CE industry looks at efficiency, compact build and automation

With government’s impetus on mining and infrastructure, the Construction Equipment (CE) industry in India is upbeat. Anticipating strong growth, the CE industry is also working on turning out new machines that are efficient, compact and comfortable. Claim industry sources that work area for CE is getting more and more confined, giving rise to compact machines. Such machines eliminate the need for complex manoeuvring, they added. Yet another development is the assistance functions like the CAT Grade with Assist system developed by Caterpillar. It provides an assistance function with semi-automatic shovel control for chain excavators. Mentioned industry sources that assistance or automated controls are elevating the level of comfort. This could also result in higher productivity and higher efficiency, they said.

NHAI plans 50,000 km of road network

NHAI chairman Raghav Chandra has announced that 50,000 km of road network will be built in the next five to six years with an investment of Rs. 17 lakh crore. Claimed to have began preparing a detailed project reports on 7,000 km of road projects, Chandra made the announcement while speaking at a seminar on roads sector at the ‘Make in India’ Week in Mumbai. He posed confidence in building 25,000 km of roads through various programmes like Bharat Mala, National Highways Development Project, Seth Bharatam Pariyojana and District Connectivity. Expressing a need for the participation of the private sector in assisting the government to achieve its target, Chandra, in his speech, said that they would like private sector assistance not just in funding but also in the area of technology. Stating that 240 projects were under various stages of implementation, Chandra drew attention to the issue of land having been addressed by the government. According to data from the ministry of road, transport and highways, 3,980 km of roads were constructed during April-December 2015 when compared to 2,475 km of roads made during the corresponding period the financial year before.

Driver training and selection program for T1 Prima racing starts

Tata Motors has announced the commencing of driver training and selection program for T1 Prima racing championship. The announcement comes roughly two months prior to the Season III of championship, which will be held at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC) on March 20, 2016. In line with its announcement to recruit Indian drivers, Tata Motors recently held an event to provide an insight into how 12 Indian drivers will race at BIC. They are being trained, and will run a race at the BIC separate of the chamionship race, which will continue to host experienced international drivers representing six teams, featuring 12 Tata Prima race trucks built for the purpose. This is being done, according to sources in the know of the development, to let the Indian race drivers to get a hang of what it is like to race a truck. While the drivers are said to have been recruited from various Tata fleet operators, the objective of the whole exercise continues to be to turn the profession of truck driving into one that is aspirational.

Shriram Automall at Chandrapur

Shriram Automall India Limited (SAMIL) has launched an automall at Chandrapur in central India. Pioneering in pre-owned vehicle and equipment Industry, the automall at Chandrapur is part of the company’s aggressive expansion plan to build 60 automalls by the end of this fiscal. Spread over 0.75 acres, the eighth such automall to be established by the company, is strategically located near the Nagpur Highway. The automall will provide comprehensive pre-owned vehicle solutions to the region around Chandrapur. Shriram Automall has come to have over 150 bidding locations and over 50 automalls across the country.

Volkswagen AG may separately list truck business

Volkswagen AG is claimed to be deliberating upon separately listing its truck business, which consists of Scania, MAN and the Volkswagen brand of CVs. It was in February 2014, that the German major hired Andreas Renschler (ex-Daimler) to integrate the heavy goods vehicle operations of Scania and MAN divisions, and combine these with Volkswagen commercial vehicles. According to industry sources, the truck business could possibly be restructured, and separated from the core group. The move, interestingly, comes at a time when the German major is being forced to delay its published earnings in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal.

NATRIP vehicle safety testing facilities to be ready by the year end

National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project (NATRiP) is in the process of designing seven state of the art automotive design and testing centres at Manesar, Bangalore, Rai Bareli, Silchar, Indore, Pune and Chennai. The centres, according to those in the know of the development, will be operational by December 2016. Sanjay Bandopadhyay, CEO, NATRiP, at a seminar on ‘Road safety-Time for action’ jointly organised by MoRTH and International Road Federation (IRF) as part of National Road Safety Week is known to have said that the centres will be ready by the year end. The infotronics laboratory and crash testing labs will be operational by June this year, and the high-speed testing track will come up in two years. Equipped to carry out safety tests, including frontal and side crash test for vehicles, the centres will be on par with similar such centres in other parts of the world.

Tata Motors’ confident of bagging Defence Ministry’s FICV project

Forging an alliance with Bharat Forge and General Dynamics, Tata Motors has bid for the USD 11 billion Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) project of the Defence Ministry, and is confident of bagging it. Tata Motors is also known to have announced that it meets the requisite criteria on the back of its technical strength, the size of its Indian assets, a strong balance sheet and the backing of the Tata Group in response to Defence Ministry’s Integrated Project Management Team (IMPT) clarification that bidding companies must have capital assets in India, and the turnover in India will be taken into account for the threshold limit. Industry sources claimed that much would depend on how the company succeeds in convincing the Government and the Defence Ministry to consider the consolidated revenues of the group rather than just one company. Most group companies are listed. For the valuation of the bid, financial parameters account for 26 per cent. The rest of the assessment criteria parameters remain technical. Technical Capability Assessment accounts for 32 per cent, Criteria Technology Assessment accounts for 34 per cent and Technical Specifications Assessment accounts for eight per cent.