Mov­ing ahead through in­no­va­tion

Auto components India - - SHOPFLOOR - ACI

Rane TRW Steer­ing Systems achieves high lev­els of pro­duc­tiv­ity and profit through in­no­va­tive man­age­ment prac­tices and pro­duc­tion pro­cesses. In an in­ter­view with Bhar­gav TS, RTSSL’s Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent – Op­er­a­tions & TQM, K Sud­hakar ex­plained how the com­pany re-de­signs the com­po­nents it man­u­fac­tures to re­duce weight and op­ti­mise the pro­cesses to be com­pe­tent and cost-ef­fec­tive in the do­mes­tic and ex­port mar­kets. The ex­cerpts:

Q: What is your road map ahead and how do you plan to beat the com­pe­ti­tion?

Sud­hakar: We are now en­ter­ing into the small com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle (SCV) seg­ment for which we are de­vel­op­ing the systems. We are cur­rently work­ing on minia­ture of the gears but it will be of the same con­cept of re­cir­cu­lat­ing ball, so that is our im­me­di­ate pri­or­ity. We have also started work­ing on trac­tor hy­draulic steer­ing sys­tem. The vol­ume is go­ing to be huge and we ex­pect the vol­umes to be 700,000 a year in the next 2 years.

Stay­ing com­pet­i­tive is a chal­lenge, so we are work­ing on to use low-cost gears, which will re­place the cur­rent gears with­out com­pro­mis­ing on the qual­ity. We will be us­ing the same ma­te­rial at the same time we will be work­ing on dif­fer­ent process and the con­fig­u­ra­tion will change. We nor­mally work on value en­gi­neer­ing the parts, where we will re-de­sign the com­po­nent to have less weight and to op­ti­mise the process.

Q: What are your plans on ex­ports?

Sud­hakar: We are cur­rently ex­plor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties along with our part­ner TRW. Man­u­fac­tur­ing the sub-assem­blies re­quires huge in­vest­ments. We are ready to do that and ex­port to all our part­ners’ facilities. We will be lo­cal­is­ing the ma­chiner­ies to of­fer low-cost so­lu­tion. We are also in talks with Isuzu for their pick-up both for the do­mes­tic and ex­port mar­ket. We hope that we can grow in these ar­eas.

Q: What is your cur­rent mar­ket share in the CV hy­draulic power steer­ing sys­tem?

Sud­hakar: Our vi­sion is to be a leader in do­mes­tic hy­draulic power steer­ing and cur­rently we have a mar­ket share of around 53%, which is broadly clas­si­fied into M&HCV and LCV. In M&HCV we have a mar­ket share of 49% and in LCV our mar­ket share is around 62%.

Q: What is the cur­rent plant ca­pac­ity?

Sud­hakar: Cur­rently we are mak­ing 18,000 units a month and this year we will reach 21,000 units and next year we will have 25,000 units. This ca­pac­ity ex­pan­sion will be done by op­ti­mis­ing the process pa­ram­e­ters and adding some ma­chines.

Q: What is the cur­rent level of au­toma­tion?

Sud­hakar: The plant au­toma­tion is around 50-60%. In cer­tain ma­chines only load­ing and un­load­ing is done man­u­ally. Many op­er­a­tions are au­to­mated. In cer­tain cases gaug­ing is also au­to­mated, which is called in-process gaug­ing. In high pre­cise com­po­nents we can­not go for man­ual in­spec­tion, so we have au­to­mated it and all the close tol­er­ance com­po­nents are passed to the next sta­tion only af­ter dig­i­tal in­spec­tion.

Q: What are the ini­tia­tives taken to use al­ter­na­tive sources of power?

Sud­hakar: The power tar­iff has in­creased in the last one and a half years and the diesel cost is also in­creas­ing so last year we in­vested in so­lar en­ergy. We have in­stalled about 1 MW and started reap­ing the ben­e­fits from the re­new­able source. Our board has also ap­proved capex to in­stall another 1 MW and also plan­ning 1 more. This will help us to save huge amount on the power bill.

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