JP Tools sees bright prospects for sensors

Automotive sensor maker to set up additional lines for new technologies.

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 16 Sep 2006 Views icon6674 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
JP Tools & Components, which makes automotive sensors, has earmarked Rs 10 crore over the next two years to set up two additional lines for new technologies. At present, it runs three lines with a production capacity of one million sensors a year at its Mumbai facility. A fourth line will turn operational within the next two months.

Along with group company JP Tools and Procteus Electronics (R&D division), the two accounted for a combined turnover of Rs 25 crore last year. "We expect to touch about Rs 15 crore for JP Tools this fiscal, up from Rs 10 crore last year," Jai Bhambhani, managing director, told Autocar Professional.

The company makes thermostats, NTC temperature sensors, O2 sensors/lambda sensors, inductive pickup sensors, hall-effect sensors and MAP/T sensors for both passenger cars and commercial vehicles. About 60 percent of the sensors go to the passenger car market and the balance to commercial vehicles. "Light and medium commercial vehicles will have more sensors as they move from Euro II to Euro III norms. There will, therefore, be a lot of potential in this vehicle segment," added Rajiv Patel, CEO.

The group, which will soon be rechristened Sensing Technologies, foresees annual average growth of 35-40 percent from the domestic market. It is a single-source supplier to Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra for sensors. Other clients include Force Motors and Tata Toyo Radiators. JP Tools has developed a digital LCD clock and is in advanced talks with Tata Motors to incorporate this feature in its range of vehicles. Discussions are also underway with Ashok Leyland and Cummins for sensors.

There is also potential in doing business with Maruti, which imports sensors, as well as the two-wheeler segment where manufacturers are using stiffer emission technologies. The company will be focusing on lambda and MAP sensors while it is also moving into other automotive electronics like solid state lighting. "We have already developed specific headlamps which are moving off the conventional incandescent bulb," said Piyush Merchant, director, Proteus Electronics. "If you look at solid state lighting, it is yet to come in any manufactured model except the high-end models. We have it here today."

JP Tools designs and develops its sensors in-house. It sets aside a significant sum every year for R&D. Barely 10 percent of the content in its sensors is imported (from Germany, Italy, US and UK). The R&D centre near Mumbai houses 20 engineers of the total workforce of 50 employees. With Indian carmakers looking to localise their ECUs and bring down costs, business prospects for the group look bright. "Value-engineering will be a major initiative for us," says Patel. Bhambhani adds that the group scores over larger players which are planning to make sensors in India. "Our only advantage is we have controlled our overheads and therefore our costs are low," he says.
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