpretations when ARAI is preparing Indian standards where inputs from advanced countries are required. We conduct joint training programmes for the industry.

Q. What are the key focus areas for TUV Rheinland India in the wake of new regulations?

A. We are focussing on global market access services. These involve information from exporters and manufacturers on different regulations across countries. We are supporting OEMs through the process of testing and certification. By anticipating market analytics, we are helping manufacturers to think globally and act locally. The area of growth that we are focussing on also include training and consultation. Many of our centres are NSDC accredited. In the area of electrification, wireless or energy storage systems hold good potential for us. We are looking at support from Government of India to devise charging infrastructure standards. Our vast global experience in inspection and setting up of safety standards for charging infra is expected to hold us in good stead in India. With the Government agencies lacking capacities, we are open to extending support to government initiatives to help realise the dream of electrification.

Q. Any global trends in homologation that you think will find their way into India?

A. We are waiting for the government to open up before we bring testing technology in India. We do not see that happening as yet. Globally, a lot of self-testing by manufacturers is being allowed. The results then have to be verified by an independent nodal body.

Q. Are emission scandals involving auto makers opening up a possibility to help bridge the gap between lab tests and on-road performance metrics?

A. A sensitive issue it is. New regulations called Real Driving Emissions (RDE) have been notified in the emissions domain particularly. The cycle has started, and we expect Indian regulations to be aligned similarly by 2020. The need is to have a very robust inspection network in India on the lines of Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance (INM), which is a periodical exercise. The Government of India has asked the states to set up similar facilities. It could take another six to eight years before on-road testing becomes a norm.

Battery testing on a Micro-Vett Fiorino E in TÜV Rheinland’s test centres. Photo: TÜV Rheinland

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