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Article by: Anirudh Raheja

Q & A

 

Kartik Ramanan,General Manager –Global Bus Engine Business, Cummins Inc.

Interview by: Anirudh Raheja

 

Global approach

 

How does a variation in technology implementation take place at Cummins?

We do ‘fit for market’. Many years ago, we used to develop the technology in US, and then roll it out in other areas. But this approach does not help us any longer. What we have consciously done in the last few years is to enhance our understanding of the markets, which is why we have organised our bus business, which we did not have earlier. Today we have a complete team which looks after our bus business globally. We have people in India, China, US and Europe as well. There may be things that we do like stop-start technology where we cannot just take it off the European shelf and apply in India. So we may take it to the application engineering level in India and see what the constraints are. What constraints are particularly there for the Indian market and adapt it accordingly. But that is just one part. The other part is, we do products exclusively for India. In fact, we often bring it back to the advanced markets. We have already started; we are already running in that direction. If a product made in US can be used in India, why not a product made in India find use in US. One has to adapt.

 

So, will India be a potential start-stop technology hub and market?

Typically, we have a launch in one area and we always look to leverage the technology in other parts of the world. India is one area where we are actively looking at stop-start technology. Traffic in India is a major problem in various cities. There are still a few things from which we have to weave our way through. Transmissions for example. As to how it (start-stop tech) can mesh up with correct transmissions. Whether stop-start versus manual or stop-start versus automatic; it will take sometime for us to get through.

Many parts of India are moving to Euro 4. How do you look at the implementation of stringent emission norms?

The issue is more about execution, than about capability. I think capability is there. It is difficult for me to say how it will go through but the jump from Euro V to Euro VI is significant. And moving from Euro IV to Euro VI will be a bigger leap. As far as execution is concerned, it will be in two levels. First of the two will be the infrastructure. Infrastructure needs to be ready. The second of the two will include the markets. Markets need to be ready to accept the kind of jump that will be needed. It is a huge jump in terms of initial costs, and it will come down to a decision, that will it be worthwhile putting the economy or market in jeopardy or in peril? If you don’t have buyers, then the new technology is of no use. In my opinion, there will be practical limitations for the implementation of Euro 5, but from the support stand-point we will support it.

 

There are three injectors working instead of six in start-stop technology. Doesn’t the pressure on injectors increase?

It is true that we have three injectors instead of six in start-stop technology. We are however also looking at a technology which can give infinite start-stops. In a market like India where traffic is a huge problem, it can be a kind of hybrid. Currently we have an SCR solution and EGR solutions as well. But SCR has a better life-cycle for the better (life) part of the engine. So, it all boils down to the initial costs involved.

 

What role does India play in terms of new product development at Cummins?

What we are working on is power density and making the engines more compact. Moving on from six cylinder to four cylinder engines will happen, but we need to be more careful. In Europe, we have already done that from 9-litre to 7-litre engines, and now from 7-litre to 4.5-litre gradually. There are some duty cycles which can support that trend. A potentially plain area can take that kind of technology easily, but for a hilly terrain, a six cylinder engine has its own benefits. There are specific challenges in India, Return On Investment (ROI) specifically. I think there is a lot of technology that you can put into India, but diversification in geographical conditions alter the approach to a big extent.

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