Article by: Rajesh Rajgor

HLM India, a subsidiary of HLM Europe, is finding the going good with demand for reefer trucks growing.

Pune-based HLM India Pvt. Ltd. has sold 300 refrigerated bodies (reefer boxes fitted on trucks) last year. It marks an impressive performance on the part of the company, especially considering that it has forayed into the Indian reefer business some five years ago. In those five years, the company has achieved a high degree of localisation, drawn from its experience in building specialised applications in Europe. A Joint Venture (JV) between HLM (Europe) and Transport Solutions of India (TSI), HLM India, according to its CEO and Director, Siddharth Mishra, has invested in a modern manufacturing facility at Chakan, Pune, to build superior refeer truck bodies using modern technology. Claiming to be a 10 per cent stakeholder in the company, with HLM (Europe) holding a 45 per cent stake, and TSI holding a 45 per cent stake, Mishra opines, “We have invested in vacuum tables, CNC cutting machines, gluing and designing technology, thermo-forming and moulding of Glass reinforced Plastic (GRP) panels in India. When we started our operation here, we were amongst the first few companies to offer GRP.” Manufacturing 25 units on an average every month, HLM, says Mishra, is also planning to expand capacity. The company is planing to set up an assembly line at Chennai. “This will enable us to manufacture 50 units per month,” he quips.

 

Cool framework

On the virtue of having achieved high local content, HLM India is able to offer good deal of customisation to its customers. Till date the company has developed reefer bodies across platforms, from the stables of Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, Mahindra and Mahindra, BharatBenz and VECV. “We have made boxes on almost an entire range of trucks from all the leading manufacturers, offering different levels of customisation. Depending on the requirement, the price may range from Rs. 2 lakhs for a eight feet box to Rs. 10 lakhs for a 40 feet box consisting of various combinations,” says Mishra. The company, he claims, has keen focus on quality while offering various levels of customisation. Customisation occurs in lock sets, flooring, wall protection and doors. Locally sourced air-conditioners, sheet metal, aluminium, insulated material and imported GRP moulding with extruded polystyrene (XPS) are used to make these reefer bodies. “The biggest customisation we offer is the fitment of crates that can carry 10 per cent more volume. We are able to offer a crate of upto 2 x 1200 mm in width, surpassing any competitor in the market,” articulates Mishra. He cites the example of his client, Gowardhan Dairy. The dairy is able to carry 15 per cent more payload because it is able to accommodate more crates in its reefer trucks. This is facilitated by cleverly designed pallets. “Earlier, while manoeuvring through a ‘ghat’, on its return trip the client would prefer to ply empty by discarding surplus milk packets. The light weighting box from our company enables them to carry these unsold packets back,” exclaims Mishra.

Light and durable

The sector in which HLM India operates, calls for lighter, durable and corrosion resistant boxes. The lighter construction only helps in the carriage of a large amount of cargo. “At par with marine containers, our sandwiched reefer containers are inherently lightweight, hence they allow for larger payloads to the tune of 15 to 50 per cent depending on the GVW of the vehicle,” states Mishra. Claiming that its reefer bodies are of superior quality, Mishra adds, “Our reefer bodies are fire resistant, do not absorb water, do not rust and do not even require floor replacement. They are bacteria and micro-organism resistant too.” Such a feature will not only make cleaning vehicles effortless, but also reduce the risk of contamination while transporting consignments across product categories. The company’s reefer bodies have been deployed across industries like pharmaceuticals, FMCG, dairy and retail chains. With customers like Snowman, RK Foodland, Sheetal Parivahan, Coldex, Coldstar, etc. As a logical extension, HLM India is also planing to build ambulances. “We are working in the direction of developing fully assembled ambulances on various platforms,” asserts Mishra.

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