Bosch opens ECU plant in Bangalore

Component supplier's new plant at Naganathapura will make Electronic Control Units for diesel and petrol fuel injection systems. Jayashankar Menon reports.

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 17 Jun 2009 Views icon20536 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
RBAI's Rs 60 crore plant will make Electronic Control Units (ECUs) for diesel and petrol fuel injection systems. The ECUs will integrate the functions of engine control into a single unit. The software for the ECU was specifically developed for the requirements of emerging markets like India.

Dr Bernd Bohr, chairman, Automotive Group, Robert Bosch GmbH, Germany, said: “Bosch India is an important constituent of the worldwide Bosch family. We have made substantial investments for various expansion projects and new product introductions. This new ECU facility is another significant step in that direction.”

Innovating for India

The first batch of ECUs produced at Naganathapura will be supplied for the Tata Nano. Over the past few years, Bosch has been introducing its products to the Indian market as part of its growing commitment to the country. It has already introduced the common-rail injection system for diesel vehicles. The common-rail system is also to be made available in the commercial vehicle segment soon.

Another innovation, the start-stop system, which can reduce fuel consumption by 8-12 percent, is already in use in Mahindra’s Scorpio and Bolero models. The next product from Bosch is the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), which it plans to start manufacturing in India later this year. At the inauguration, Dr Volkmar Denner, Member, Board of Management, Robert Bosch GmbH, gave an overview of the automotive electronics division and also explained the Group’s reason for localising production of ECUs in India. Denner also highlighted the importance of the India facility to the global Bosch production centre – “The electronics division at Naganathapura is the centre of competence within Bosch for all electronic products. Products such as body control computers and immobilisers are brought directly to the market, but a majority of products are supplied internally to our Bosch divisions, which are suppliers to carmakers. In the past, we have served our customers in India with ECUs imported from either Europe or China, mainly due to limited demand. But we now see a steep growth for our product in India now and in the near future.”

Elaborating on the new facility, Denner said: “We have integrated the testing and qualification facility into the new manufacturing site. This allows for fast feedback between manufacturing and development and also helps solve problems faster. After ramp up, we will have a capacity of 2.5 million ECUs per year. The Bosch Production System (BPS) is implemented in this plant from the very beginning. The quality standards will be the same here as in other ECU plants worldwide and all employees are trained in the same manner as their colleagues globally. Over time, RBAI will have an impact on all other plants in the Bosch network.”

Business as usual

The overall market slowdown does not seem to have affected Bosch in a big way. VK Viswanathan, managing director, Bosch India, said: “Our Bangalore plant is operating at near full capacity, the Jaipur unit is also at a very high level and the Nashik plant is doing well too. Overall, we are seeing excellent growth compared to January 2009. All the plants are working three shifts. We have invested 10 million euro (Rs 65 crore) and a similar amount will come next year. Our long-term plan is to invest 50 million euro.” Clearly, the German component major is banking on future growth in India.
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