Centroid to jazz up Greaves diesel engine

Chennai-based design company conducting pilot tests on improved powerplant.

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 03 Oct 2006 Views icon5904 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Centroid Creative Hubb, based in Chennai, has been working on redesigning Greaves Cotton’s diesel engine that is fitted in Piaggio Vehicles’ three-wheelers and is also used for other applications like agricultural equipment and generators. The tooling-up is complete and pilot testing is underway, said Ramesh Manickam, chief executive officer.

The company has also been asked to substitute sheet metal with plastics. The diesel tank has been replaced with a blow moulded plastic tank. These changes have contributed to a significant reduction in noise, vibration and harshness. Interestingly, Piaggio is gearing up to launch its new four-wheeler mini-commercial vehicle that will take on the well-established Tata Ace. This is a product segment that will see other players throw their hat into the ring too following the stupendous market response to the Ace.

Moving on with Centroid, the company has also designed outer covers, front engine covers, air filter covers, silencers and top sheets for Southern Agro Engines’ diesel engine that is fitted in autorickshaws and generators. Since Southern Agro has improved the overall efficiency of its 296cc/6bhp diesel engine in terms of technology, the company wanted to match improvements in terms of styling too. Manickam said that Centroid is also designing a genset for Southern Agro which plans to enter the compact generator segment. The focus will be on attractive exteriors.

In the automotive segment, SAME Tractors was the company’s first major assignment. The challenge was to design the front-end dashboard with instrument cluster without disturbing the internals, top hood and side panels that are imported. Centroid released the drawings within eight months which were approved by Italy. Later, it developed a prototype in fibre reinforced plastic that was shown to dealers.

The company’s creative line of business focuses on products and automotive design. Manickam said it had designed a skateboard that can tow away two-wheelers in the event of a flat tyre. Along with Vortex, Centroid has designed ATM units for the rural market with a focus on product configuration, human factor and product strategy. The new design can be made at one-eighth the cost of a conventional machine, he said.

Similarly Centroid has done product configuration, styling and tooling up for remote diagnostic medical kits. This helps doctors in remote locations to diagnose patients coming to kiosks by connecting the wires following the instructions. Manickam has, incidentally, been selected as National Finalist in the International Young Designers of the year conducted by the British Council. He will be participating in the London Design festival as well as in group discussions with design houses.
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