Phoenix Lamps revamps, eyes more export markets
Phoenix Lamps Limited, manufacturer of wide range of Halogen lamps for twoand three-wheelers, passenger cars, commercial vehicles and off-road applications, is working on bringing new products and improving the standards and meeting the latest trends in the automotive lighting business. It will also focus more on exports.
Phoenix Lamps, acquired by the automotive cable maker Suprajit Engineering Limited a couple of years ago, is one of the largest manufacturers of automotive halogen lamps catering to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and aftermarket, with a production capacity of more than 80 million lamps a year.
N S Mohan, Director and CEO of Phoenix Lamps, told Auto Components India, that “We are focusing more on the export market especially to the European OEMs while defending and expanding business in India. In India, Phoenix is working with all the beam makers and OEMs so we need to retain the current market share. In the aftermarket also we are doing pretty well and we are present in all the segments including CV, passenger car and two-wheelers. We have realised that there is good potential to enter the OEM segment in Europe. Therefore we are looking at the possibilities of getting into European market with the ‘Made in India’ tag. On the aftermarket front we have clear idea that we need to spread our wings. Currently we supply lamps under our brands like Luxlite Lamps Sarl, and Trifa Lamps Germany GmbH, to more than 70 countries.
After acquiring Phoenix, Suprajit infused technology and updated the machineries. Therefore the focus was on modernisation. “The first question that came before the modernisation was how long the halogen bulbs are going to exist in the market? Do we need to invest in halogen or LEDs? Our analysis showed that at least for the next 5 to 6 years halogen bulbs for the head lamps will exist. LEDs will come but volumes are going to be less than halogen bulbs. Secondly, there is still a huge population of old vehicles on the road, which are currently using halogens. Therefore we took a call to modernise the plant and as of 31 March 2017 the modernisation programme, from an equipment and manufacturing point of view, has been completed,” he said.
To modernise the plant the company divided the investments into 3 levels; Part of the existing lines to be upgraded, second to
bring in a new line and the third was subsidiary investments to enhance productivity, quality and safety. Phoenix added a lot of automation and test equipment in the existing machine and invested substantially on setting up a new automated line for manufacturing H7 bulbs. For modernising the plant alone Phoenix has invest around Rs 30 crore.
The company also infused technology both from external sources and those developed internally. Therefore Suprajit hired people from Europe who had 30 – 40 years of experience in the lighting industry as consultants. New people were also recruited within the organisation and they have started working with the consultants to absorb the new technologies. Suprajit also sensed the need to improve quality levels and launched a programme called ‘Q Challenge’. In this programme the company engaged people from the operator-level to top management.
Mohan said, “In ‘Q Challenge’ we divided into different teams and identified the customers’ pain points and the internal pain points from the quality perspective and developed multiple projects. This created a sense of involvement and people got motivated. Now we have completed the ‘Q Challenge’ and are working on a concept called RGL (Robustness, Geometry and Life) which is more important for a bulb and this is what the customer expects.”
To achieve RGL, Suprajit is working on enhancing the product quality and, as the size of the headlamp is shrinking, the company is working on the geometry without compromising on the styling. It is also working beyond the standards to tighten the size and now it is setting projects on how to tighten the tolerance and bring sharper geometry. To improve the life of the product it is constantly working on various new concepts and in the last 6 months the quality has reached new levels and continues to improve.
Citing the reason to set up a new line to manufacture H7 bulbs, Mohan said, “Most of them are now migrating from HS1 to H7 and now we even see H7 coming in the two-wheelers. HS1 or H4 is a dual filament, whereas H7 is a single filament. H7 bulbs are used as a combination lamp for high- end cars and it gives brighter light and increased visibility. Therefore the demand for H7 is increasing and to tap that market we have installed a separate line to manufacture H7 bulbs.”
Meanwhile the company has started to work on LEDs and soon will come out with a product that will suit the current trend. Mohan informed that the company will be launching extra long life bulbs in the coming months. Phoenix Lamps has 3 manufacturing facilities in India with a total capacity of around 150 million lamps annually.
Suprajit Engineering is planning to merge with Phoenix Lamps. But the company will be selling the lamps under the brand Phoenix. Currently the Suprajit Group has Suprajit Engineering, Suprajit Automotive Ltd, Suprajit Europe Ltd, Suprajit US and Phoenix Lamps Ltd. Now Suprajit Engineering and Phoenix Lamps will be merged and will become Suprajit Engineering Ltd.
Suprajit Engineering manufactures the entire range of automotive cables and Phoenix produces complete range of halogen lamps for the automotive industry. Post merger, Suprajit will have a stronger portfolio of products, which will help it get better market share from the OEM customers in India.
Production line at Phoenix Lamps
Phoenix Lamps range
N S Mohan, Director and CEO, Phoenix Lamps