Tata Motors de-bottlenecks ALFA architecture in Pune to meet growing demand
The company introduced the Agile, Light, Flexible, and Advanced (ALFA) architecture in 2019.
Tata Motors is de-bottlenecking its ALFA modular architecture setup in Pune. This currently produces close to 100% capacity, which translates to roughly 800-1000 units per day, to fulfil the growing incremental demand.
In order to offer modularity, expedite product planning, and introduce new nameplates at regular intervals, Tata Motors introduced the Agile, Light, Flexible, and Advanced (ALFA) architecture in 2019.
Located at the auto major's Pune facility, it has played a crucial role in meeting the high volume demand for the entire portfolio of cars, such as Altroz and Punch.
Mohan Savarkar, Vice President, Product Line, Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles Ltd., stated that certain modifications to the facilities, such as adding extra rows or spots on assembly lines, are being made to increase capacity and speed up production. Furthermore, the equipment is anticipated to be improved to accommodate different car models, as well as making the lines and paint shop more adaptable to create a variety of car kinds and numbers.
"Depending upon the market's needs, we will make sure that this plant is able to meet those needs. And we will be doing the required debottlenecking in the supply chains as well as the internal facilities," Savarkar told Autocar Professional.
Offering an example, Savarkar elaborated that if there is a site where robots can complete jobs at the same time, say 20 locations, that sets the queue's fixed duration. If they find that a bottleneck is being created, then one more robot can be added on the other side of the queue. As a result, they can share the available slots, allowing the queue to move more quickly. This ensures that not too much capex is added and only incrememtal demand is met.
This architecture, the company officials said, demonstrates the ability to create diverse vehicles with distinct body styles accommodating a wide range of powertrain options, including petrol, diesel, and now CNG, along with various transmissions, such as 5-speed/6-speed manuals, 5-speed AMT, and the premium 6-speed DCA.
The development should be seen in the context of Tata Motors' production during FY 2022–23, which increased by 46% year-over-year to reach 5,45,000, the highest ever production since inception. All manufacturing plants—Pune, Sanand, and the joint venture plant at Ranjangaon—have achieved the highest ever production and utilisation since inception. Average monthly production increased from 40,000 vehicles in Q4 FY22 to 50,000 vehicles in Q4 FY23.
Scaling up the company's CNG growth strategy
Tata Motors' top executive highlighted that, in addition to scalability, the ALFA architecture has proved instrumental in minimising disruptions during the introduction of new twin-cylinder technology in the Altroz iCNG and Punch iCNG, liberating the boot space for consumers.
In addition, this efficient approach significantly reduced the 'time-to-market' for these brands of cars. The auto major recently introduced twin-cylinder technology in the Punch iCNG and earlier in the Altroz iCNG, offering owners practical boot space.
Offering an explanation of the step-by-step process involved with the manufacturing of CNG fuel cars, the executives state that the structural rigidity of the CNG powertrain is significantly enhanced through several key measures. First, the underbody is reinforced with longitudinal members and additional support in the rear floor area to accommodate the presence of extra CNG cylinders.
Moreover, the CNG tank assembly is mounted at six locations instead of the typical four, ensuring compliance with stringent crash requirements and bolstering overall safety. Additionally, the suspension system is reinforced to handle the increased weight of the CNG components effectively.
- January 2020: Introduction of the first vehicle built on the ALFA platform, the Altroz hatchback.
- September 2021: Roll-out of the 100,000th Altroz.
- October 2021: Introduction of the first SUV on the ALFA platform, the Punch.
- August 2022: Roll-out of the 100,000th Punch.
- May 2023: Roll-out of the 200,000th Punch and the launch of the Altroz iCNG, equipped with twin-cylinder technology.
- June 2023: Roll-out of the 200,000th Altroz.
- August 2023: Launch of the Punch iCNG.
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