Article by: Bhushan Mhapralkar

Tata-DLT is aiming at 50 per cent growth by introducing smart products like tip trailers, canopy trailers and more.

Tata International DLT Pvt. Ltd. (Tata-DLT) has introduced smart, new products in the form of tip-trailers, truck chassis carriers and curtain (canopy) trailers. These will complement the existing product range of the company, which includes flatbed trailers, skeletal trailers, side-wall trailers and semi-low bed trailers. A joint venture between Tata International and Dutch Lanka Trailer Manufacturing Company (DLT), which is owned by TRF Ltd. (a Tata Enterprise), Tata-DLT’s journey in India began in 2006 as a captive trailer manufacturer for Tata Motors. The slow-down of 2012-13 affected the company, and a decision to reach out to the open market was taken. Said Rajeev Batra, COO, Tata International DLT Pvt. Ltd., “The slow-down in 2012-13 affected us, and the senior management decided to reach out to the open market.” Coming to deal with clients on its own, the company came to have three lines of business – trailers for Tata Motors, customised trailers and conventional trailers (standard products). Tiding over challenges, the company invested in a sound sales and service network. “We set-up a sales and service network in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and the Eastern region,” said Batra. Claiming to be a market leader in Maharashtra (as well as India), Batra mentioned, “We commanded a 15 per cent market share of the organised sector last year. This year we want to gather 18 to 20 per cent market share.” The organised sector amounts to 50 per cent of the trailer market in India. There is thus an equal split between the organised and the unorganised market.

Customer-centric

With plans to invade the South and North Indian markets, the company is executing many changes. A new facility has been installed at Jamshedpur to make 60 to 70 trailers a month. Having sold over 10,000 trailers since its inception, the Pune plant, spread over 13 acres, has a capacity to build 3,000 trailers per annum. Currently, 250 to 260 trailers are made every month. Last fiscal the company manufactured 2,116 trailers, the highest ever. “The plan,” averred Batra, “is to make 3,017 trailers this fiscal, marking a 50 per cent rise.” Drawing attention to the 36 cu. m. semi tip-trailer and a 40 cu. m. tip-trailer, a 40 ft. 3-axle skeletal trailer, a 3-axle truck chassis carrier, and a 40 ft. 3-axle collapsible canopy CR coil trailer with side walls, Manoj Das, the marketing head at Tata-DLT, explained that the focus is on quality. One of the very few trailer manufacturers in the country to have ISO 9000 certification, according to him, the company’s operations are supported by a strong engineering team and a modern manufacturing set-up. The design centre at Pune employs modern software like Pro-Mechanica and Mathcad. The manufacturing set-up includes plasma cutting machine, fixtures for accuracy, shot blasting enclosure, Argo shield welding, and a paint booth.

With stress on weight optimisation without compromising the strength, Tata DLT is focusing on an amalgamation of technology and customer needs. This also applies to the customised trailer business, which includes running gears for multinational companies, mobile crushers (100 per cent supplier to mobile crusher companies) and trailers for defence applications. Das explained, “The 3-axle truck chassis carrier introduced in March 2014 weighs 9.8-tonne post weight optimisation. The tip-trailer, made from using ST52 material, is lighter.” Supplying Alcoa aluminium wheel rims as per the requirements of the customer, especially in running gear applications where weight matters, the company, according to Ranjan Kumar Pahadsingh, DGM – NPD, Design, Materials and Quality, understands customer requirements and addresses them. “We are transforming into a customer-centric company,” he commented. Opined Batra, “Focussing on improving the products, we asked the engineering team to speak to customers and understand their needs.” A sales lead is passed to the engineering team and application needs are understood. “A customer complained of tyre wear. We found out that while running empty on a return journey he faced tyre wear under braking. The T80 (brake) valve provides high pressure. The need was to modulate the pressure. Another example is the increase in sidewall strength. This was done to account for user practices,” mentioned Batra.

 

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