Hongfa to strengthen op­er­a­tions in In­dia, to set up R&D cen­tre

Auto components India - - CONTENTS - Text : Anusha B

China-based Hongfa, a lead­ing man­u­fac­turer and sup­plier of world class re­lays, will in­vest Rs 10-15 mil­lion in In­dia on au­to­mo­tive elec­tron­ics re­search and de­vel­op­ment (R&D) func­tions as elec­tronic in­no­va­tion re­quires value en­gi­neer­ing. The com­pany is do­ing a lot of re­search on machines and tools, mainly for their au­to­ma­tion, and on down­siz­ing of re­lays.

R A Go­tur, Di­rec­tor-In­dian Op­er­a­tions, Hongfa Group-In­dia, told Auto Com­po­nents In­dia that “We are the only re­lays man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany to be ranked as China’s top brand. We are sup­ply­ing re­lays across in­dus­tries and sup­ply PCB and plug-in re­lays to the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try. The re­lays are sup­plied to two-wheel­ers, three­wheel­ers, com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles and con­struc­tion equip­ment. In the ve­hi­cle seg­ments our re­lays take the po­si­tion in wiring har­ness and elec­tronic de­vices. These re­lays find their ap­pli­ca­tions in the flasher, starter, cen­tre lock­ing, power win­dow, and wipers.”

The pro­duc­tion lines of re­lays are au­to­mated and this gives the best prop­er­ties like pick-up volt­age, elec­tri­cal en­durance, re­lease volt­age and consistency in per­for­mance. These are the crit­i­cal pa­ram­e­ters for re­lays to have a seam­less per­for­mance. In a ve­hi­cle the re­lays are used in body seg­ment and chas­sis. Re­lays also find their place in safety, se­cu­rity, power, com­fort and driv­ing seg­ments. Re­cently re­lays are get­ting smaller. Small amps could be re­placed by semi­con­duc­tor but it is ex­pen­sive. The cost-sen­si­tive In­dian mar­ket may take time to ac­cept it. Plug-in re­lays are the trend with high amp ap­pli­ca­tions. PCBs are the trend now with its set of ad­van­tages. There is an ob­vi­ous change to PCBs in the In­dian mar­ket.

Hongfa has 1200 em­ploy­ees and about 10% of them are en­gaged in R&D. The year ahead is promis­ing for the com­pany with a pro­jected out­put beat­ing the cur­rent pro­duc­tion rates. “Our R&D is work­ing on minia­ture re­lays and SMT re­lays to be in line with the mar­ket fo­cus on lightweight­ing. The size of the re­lays con­trib­utes to light­weight which in turn

re­duces fuel con­sump­tion and emis­sions con­tribut­ing to the green en­vi­ron­ment. Au­to­ma­tion in re­lay man­u­fac­tur­ing is equally im­por­tant and 80% of our shop floor is au­to­mated,” Go­tur said.

It has HFV6V/HFV6V-G, HFV15/HFV16, HFV4, HFV7, HFV9, HFV9-G, and HFV11 in the plug-in seg­ment, and HFKF, HFKJ, HFKA,HFKC, HFKW/HFKH, HFKT, and HFKP in the PCB seg­ment. HFKF se­ries re­lay is the small­est avail­able. All these prod­ucts are man­u­fac­tured in China and im­ported to In­dia.

The Chi­nese com­pany ex­ports the re­lays across the globe, but mainly to the other Asian coun­tries, and the Euro­pean and Amer­i­can mar­kets. The ex­port: do­mes­tic sales ra­tio of auto re­lays is 30:70. The com­pany sup­plies its re­lays to tier1 com­pa­nies who in turn sup­ply the en­tire mod­ule to OEMs like Hyundai, M&M, GM, FCA to name a few. The tier com­pa­nies list in­cludes Mother­son, Minda, Delphi, Lear Cor­po­ra­tion, Yazaki, Leoni etc. In­dia is open­ing new av­enues for elec­tronic man­u­fac­tur­ers by mak­ing reg­u­la­tions stricter. “This is a very good op­por­tu­nity for us as we see a lot of po­ten­tial in the In­dian mar­ket,” Go­tur said.

In In­dia, the Hongfa re­lays have a mar­ket share of 8%. But within a year “we ex­pect the mar­ket share to touch 15%. Our re­lays are in the fi­nal ap­proval stage with a few In­dian au­to­mo­tive com­pa­nies. With a few other In­dian com­pa­nies and con­tract man­u­fac­tur­ers of MNCs, they are in the qual­i­fi­ca­tion stage”, he said.

The In­dian op­er­a­tions of the com­pany are han­dled by the dis­trib­u­tors and tier com­pa­nies. There are 3 sales man­agers who are pro­mot­ing au­to­mo­tive re­lays in the In­dian mar­ket in ad­di­tion to latch­ing re­lays, power re­lays and sig­nal and tele­com re­lays.

“We need to in­crease the mar­ket share in In­dia and all our plans are in place now. From the In­dian op­er­a­tions we ex­pect at least a con­tri­bu­tion of 12-15% to reach our growth-fore­cast. We should be­come a key au­to­mo­tive sup­plier across the globe and we ex­pect 33% growth by 2020,” Go­tur said.

Hongfa has a test­ing and ex­per­i­ment­ing cen­tre for re­lays and re­lated prod­ucts recog­nised and ap­proved by Un­der­writ­ers Lab­o­ra­to­ries (UL), VDE and China National Ac­cred­i­ta­tion Service (CNAS) for con­form­ity. The com­pany is for­mu­lat­ing mul­ti­ple national stan­dards. Its test­ing lab is ap­proved by UL Amer­ica as a Wit­ness Test Data Pro­gram (WTDP) lab. Also it is ap­proved by VDE Ger­many as Test Data Ac­cep­tance Pro­gram (TDAP) lab.

It has re­ceived many awards in­clud­ing ‘National Ex­port Base for Au­to­mo­tive Com­po­nents’ from the min­istry of com­merce and the National De­vel­op­ment and Re­form Com­mis­sion. The com­pany also pro­vides space for other man­u­fac­tur­ers to test their re­lay com­po­nents.

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