Spark Minda has inaugurated a tech centre at Pune. It is equipped with modern test and measurement equipment, development tools and a fully operational laboratory to support the development of embedded software and hardware. Including an engineering and design office, the tech centre, built over a space of 40,000 sq. ft., also includes EMI-EMC (Electromagnetic interference & Electromagnetic compatibility) test facility to cater to a complete suite of design and product validation tests. To have 400 employees, the centre, apart from strengthening the Group’s image as a complete system solutions provider, will nurture innovations and create breakthrough solutions. In other news, Spark Minda has commissioned its third die-casting plant at Chakan, Pune. Containing a test lab with x-ray, metallurgy, mechanical and environmental test equipment, the plant, measuring 10 acres of land, is laced with gravity die casting, low pressure die casting, precision machining and powder coating facility. Marking an investment of Rs.100 crore for Phase 1, the plant will lead to a rise in die casting capacity from 8,500 MT to 9,700 MT.
Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari, in a roundtable conference, ‘Driving the shift towards sustainable transport solutions’, organised by Scania Commercial Vehicles India, stressed on the importance of biofuels to de-carbonise and build a sustainable transport sector. Moderated by Vijay Chhiber, former secretary of the ministry of road transport, the roundtable discussion saw Gadkari emphasise on the availability of technology, and the economic viability achievable. “Bio-gas, bio-CNG and bio-ethanol are critical to reduce pollution and clean up the transport sector. Our agriculture sector will benefit the most as it will move to power and energy economy,” the minister said. Amitabh Kant, Niti Aayog stressed upon a future that is shared, connected and not restricted to EVs. Sunita Narain, Director General, Center of Science and Environment, spoke about a need for thousands of buses to run on clean fuels in India. Scania senior vice president, Erik Ljungberg, called for the creation of sustainable transport. He underlined Scania’s investment in bio-fuels in India.
Snowman Logistics has commissioned a new warehouse at Krishnapatnam with a total capacity of 1,07,200 pallets. It is a temperature-controlled facility at the Gateway Distriparks Logistics Park with a capacity of 3,600 pallets. An additional 10,000 sq. ft. of dry warehousing space is also being made available. With an infrastructure that consists of seven handling and loading bays, G+5 racking systems, blast freezing, variable temperature chambers, technology integration and modern handling equipment, the warehouse has a dedicated room for value-added services relevant to the seafood exports industry.
Tata Motors has launched genuine oils under its own brand for its entire range of CVs. Developed as per the regulations and specifications required for the Indian commercial vehicles market, the genuine oils are exclusively available across 1400 authorised Tata Motors commercial vehicle workshops in India. The salient features of the oils are superior quality and performance, and longer aggregate life. To be offered under its own brand, the lubricants that Tata Motors is providing, include engine oils, gear oils and rear axle oils. Suitable for use in on-road and off-road Tata CVs, the lubes, according to R Ramakrishnan, Senior Vice President, Customer Care, CVBU, Tata Motors, will provide customers with the best lubricant technology expertise and support in a competitive market place. The CI4+ 15W40 and CH4 15W40 grade engine oil is priced at Rs.185 per litre. The 80W90 LL gear oil is priced at Rs.210 per litre. The 80W140 LL rear axle oil is priced at Rs.240 per litre.
Hubli-based VRL Logistics Limited (VRL) has placed an order for 1200 trucks with Ashok Leyland. The order is worth more than Rs.350 crore and is for 600 units of the 3123 and 3723 models. The trucks, mentioned Vinod Dasari, Managing Director, Ashok Leyland, will have advanced features to ensure superior efficiency and profitability. “VRL Logistics and Ashok Leyland have a long-standing relationship which surpasses the usual customer-vendor relationship. VRL has been over the years, not only our customer but have also worked very closely with us to develop new products which suit various customer needs,” he stated. The advanced features the two truck models offer are expected to help VRL to improve efficiency and profitability. This would be achieved by reducing the turnaround time, and by consuming less fuel.
VE Commercial Vehicles has introduced electric buses under its Eicher brand. Developed by integrating KPIT’s ‘Revolo’ electrification technology, the electric bus range is based on the company’s versatile Skyline Pro platform. Produced at the Pithampur facility of the company, the electric bus range includes a 9 m Skyline Pro E bus that was recently unveiled by the company. Offering a range of 177 km on a single charge, the air-conditioned bus is equipped with the best-in-class transport system. Generating up to 36 per cent of energy, which leads to less than 0.8 electricity units per km, the bus complies with the highest safety standards, including ‘Nail Penetration’ test for batteries. Provided with a top-up charger for en-route charging, the bus is claimed to operate at a lower voltage. The ability to operate at a lower voltage is said to have resulted in the bus having a smallest possible battery as part of a modular system that is designed to work under Indian conditions.
With the Pithampur (Indore) plant running at full capacity, VE Commercial Vehicles is looking at a new plant, claim industry sources. They draw attention to the shift of Eicher heavy-truck production out of the Bangalore facility of Volvo Trucks. The Eicher heavy trucks claimed to be based on Volvo Asia truck platform, are said to be adding to the already overflowing Pithampur plant. Claimed to average 7000 units per month, any rise in demand may call for the creation of a new manufacturing facility, mention sources. They draw attention to the company clocking sales of 6000 units in December 2017, and express that VECV, with an offering in almost every segment of the CV market in India barring the SCV segment will sooner or later have to invest in a new plant. They claim that the company is looking at investing Rs.400 to Rs.500 crore in FY2018-19, a chunk of which is earmarked for BSVI technology development, and the development of an electric vehicle range. If VECV would develop the parcel of land it is said to have at Bhopal is not yet clear. the Bangalore facility of Volvo Trucks, at the other end, will soon start rolling out Volvo cars.