Mahindra Xylo: the inside story
Component manufacturers have played a significant role in the development of the new Xylo.
M&M also extensively used foreign consultants in the development of the Xylo, such as Lotus Engineering of the UK, which was involved in the suspension tuning, AVL of Austria for engine development, Italy-based Stile Bertone for the styling, and MIRA of the UK for aerodynamic refinement and testing.
We take a closer look at the development efforts and challenges faced by some of the India-based suppliers to the Xylo.
The Xylo instrument panel was designed by Visteon in India with the support of Visteon’s global engineering team and was involved throughout the process, from styling to launch. Visteon supported the early evaluation of the panel with its proprietary global engineering tool called ‘GENPAD’, which helps conduct packaging and ergonomic studies for passenger safety based on the Head Impact Area and Demist Zone to ensure clear vision. According to A Viswanathan, chairman and MD, “the panel is a modular design, allowing for the same tool to be used for both left-hand drive and right-hand- drive versions, which in turn makes the programme more cost effective.”
Visteon introduced robotic operations specifically for the Xylo instrument panel assembly line to ensure more synchronised line speed, enhanced quality, and improved fit and finish. Some key features of the panel are a ‘soft grab handle’ for better feel and soft opening of the glovebox. The design is also flexible enough to be adapted for future upgrades, such as the incorporation of airbags.
Rane TRW Steering Systems
The company has developed and supplied the power steering gear for the Xylo. According to G Prathapan, president, Rane TRW Steering Systems, the company practices a structured New Product Development (NPD) process that defines the activities to be followed right from the customer enquiry to mass production of the product. There are five steps known as Design Reviews, which ensure that the product design, quality, cost and time targets are met and the part is developed without snags.
The Xylo steering gear development went through this process and included continuous reviews with M&M during every stage, including conceptualisation, product design, development and validation, process design, development and validation and finally mass production. M&M stringently audited the production processes with its Mass Manufacturing Approval (MMA) audit, which Rane TRW passed with high scores. The power steering gear also underwent severe vehicle level tests during the development process.
The hydraulic power rack and pinion steering gear is a heavy duty system with a 28mm diameter rack. The valve, rack and pinion set and the ball joints are designed for the lowest noise and higher operating life. Santoprene bellows are lower weight and increase the life of the system. The pinion housing is made of pressure die casting for better strength to weight ratio. To provide proper feedback and safety, the steering system was tuned and perfected by Rane TRW, M&M and consultant Lotus of the UK. Also, the system meets international environmental standards and does not have any hazardous materials in its construction.
Rane TRW has indigenously developed and installed a state-of-the-art assembly line to produce the steering system which is designed to minimise defects and meet the stringent cost targets set by M&M. There is a high degree of localisation in the steering system as well as the assembly line.
This Nashik-based company manufactures the entire chassis for the Xylo as per the design and specifications of M&M. The company uses the latest equipment and machinery like Japanese ‘Fanuc’ robots for the welding of the various parts into the chassis and also has an autophoretic paint shop which is supplied by Henkel of Germany. Once manufactured, the chassis’ are supplied on a Just-In-Time basis to the Mahindra Xylo assembly line at Nashik.
The chassis itself is an evolution of the Scorpio and is 30 percent stiffer with the ladder frame being stretched and widened. Varroc Engineering The company supplies all the interior trim parts such as the pillar trims for the A, B, C and D pillars. Varroc also manufactures the rear quarter panel, which it supplies as a module along with the D-pillar cover for the interiors. It has upto nine different versions of these parts, depending on the trim level of the Xylo. Varroc worked with M&M on the design and engineering of these parts. It also supplies some exterior parts for the Xylo such as the tailgate garnish, skuff plate, foot end cap, which is the aluminium section on the foot step and the covering for the wiring harness.
Lumax was involved in the designing of the Xylo headlamps and commenced their development around three years ago. According to Deepak Jain, executive director, the assignment was “extremely challenging” as Lumax worked closely with M&M on the development of the headlamps. The boomerang shape is rather unconventional and Lumax brought in a team of stylists to help with their design. The company is a supplier to other Mahindra vehicles as well and hence is used to working with the company.
Jain adds: “We are definitely proud to be associated with the Xylo which promises to be a successful product. It gave us the opportunity to jointly develop the vehicle, which is made by Indian engineers. This is a matter of pride for us.”
Subros began working with M&M on the air conditioning system for the Xylo over three years ago. According to D M Reddy, CEO, Subros Ltd, “It was a very challenging assignment for us since the air conditioner had to be effective in the large Xylo cabin and also needed to be built at the right cost.” Subros worked concurrently with M&M on the design of the system with its engineers spending a lot of time at the Mahindra design centre. In terms of actual development time, it took the supplier around 24 months from the stage when the concept was frozen.
Reddy adds: “When we undertake a project, there is a lot of risk involved right upto the roll out of the final product. There could be a lot of changes in the specifications during the development. We have a very longstanding relationship with M&M and our association on the Xylo is a matter of great pride for us.”
This joint venture between the Anand Group and Dana Corporation of the US supplies the rear axle for the Xylo. Its 'Banjo Beam' design is superior to the traditional 'Salisbury' design, providing lower NVH, maintenance-free wheel hub bearings (that are lubed for life), better ground clearance, lower weight and less power loss. Development started in early 2006 and the Dana design was modified for M&M. The system has a 90 percent localisation level.
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