Bosch bullish on India prospects
Fresh investments have been planned by the German giant to shift production of its LSPV range to India, says Ammar Master.
The CR line in Bangalore will have a capacity to make 1,000 pumps a day to meet the needs of the Indian market. Mahindra & Mahindra, for example, launched the Turbo 2.6 Scorpio with the locally applied Bosch CR system. Suzuki will source Bosch’s CR system for its diesel engines next year while Ashok Leyland will do so for its trucks. In fact, this will be the first CR application truck in India.
Apart from this, Bosch will make new investments to move the production of its LSPV (load sensing proportionate valves) global range to India in the next few months. It will also set up a new line to manufacture ABS control systems in 2009. Presently, ABS is almost non-existent in India, with most manufacturers going for LSPVs but Bosch officials say it will nonetheless provide this option for vehicle manufacturers. The biggest decider is the price. While an LSPV typically costs around $20, an ABS system comes at $200. It is also natural that once Bosch starts making ABS in India, the emphasis initially will be on exports.
Albert Hieronimus, managing director, MICO said at a recently organised technology workshop in Mumbai that the biggest driver in the Indian automotive industry would be emissions control and fuel efficiency in lieu of rising fuel costs. “We need to bring the technology we have in the world but at lower costs,” he said.
This naturally is done with local production and local procurement. In the case of Bosch it has both. Its plants in India purchase materials from more than 1,500 suppliers. There is also strong emphasis on local R&D efforts. MICO’s Technical Centre in India already has more than 340 qualified and experienced engineers. However, Bosch will recruit another 60 engineers next year to support its CRS implementation project in India.
The success of Bosch in India, Hieronimus said, stands on three major pillars. The first is its global strengths emerging from its technology innovation and products. The second is Bosch’s local resources, meaning the expertise and experience of its people and partners. And the third is Bosch world class standards that have been attained through exemplary manufacturing and quality. MICO’s four plants in Bangalore, Nashik, Naganathapura and Jaipur are all TS 16949 and ISO 14000 certified.
With these strengths, Bosch in India has several new products on the anvil. Its energy and body systems, chassis systems, gasoline systems and diesel systems divisions have developed new products. Many are slated for local production over the next couple of years. The energy and body systems division whose product portfolio comprises starters and generators as well as electric drive components has developed several new products. The division has been successful in reducing the weight and thereby proportion of copper in its new starter motors.
##### “High copper prices have been the talk of the world,” said Kithur Mohamed, deputy general manager, automotive energy & body systems. “The new HX 87 series (for HCV applications) has its weight reduced to 7.5 kg against our existing DE114 24V series weighing 14 kg. This has brought down the use of copper from 3 kg to 1.6 kg in the new starter,” he added.
Similarly, the weight of its starter motors technology for tractor, three-wheeler, LCV, MUV and passenger car applications have also been reduced. This gives higher power to weight ratio as well as it is compact and better for packaging. Its optimised design also gives better cold cranking capability and overload protection.
Bosch has also brought out new alternators for all applications. All these products are scheduled for local production starting this year up to mid-2008. “Indian engineers have played a key role in their development,” added Mohamed. The division will also start producing an engine cooling fan in March 2007, the technology for which is from Bosch units abroad. Bosch has patented the high efficiency module which has an option of electronically commuted brushless motor. The motor designs come from advanced research in Buehl, Germany while the fan and shroud designs are from experts in Waltham, USA.
Meanwhile, Bosch’s gasoline (petrol) and diesel systems divisions are also playing a key role in India. Its Motronic for small engines meets the needs of two-wheelers. The company's ‘value Motronic’ systems are developed for emerging market to cater for low, priced small cars. More recently, Bosch has developed components for bivalent vehicles that run on both petrol and natural gas (CNG). The bi-fuel engine, or electronic control unit, is the core of this system. To meet the requirements of natural gas, Bosch has developed a natural gas injector dubbed NGI2.
It has also produced the CNG components comprising electromagnetic fuel tank shutoff valve, pressure regulator, high and low pressure sensors and CNG fuel rail. It also offers solutions to develop CVT (continuous variable transmission) systems. Already, the push belts used with the CVT systems are in series production. The chassis systems division will bring out a new generation booster plus a standard and global tandem master cylinder (TMC). The new product encompasses global design which reduces the weight of the booster and length of the TMC. Bosch is also coming out with rear calipers which are now featured only in imported cars. Officials said that an Indian SUV will feature a rear caliper next year.
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