Heavy metal at the Expo

CV manufacturers rolled out a varied range at the Auto Expo, says Eliot Lobo.

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 13 Feb 2008 Views icon2962 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Heavy metal at the Expo
While the Tata Nano may have hogged the limelight at this year’s edition of the Auto Expo, Tata Motors and the other commercial vehicle manufacturers had much to show and be proud of.

In addition to the 4923 6×4 tractor and 3138 8×2 truck with lift axle that it launched last month, Tata also premièred its Ace 1-tonner and a CNG variant, plus a low-entry Starbus and 28-seater from Tata Marcopolo Motors Ltd. The Ace 1-tonne comes loaded with an HVAC system and power steering as standard. The CNG Ace is India’s first MPFI (multi-point fuel injection) mini-truck on CNG, and comes equipped with a deceleration cutoff for better fuel economy, a first in its category.

The air-conditioned Tata Marcopolo low entry bus is designed for BRTS (Bus Rapid Transit System) application with pneumatic doors that arrest bus movement if open, air-curtains at the doors, opening and closing signals, seat belts, emergency door signals, and a manual ramp for the physically challenged.

In keeping with the features of BRTS lines internationally, this highly specified Starbus also offers an electronic destination display integrated with voice announcement system and compatible to GPS and smart card ticketing. The 28-seater Tata Marcopolo bus features a large rear luggage space, pneumatically operated driver-controlled passenger door, and anti-skid vinyl flooring.

Ashok Leyland's Avia

Apart from a couple of Newgen rigid multiaxle models, Ashok Leyland showed its Avia D120 truck chassis, 3135 tipper, and iBus concept for bus rapid transit application.

The Czech-produced Euro 4 Avia has a 120hp Cummins ISBe engine, but the ‘Indianised’ version currently in development will use one of a new range of engines designed by Ashok Leyland.

The 3135, to be introduced into the market in September, is the first truck in India with Cummins’ L-series engine, a mechanical version of the electronic ISLe that will feature in Tata’s World Truck.

The iBus, powered by a 160hp version of the H-series engine, has been designed for two ‘classes’ – executive and economy – to enhance occupancy by allowing for a differential fare structure.

It comes with electronically controlled air suspension on both axles, disc brakes on the front axle, 4S/4M ABS, and electropneumatic doors, all supplied by Knorr-Bremse.

An additional standard feature is the Alert telematics on-board unit that facilitates vehicle tracking and real-time arrival information at bus stops. This device, which works on GPS and GPRS, was launched at the Expo following a year of field trials, and is packaged with real-time Web-based reporting and fleet management functionality.

MAN thunders in

MAN Force Trucks is all set to introduce MAN’s TGA WorldWide trucks at the premium end of its range. This 70:30 joint venture between Force Motors and MAN Nutzfahrzeuge displayed a 19.430 6×2 tractor and a 33.430 6×4 tractor. Prasan Firodia, MD of Force Motors, told Autocar Professional that the company had already received enquiries for the new trucks, which would be made available in India in a variety of applications.

Both trucks on display had a Euro 3 version of MAN’s D20 engine with a maximum power rating of 430hp and max. torque of 2100 Nm. Other Euro 3 ratings that may be available include 390hp and 1900 Nm, and 350hp and 1750 Nm.

The trucks, designed expressly for the markets of Russia and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, come with 16-speed ZF gearboxes, MAN BrakeMatic electronic braking system, and anti-jackknife brakes with ABS. They will initially be imported as complete units from MAN’s new plant in Niepolomice, Poland, where they are presently built. They will over the next few years be assembled at MAN Force’s Pithampur plant, a company official said.

AMW's wide range

Following a string of successive launches, Asia MotorWorks unveiled its 3118HL four-axle rigid truck aimed at the cement, container, tanker, petrochemical, fertiliser, agriculture, and general cargo sectors. The company also showed off a tip-trailer of its own design, and a completely built concrete mixer truck with Schwing Stetter equipment.

Eaton impact

Eaton Corp is watching the Indian market for an opportunity to introduce its 9-, 10-, and 13-speed heavy duty transmissions for torque ratings of 1200 Nm up to 3,000 Nm.

These will all be synchromesh gearboxes of twin-countershaft design, for the often extreme requirements in countries such as India and China, where trucks are more often than not operated at way above their rated loads in harsh conditions.

The company also supplies manual and automated 9-, 10-, 13-, and 18-speed constant mesh transmissions around the world, and they could be made available here too.

The twin countershaft design is a proven robust design suitable for emerging markets where overloading is an obsession, Curt Hutchins, president of the heavy duty transmission division of Eaton’s truck group, told Autocar Professional at the Expo.

The 10309 single-countershaft gearbox Eaton supplies to Tata, its largest in this market so far, is a medium duty product, but the higher power ratings of 350–400 hp expected in vehicles like Tata’s World Truck would necessitate twin-countershaft transmissions, he said.

While the two largest truckmakers in India, Tata and Ashok Leyland have traditionally been vertically integrated, producing their own transmissions, Hutchins expects they will require its transmissions particularly for export applications. “Trucks exported from India will definitely be higher-horsepower products,” he said.

The other design features of the synchromesh transmissions Eaton plans to introduce include 17–25 percent step sizes between gears for better fuel economy, and an intuitive, driver-friendly shift pattern.

A strategic part of Eaton’s flexible global manufacturing footprint, its Pune plant will support global customers such as International Truck in this market, as well as Indian manufacturers entering Western markets, such as Tata with its World Truck.

The global trend towards automation of manual gearboxes will come to India, Hutchins said. Just when is something he was loathe to predict.

Haldex at the expo

Haldex India Ltd sees interesting prospects in the Indian market for its trailer systems. Andrew Blakeley, territory manager for Haldex Commercial Vehicle Systems, thinks there is a market here for the company’s semitrailer ABS. Though the version displayed at the Haldex section of the Anand Group’s stand is a two-sensor, two-modulator system, Haldex is the only manufacturer with a simpler 2S, 1M system that considerably increases the ease of maintenance and lowers the cost for the operator.

An innovative safety-enhancing product that Blakeley and Ganesh Pai, CEO of Haldex India, want to introduce is the COLAS+ raise/lower valve that automatically resets the trailer to ride height to protect against human error. Other Haldex products on display at the Expo included its ILAS-E integrated lift axle system, for applications such as on the Tata 3118 truck launched recently. This cost-effective electronically controlled valve lowers the axle automatically at a specified load.

The company also wants to promote its Hydrair clutch servo (booster), automatic drain valves (these fit onto the compressed air tank and function to drain the tank of accumulated moisture), foot valves, and trailer valves. Haldex India currently manufactures self-setting automatic slack adjusters, Consep condenser-separators, and levelling valves at its two plants in Nashik, and the Tkx single-solenoid ABS valve for export. This valve will be introduced in India later this year, Pai said.

The company’s disc brake systems have featured on the winning trucks at the European Truck Race Championship for the last two years.

Hiab Load Handling Equipment Pvt Ltd had three of its highest-selling products on display — two Hiab truck-mounted cranes and Zepro tail-lift, both manufactured in Sweden, and a Multilift hooklift with a demountable waste collection body on an Ashok Leyland chassis.
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