SETA 2016 looks at greener transportation in ASEAN region

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At the ‘Sustainable Energy & Technology Asia (SETA) 2016’ international exhibition held at Thailand, alternate fuels, efficiency policies, sustainable low carbon transport, viability of electrical system in the transport sector were delved upon.

Story by:

Anitudh Raheja

At the ‘Sustainable Energy & Technology Asia (SETA) 2016’ international exhibition held at Bangkok, Thailand, recently, alternative fuels, their efficiency policies, sustainable low carbon transport, viability of electrical system in the transport sector – in the ASEAN region especially, were delved upon. With the theme of securing Asia’s energy future, the Ministry of Energy of Thailand and Nuclear Society of Thailand jointly organised the three day international exhibition and conference to encourage economic integration and scale up investments through favourable policies in the ASEAN region. Held at the Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Centre (BITEC), Thailand, the event drew delegates from the government, transport sector and energy companies. The delegates discussed on ways to reduce CO2 emissions and deliver more efficient and sustainable transport in the future. Closely supported by the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Science and Technology, Thailand, the event, managed by GAT International Ltd., was hosted over an exhibition space of over 5000 sq. ft.

Witnessing footfall of over 5000 visitors from 35 countries including Asia, Europe and US, the event focused upon energy requirement. Discussion revolved around the subject of demand in the ASEAN region, which includes India and China. Energy requirement in the Asean region is the fastest in world. Apart from the display of various state-of-the-art technologies and innovations, the event provided a platform for country-specific platforms dedicated to India, Japan and UK. Over a hundred topics were discussed at the event. Most of them were on alternate fuels and their efficiency; on policies pertaining to greener fuels; on sustainable low carbon transport, and the viability of an electrical system in the transport sector. Two panel discussions took place. They addressed topics like how the ASEAN region can deal with climate change based on the Paris agreement and economic integration. Parallel to it, eminent Indian speakers also joined in to share their insights. They also celebrated India Energy Day at the event.

‘Make in India’ at the heart of Defexpo India 2016

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060322-N-5438H-018Salah Ad Din Province, Iraq (March 22, 2006) Ð U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the Bravo Battery 3rd Battalion 320th Field Artillery Regiment along with Iraq Army soldiers from the 1st Battalion 1st Brigade 4th Division perform a routine patrol. U.S. Navy photo By Photographers Mate 3rd Class Shawn Hussong (RELEASED)

Polaris Dagor copy (Left to Right) - Mr. Nitin Seth, President - LCV & Defence, Ashok Leyland and Mr. Vinod Dasari, MD, Ashok Leyland with FAT 6x6 copy

Display of special vehicles from commercial vehicle manufacturers at the Defexpo 2016, Goa, spoke about ‘Make in India’.

Story by:

Team CV

The highlight of the Defence Expo 2016 held at Goa between March 28 and March 31, 2016, was the stress to ‘Make in India’. The exhibition, also called as Defexpo India 2016, marked the ninth in the series of biennial land, naval and internal homeland security systems exhibition organised by Defence Exhibition Organisation under the Ministry of Defence, Government of India. An important development at the fair was the unveiling of the new Defence Procurement Procedure 2016 (DPP 2016). The DPP 2016 highlighted the Make I and Make II category of projects. The Make I projects would be funded by the Government whereas the later would be funded by the industry. It is structured to provide the necessary leverage to make adequate investments, build the required capabilities, and match up to the contemporary and futuristic requirements of the Indian armed forces.

Stating that Indian companies have started believing in defence production, defence minister Manohar Parrikar, mentioned that projects under the Make I sub category will get government funding of 90 per cent, released in a phased manner, and based on the progress of the scheme, as per terms agreed between Ministry of Defence and the vendor. Projects under Make II sub category, claimed sources aware of the new development, will involve prototype development of equipment or system or platform or their upgrades; their sub-systems or sub-assembly or assemblies (components) with a focus on import substitution, for which no government funding will be provided for prototype development purposes. Providing impetus on defence sector among the 25 sectors of industry, the ‘Make in India’ initiative was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2014. Expected to hike the contribution of the manufacturing sector to 25 per cent of the gross domestic product or GDP, the provision of ‘Make’ category of capital acquisition is a key pillar for realising the vision behind the initiative. Over 1000 arms vendors made it to the fair.

Bharat Forge and AM General team up for light specialist vehicle program

World renowned auto components manufacturer, Bharat Forge announced a tie-up with AM General, the maker of HMMWV, which is also known as Hummer or Hummvee, to ‘build in India’ a Light Specialist Vehicle (LSV). The program will see the two partners bank upon AM General’s battle-tested HMMWV as the LSV platform. To be made in India, the LSV is aimed at the Indian Army. The Indian Army, according to Bharat Forge sources, has stipulated in its information request that the LSV needs to be capable of performing reconnaissance and patrol roles for all arms, provide space and cross mobility in all terrains (including high altitude and deserts) to small parties and teams (approximately six), and operate independently in the battle field. “The teaming up with world-renowned light tactical vehicle provider AM General will lead to the provision of a cost effective and best-in-class mobility solutions for Indian armed forces,” said Baba N. Kalyani, Chairman and Managing Director, Bharat Forge. “We look forward to deliver combat-proven mobility solutions to customers in India,” announced AM General President and CEO Andy Hove.

Four products from Ashok Leyland

Ashok Leyland announced the premiere of an advanced truck driving simulator for the all-terrain Stallion 4×4 truck, Field Artillery Tractor (FAT) 6×6 on the Super Stallion, Rhino 4×4 contemporary logistics vehicle and an ambulance 4×4 for enhanced medical support. Specifically designed for tough operating environments, and offerring the latest technology by extending a legacy of manufacturing innovative and world-class logistics equipment according to Vinod K. Dasari, Managing Director, Ashok Leyland Ltd., the truck driving simulator for Stallion 4×4 has been built to simulate challenging terrain like snow covered roads and undulating sand dunes. Co-developed with SAAB, it would help to reduce training costs and provide situational training in a secure environment by simulating all types of terrain and weather conditions in India on a full scale replica of the driver’s compartment. A self-learning package renders a detailed review of individual training sessions to improve driving proficiency. Multiple simulators can be integrated for group movement training like moving in a convoy.

FAT 6×6 on Super Stallion platform has been designed and developed to function as a Common Gun Tower for all artillery guns. Engineered to provide unprecedented flexibility in rapid deployment, and utilisation of artillery resources, an order of over 450 vehicles have been bagged by Ashok Leyland from the Indian Army. The Rhino 4×4 is a contemporary logistics vehicle that offers greater crew comfort and easy drivability. It comes with automatic transmission, a higher power to weight ratio and gradeability, increased payload, ground clearance and step climbing capability, ABS, CTIS, reduced turning circle diameter, provision for HVAC, and many more exciting features. The Ambulance 4×4 is air-conditioned and built to provide enhanced medical support in the immediate hours of sustaining injuries. Having a double walled insulated body to maintain inside temperature, the ambulance is equipped with rear air suspension. Fitted with equipment that meets advanced life support standards, 825 numbers of such ambulances (in 4×2 configurations as well) will be supplied to the Indian Army. Ashok Leyland has announced that they have secured orders worth Rs. 800 crore in the supply of defence vehicles.

Tata Motors and JLR make a mark

Having supplied over 100,000 vehicles to the Indian military and paramilitary forces in the logistics segment, Tata Motors displayed a LSV among a host of other offerings including an armoured amphibious FICV, Kestrel. Highlighting the fact that his company has tied up with many foreign technology providers, Tata Motors defence business head, VS Noronha, mentioned that anti-tank and missiles would be installed on the Kestrel. Hinting at the light armoured multi-role vehicle playing a crucial role in-line with the requirement of the armed forces, Noronha stated that the LSV would be a part of the whole line up of programs in the land systems arena for the Indian Army. Of interest were a 6×6 high mobility vehicle and a new generation 2.5-tonne model apart from mine protected vehicles. Group company Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) marked a presence. It offerred the light 4×4 Land Rover Defender series vehicle that is designed to meet a wide range of defence, reconnaissance, refugee protection and peacekeeping roles. According to the company, all Land Rover defence vehicles are designed to meet the needs of the modern army, with optimal external dimensions, high payload to weight ratios, special fixings and quick strip down. On the sidelines of Defexpo 2016, Tata Motors signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Maharashtra Ex-Servicemen Corporation Ltd (MESCO) for the creation of employment opportunities for ex-service men of Indian Army. This is in response to Tata Motors’ solution for the Indian Ministry of Defences’ (MoD) prestigious USD 10 billion combat vehicle programme.

All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) from Polaris Defence

Featuring live demonstration of armoured vehicles and military systems besides operations by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), Polaris Defence showcased the Dagor (Deployable Advance Ground Off-Road) and MRZR 4 in India for the first time. The company also showcased its civilian business arm’s six-wheeled off-roader, Sportsman Big Boss 6X6 and Ranger 6X6 800. Ergonomically designed with unbeatable combat efficiency, the Dagor was developed under a contract from elements of the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and international Special Operations Forces (SOF) customers, and has first-rate off-road capability in extreme terrain at full payload. Its design allows for ease of operation, maintenance and sustained support during combat operations. The vehicle uses a readily available Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) driveline, controls and components. This helps to streamline mechanic and operator training. Claimed to provide its operator instant preparedness for missions even in the most extreme terrain, the MRZR 4 is highly mobile and configurable for a variety of applications. Air transportable, it has been combat-proven and purchased by the US and allied forces. Both Dagor and MRZR 4 are already in use by SOCOM, SOF and Allied Special Forces.

Of the 1055 companies that partcipated in Defexpo 2016, an estimated 52 per cent were domestic exhibitors. The number of domestic exhibitors has more than doubled since the 2014 fair, which had 256 domestic participants and 368 foreign participants. The list of domestic participants included many commercial vehicle manufacturers and suppliers like Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, Bharat Earth Movers, Bharat Forge, Defence Research Developmental Organization (DRDO) and Mahindra. Among foerign participants, there were 91 from the US, 71 from Russia, 46 from UK, and 38 from France and Germany. The fair focused on the latest developments and products in land, maritime and domestic security systems.

Tyrexpo India 2016

India’s tyre industry is looking up due to the increase in demand for automobiles. The availability of natural rubber and cutting-edge production facilities has also led to India emerging as one of the world’s most competitive tyre markets. In particular, the city of New Delhi is expected to become one of the world’s largest tyre manufacturing centres over the next decade. Tyrexpo India is strategically placed to tap into this growth in India. Tyrexpo India hopes to offer a one-stop marketplace for buyers and sellers of tyres, garages and workshop equipment.

For more details on Tyrexpo India 2016, visit at : Tyrexpo India 2016

5th Annual India Commercial Vehicle Summit

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Indian commercial vehicles are enjoying a rising acceptance in the SAARC region, the Middle East and in the African continent. To deal with this increase in demand, established OEMs are investing in plant expansions across India currently and new entrants are quickly developing their own plants to achieve their share of the pie. The steady development in commercial vehicles industry has lead to intense competition amongst stakeholders. To survive in the competitive market every CV manufacturer is coming up with something new, yet affordable to meet the requirement of the Indian market.

The 5th Annual India Commercial Vehicle Summit will bring together OEMs, Government officials, associations, auto suppliers and institutions to discuss issues that India is currently facing, and to foster communications that will allow India to rightfully take its place as a major international automotive hub.

For more details visit: http://india.commercialvehiclesummit.com/

 

Frost & Sullivan launch the 7th edition of Sustainability 4.0 Awards

FrostSullivanFrost & Sullivan announced the launch of Sustainability 4.0 Awards. The awards acknowledge companies for their work in sustainability requirements, across value chains. The seventh edition of the erstwhile Green Manufacturing Excellence awards will be held on May 27, 2016 at Hyatt Regency, Mumbai. This year applications for nominations are open to companies across manufacturing, logistics, hotels, IT and ITES, KPO, BPO, banking, financial services, Insurance, construction, telecommunications and healthcare in India, and the Gulf Cooperation Council, the deadline for which is December 15, 2015.The assessment framework has four major parameters -purpose, planet, partnership and people, with a total of 13 measurement criteria under each parameter. The objective is to help participating enterprises determine their standing, in comparison to other similar organisations. Expressed Nitin Kalothia, Director, Manufacturing and Process Consulting, Frost & Sullivan, “Companies are focusing on incubating novel initiatives to inculcate sustainable development for their entire value chain, beyond manufacturing and environmental sustainability.” He concluded,  adding that  Frost & Sullivan will continue to support and recognise such efforts.

To know more about Sustainability 4.0 Awards and its methodology, please log on to – http://www.frost.com/sustainability.To participate in this awards banquet or to know more about the summit, please send an e-mail to Anita C, Corporate Communications, at anitac@frost.com / or write to us at sustainability@frost.com with your full name, company name, title, telephone number, company e-mail address, company website, city, state, and country. 

 

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.

ARAI and bus body builders meet over Bus Code

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Automotive Research Association Of India (ARAI) held a workshop to address the concerns of bus body builders.

Story & photos by: Ashish Bhatia

The government of India announced the implementation of the Bus Code (AIS 052) in April 2015. It came into effect from August 01, 2015. Applicable to the Indian bus industry, the Bus Code requires the bus body builders to comply with parameters like the floor levels, gangways, dimension of foot steps, seats, seating layout, hand rails and hand holds, lighting and illumination, driver’s work place, driver’s field of vision, designs of emergency exits, fire safety, window frames and their placement, dimensions of overhead luggage racks, head lamp beam levelling, mirrors, safety pictogram, and a host of other facets concerning the exterior body projections and interior fittings. Stressing on ensuring adequate provisions for the disabled passengers, the Bus Code makes the age-old luggage carriers on the roof a thing of the past. The code also stresses on ensuring stability and strength of the bus body structure, seat anchorages and a roll over analysis for the full body to minimise the impact if the bus were to turn turtle. Compliance with such stringent parameters is likely to put the unorganised part of the Indian bus industry, which accounts for 70 to 80 per cent, at the risk of losing business.

To ensure that the unorganised part of the Indian bus industry does not risk going out of business, the Automotive Research Association Of India (ARAI), organised a workshop recently. First of its kind to be organised by ARAI regarding the Bus Code, over 150 people participated. Speaking about the need for such an event, Rashmi Urdhwareshe, Director, ARAI, expressed, “We felt that there was a need for dialogue; to understand and fill in the gaps if there were any. There was a lack of approach for approval despite the notification of Bus Code in April 2015. We have the technical expertise, and people could come and seek it.” Asked a bus body builder about sleeper coaches, that they are unable to get clearance from the state authorities. AA Badusha, Deputy Director, HMR, ARAI, replied that his organisation would be able to provide clarity on sleeper coaches after a period of three to six months. “A revision of AIS 052 (Bus Code) or a completely different code is likely to be introduced for sleeper coaches after weighing the pros and cons,” he added. Another coach builder touched upon double deckers. Badusha responded that double deckers would also get due attention.

Questions asked by Mandeep Singh, Technical Head, Ronak Engineers and Consultants, spanned from a critical component like battery not under the purview of the Bus Code, to how the authorities planned to address the shortcomings in the Compliance of Production (COP), which would ensure manufacturers mass produce in accordance with the approved prototype. ARAI officials said that they would take it up with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH). Devilal Suthar of Janta Motor Body, Bhilvada, voiced his concern about having his ready to deliver buses comply with the Bus Code. There were many other bus body builders who shared the same concern. Explained Rashmi Urdhwareshe, that their apprehensions are justified. She drew attention to the fact that many bus body builders have started to form a cluster, optimise their resources, and link up with the OEMs. Stating that it will take time, Urdhwareshe mentioned that the Bus Code was made necessary because vested interests were stalling safety approaches. An OEM representative hinted that the in house capability for body manufacturing or outsourcing makes it easier for them to meet the new specifications. In contrast, it is difficult for the unorganised players to sustain in such an environment. Especially, when the price of accrediting a base model ranges in the region of Rs. 9 lakh and is likely to take anywhere between six to eight weeks. Exclaimed Urdhwareshe, “Bus body builders have made several representations, seeking time and seeking reduction in the cost of testing. All these factors have been considered.” She explained, that manufacturers or bus body builders with similar products will have to weigh the incremental rise in costs. Approvals for other designs, modular in nature, would be linked to the original design for cost effectiveness. For a company to develop a bus body design today, it requires CAD images and various chassis details from the respective manufacturers for them to be integrated and checked for roll-over protection. Stringent bus body regulations are set to dictate a close working relationship between OEMs and bus body builders. It could percolate down to a level where OEMs engineer a basic structural bus design and share it with the bus body builder as he buys the bus chassis from them. The other way would be to share detailed bus body building drawings that would enable the respective bus body builder to build a bus that conforms to the Bus Code.

On the sidelines of the workshop, ARAI officials conducted a demo of the Bus Code accreditation process. If this gave an opportunity to some bus body builders to have the experts check their prototypes, the officials demonstrated the use of ready templates for building the bus body. These templates were of the service door, the steps, etc. Failing to match the template (tolerance), it would be necessary to revisit the design and development process. Said Urdhwareshe, “We have the capability to assess the structural strength, noise and vibration among a host of other bus characteristics. We also have the capability to assess interior noise and test vehicle stability. The advantage of lab simulation that we are capable of conducting will help the designer to come up with an optimum design in a cost effective way. At the component level we have a huge expertise in headlamps, tail lamps and all that goes into a vehicle. We also cater to specific requirements such as testing the flammability of materials used in the bus and also the fire compatibility of fuel tanks.”

 

Set to have a lonIMG_2954e copyg term effect on the Indian bus industry, the Bus Code will play a crucial role in the transformation and modernisation of the industry. This was aptly highlighted by the ARAI workshop.

 

 

 

Rashmi Urdhwareshe, Director, ARAI

Q. What gave boost to the Bus Code (AIS 052) under Rule 125 (c) of Central Motor Vehicle Rules (CMVR)?

A. We look at a vehicle as an integrated and complex engineering product. Constructional safety of a bus is governed by the components and sub-systems. Often the complete chassis is manufactured by a vehicle OEM, and the vehicle body is built by the body builder. Each component of the bus contributes towards safety. It is therefore necessary that the component manufacturers, designers and OEMs own the responsibility. It is very important that the regulation clearly identifies who’s role is what (in the manufacture of a bus), and that has been the triggering point. What gave a boost (to the Bus Code) is an effort to clearly identify the responsibilities in such a way that constructional safety of buses is clearly documented, tested, verified and certified.

Q. What role will ARAI carry out in the implementation of the Bus Code?

A. There are multiple roles that the ARAI will play. This would include the provision of guiding the manufacturers; providing correct interpretation of the technical requirements, carrying out all the mandatory tests, issuing type approval certificates and so on. ARAI specialises not just in carrying out ‘Type Approval’ testing but also provides development tools, simulation and validation services, and technical expertise to help manufacturers prepare for compliance. With the introduction of any new rule or technical standard, it is expected that the existing vehicle/system design undergoes changes. In addition, manufacturers also have to focus on specific customer requirements, such as UBS (Urban Bus Specifications). Regulations provide minimum common platform and finally it is the consumer who controls the performance and other requirements, which often are beyond regulations. In order to ensure that the product complies, ARAI will also carry out a technical evaluation as per specific tender requirements and submit a report on it to the government authorities. We also provide end-to-end solutions to the customers for designing of their products. All our labs are equipped to cover all the above requirements. Our role is such that we fit into each and every part of the overall process of bus construction and approval.

Q. How well is ARAI equipped to handle such an exercise?

A. ARAI is well equipped with 12 different laboratories. Each laboratory is dedicated to a particular subject such as structural dynamics, automotive electronics, powertrain engineering, automotive materials, noise vibration and harshness, emission certification, vehicle evaluation, active and passive safety, etc. We have full capability as well as the capacity to carry out testing and evaluation of various aspects such as structural strength, roll over protection, noise, vibration and other characteristics of buses, seats, anchorages, mirrors, horns, tyres, under-run protection devices and several other mandatory tests. We also have the expertise to evaluate and improve interior noise, construction of windows and doors, emergency exits, fire safety and flammability, Its features and so on. In addition to physical testing, ARAI has developed expertise in simulation tools which are very much essential in minimising the testing and development efforts as well as save on the time taken. Simulation testing for bus roll-over requires considerable expertise and we have a dedicated team to take up the projects. Demonstrating good co-relation of laboratory simulation with physical testing, which helps the designer to come up with an optimum design in a cost effective way, apart from saving time and testing efforts, it also gives a lot of standardisation opportunities in vehicle design. At the component level we cover the entire spectrum of safety components that go into a vehicle. To safeguard against fire hazards, there are specific requirements like flammability of the interior materials, fire compatibility of fuel tanks and effectiveness of evacuation through escape windows. Our testing capabilities are also supported by the design and revalidation expertise.

Q. How much time will it take to get ARAI Bus Code certification?

A. It would depend on the scope of his (bus body builder’s) work. It is not the first time that a regulation has been introduced for buses. All the commercial vehicles have been subjected to tests and approvals in the past. At the chassis level as well as at the complete vehicle level, there have been mandatory test standards and regulations. Vehicle models are already in compliance with BS IV or BS III (as the case may be) emission norms. The ABS requirement has already been notified. With AIS 052, the specific requirements related to bus construction are now notified. So it is not expected that the testing and approval will start from scratch. Manufacturers use already approved components and type approved bus chassis. They do the body building of the vehicles and the final product has to comply on an individual component or system level as well as at the complete vehicle level. To answer your question about the time required, I would say that it is difficult for us as a test agency to estimate. It would rather depend on the readiness of the manufacturer. To give you a rough idea, the bus roll-over (physically or through simulation) and verification of bus construction, could be completed in four-to-six weeks. We have multiple labs, where parallel activities related to component approval, emission testing etc. can be carried out. It depends on how prepared the manufacturer is. How technically ready he is.

Q. What could be the costs incurred in the certification process?

A. Typically it is of the order of Rs. 9 lakh per model. It is the base cost covering mandatory tests on the vehicle. In the event that a manufacturer or a body builder has similar such products, ARAI suggests worst case criteria, which reduces the cost for subsequent models or variants having similar specifications. For designs that are modular in nature, once a system is established, further approvals can be linked with the original type approval.

Q. What has the dialogue with the bus industry highlighted?

A. Bus construction related requirements have come into existence in two stages. First step was accreditation. It was aimed towards assessing the capability of the body builder in the designing and building of complex products. That was introduced much earlier, and in the last three to four years it has enabled them to organise their operations for better product design. Test agencies like ARAI are authorised for granting this accreditation. The second step was to introduce a technical requirement, a comprehensive code in the form of AIS 052 standard. The intention of that standard was to grant type approval for fully built buses. Buses are being registered even today, but it is the second stage approval that is being done by the State Transport Authorities (STAs). Since these authorities do not have requisite test facilities and expertise to test and certify the provisions of AIS 052, it will now be the responsibility of the test agencies under CMV Rule 126 to test and approve the prototypes submitted by bus body builders. With these approvals, the body builder would be able to register his vehicle in various states.

Q. So, is the new certification process about prototype level compliance rather than the compliance at the fully built level?

A. As stated above, the STAs do not have the technical expertise as well as the resources to verify AIS 052 compliance, which is not just a physical verification but also involves extensive tests. As a result, the new certification process calls for a prototype level compliance for fully built buses. This should explain why the certification process has been brought under type approval while the rest of the registration process will continue as it is.

Q. Have the European bus regulations influenced the Indian Bus Code?

A. When we started the exercise of developing AIS 052 standard about 10 years ago, we based these requirements on already existing technical regulations in Europe. By the time our standard was established and is being implemented now, the base regulation in Europe has moved forward considerably. New requirements related to fire safety and frontal crash have been introduced. We are tracking those developments. We are also aware of our own requirements. Bus Code has it all integrated, and prescribes minimum safety requirements that we should start with. Our objective is to benchmark ourselves to international designs in the near future. The government desires that the industry should be actively involved so that this migration takes place at a steady pace. Our objective is to achieve better road safety.

Q. Why did it take this long for the Bus Code to be implemented?

A. In my opinion we are not a safety conscious country. We wait for regulations to mandate safety. It is often seen that the consumer is very sensitive to aspects like cost, fuel consumption and maintainability of the vehicles. Very little attention is however paid to the vehicular safety as well as road safety. With the increasing rate of accidents, we cannot wait for the consumer to get educated and demand safety. A decision was therefore made by CMVR-Technical Standing Committee in consultation with stakeholders to bring about the regulation and ensure that everybody follows it as a basic requirement. It gives all the designers a common ground to work upon. The same approach was followed earlier for evolving standards for other auto segments like passenger vehicles. Despite keeping an open view about the global products, due consideration has been given to our indigenous designs. Our satisfaction stems from the fact that at least the OEMs are forthcoming in ensuring Bus Code compliance. We have also appealed and advised them to standardise their designs and hand over these designs to the body builders, so that the quality of the product is ensured. Finally the vehicle that runs on the road carries the OEM’s name and rightfully its the OEMs who take the product liability. Our advice to OEMs therefore is that they could develop and own the designs but let the body builders use these standardised designs with due authorisation so that a cost effective and efficient ecosystem develops.

Q. Are you saying that OEMs could go the Tesla Motors way, which open sourced their patents resulting in the acceptance of electric passenger vehicles?

A. That’s a possibility. Bus body builders with their vast experience have also matured over time. By no means should we belittle their wisdom and technical expertise. What is lacking is an integrated approach towards vehicle design and product liability. This sector was encouraged in order to promote and support small scale manufacturing. Even when the truck code was developed, it was seen that despite having the manufacturing ability and capacity, OEMs outsourced work to another sector for cost effectiveness.

Q. How do you think the Bus Code will impact the industry? The unorganised sector?

A. There is a need for good designers who can standardise products or can undertake a modular approach the way it is elsewhere in the world. There will thus be no need to reinvent the whole design. The body builder can improvise, can offer value added designs by letting the core construction remain the same. The apprehensions of body builders were addressed by the Ministry. Many body builders now have started to form a cluster to optimise their resources and link up with the OEMs to adapt good design practices. Overall the direction is good, but it will take time before we start getting the desired results. Because of individual interests, things may not work as swiftly. It was also the reason why the need for body builder accreditation was initially felt. Those who demonstrate capabilities would receive accreditation. Those who do not, will have to migrate to achieve it.

Q. Body builders seem concerned about the need to travel all the way to ARAI at Pune?

A. The vehicle is required to be brought to the test laboratory since certain physical tests such as the roll-over test, anchorage test, etc. cannot be done at the manufacturer’s. And, this is the case with other sectors too. In order to facilitate approval process, we do carry out some of the tests at the manufacturer’s site, where ever it is possible to transport the test facilities to such sites. We will obviously look at minimising the efforts, time and logistics involved in transporting such vehicles.