On the trail of Next Gen Verna’s jour­ney to per­fec­tion

This award-win­ning, Next Gen car has style, com­fort, safety and fresh pack­ag­ing of a sedan

Auto components India - - CONTENTS - Story by: Ramya Srini­vasan & Bhar­gav TS

After storm­ing into mar­ket in 2006, Hyundai Verna out­per­formed all the sedan mod­els and con­tinue to dom­i­nate the In­dian roads. In Au­gust 2017, Hyundai Mo­tor India (HMIL) launched the Next Gen Verna. An in­stant hit, Verna re­cently re­ceived the In­dian Car Of The Year 2018 (ICOTY) award for its con­vinc­ing, fresh pack­ag­ing of a sedan. The new Verna’s re­tuned en­gine, new trans­mis­sions, the much-im­proved ride and han­dling dy­nam­ics, and the Euro­pean de­sign lan­guage, have made it more ap­peal­ing. To find out how the new Verna is man­u­fac­tured, Auto Com­po­nents India vis­ited HMIL’s plant in Sripe­rum­budur near Chen­nai and fol­lowed its jour­ney to per­fec­tion – from the press shop to the dis­patch point.

The Verna ar­rived in 2006 re­plac­ing Ac­cent, a few months after HMIL had rolled out the 10,00,000th car in India. With it came an in­ter­est­ing new de­sign lan­guage that clearly set it apart from the com­pe­ti­tion. In­stead of straight lines, bold curves with larger head­lamps and tail lamps ac­cen­tu­ated the de­sign phi­los­o­phy. It was pow­ered by a 1.5-litre four-cylin­der CRDi turbo-diesel en­gine and a more pow­er­ful petrol en­gine. Five years later, the sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Flu­idic Verna was in­tro­duced, and it set the bench­mark for de­sign and in­te­rior qual­ity. It packed up­dated 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrol and diesel en­gines and brought in new trans­mis­sion op­tions. For a dy­namic ap­peal, the Next Gen Verna boasts of sporty styling, with a mix of smooth curves and sharp creases, giv­ing it a con­tem­po­rary stance.

Adapt­ing to the con­stantly evolv­ing In­dian car mar­ket, dy­nam­ics is very im­por­tant. Cus­tomers here want stylish and con­tem­po­rary de­sign, com­fort­able and well-equipped in­te­rior, high level of safety and driv­ing ef­fi­ciency, all pack­aged into one with an at­trac­tive price tag. Hyundai ac­com­plished this rare feat with the Next Gen Verna.

The pro­duc­tion process of Next Gen Verna is done through the press shop, body shop, paint shop, en­gine shop and as­sem­bly shop. En­gine mak­ing is a sep­a­rate process. In the en­gine shop, en­gine is made from the scratch. From Hyundai’s alu­minum foundry, raw ma­te­ri­als like alu­minum blocks come and the en­gine is made with ut­most care and ac­cu­racy. Alu­minum is also sourced from their cus­tomers. The Hyundai Next Gen Verna brings the bet­ter en­gine choices with the most pow­er­ful petrol and diesel en­gines. The choice of trans­mis­sions lets one have fun or ex­pe­ri­ence max­i­mum con­ve­nience.

Press shop

The jour­ney of a car in the mak- ing be­gins from the sheet metal roll in the press shop. A chas­sis has to be strong and rigid, yet light­weight as can be, for ef­fi­ciency, and crum­ple-ready. Mod­ern chas­sis de­sign builds on the mono­coque (or ‘sin­gle shell’). Hyundai has bal­anced the use of ma­te­rial to the ex­tent that 50% of it is con­structed from Ad­vanced High-strength Steel (AHSS). The com­po­nents that form parts of the struc­ture and pan­els are hot-stamped. This is the key process that makes high­strength steel.

Use of this steel in crit­i­cal ar­eas, such as the pil­lars and stress­points around the pas­sen­ger cell, en­sures max­i­mum struc­tural in­tegrity, tor­sional rigid­ity and max­i­mum safety. The lighter front por­tions are de­signed to crum­ple and ab­sorb en­ergy in the event of a crash, dis­si­pat­ing the en­ergy and di­vert­ing it away from the pas­sen­ger cell to en­sure high­est safety.

In the press shop the ca­pac­ity

of mod­u­lar presses are 3500 tonne and 5400 tonne. So, the press ca­pac­ity is de­fined by the num­ber of slides. If the press has 5400 tonne ca­pac­ity, there will be 4 avail­able slides. The 4 slides in­clude draw panel, trim­ming, pierc­ing and cam­ou­flag­ing. The press shop has 4 stamp­ing presses, trial press for die re­pair and a blank­ing ma­chine.

Once the outer panel of fender, roof, tail gate, hood outer, door in­te­ri­ors and side outer for both the sides are made, var­i­ous qual­ity checks will be done to en­sure high pre­ci­sion and con­sis­tency is main­tained. All the pan­els are made of gal­vanised steel. The sheets are cut in the blank­ing press fol­lowed by wash­ing, lev­el­ling and loop­ing. The pressed pan­els are in­spected and sent to the body shop.

Body shop

The floor-pan is the bot­tom of the mono­coque chas­sis that forms the struc­ture of the car. The floor panel and side panel are made with great ac­cu­racy where side panel goes over head to the main line. The parts come in a loop form to stream­line the pro­duc­tion with high qual­ity. After fur­ther strength­en­ing, the roof gets at­tached fol­lowed by the doors, bon­net and hood. Ro­bots put to­gether all the body pan­els with mi­crome­tre pre­ci­sion. In prac­tice, Hyundai’s com­mit­ment to the pro­duc­tion process, em­ployee train­ing, and qual­ity ad­her­ence are a seam­less se­quence of ac­tiv­ity with ut­most rhythm and pre­ci­sion. All the weld­ing op­er­a­tions are 100% au­to­mated. Three types of weld­ing are de­ployed; MIG, spot and CO2. Spot weld­ing is done in most ar­eas with 100% au­to­ma­tion, and in bud joint ar­eas CO2 weld­ing is per­formed. The process of body panel has 100 sta­tions and hence it takes 100 min­utes. The body shop has 97% au­to­ma­tion be­cause of its com­plex­ity. After en­sur­ing ev­ery­thing is per­fect, it is sent to the paint shop.

Paint shop

The most colour­ful aspect in the process of car build­ing, one that in­volves a move to a sep­a­rate fa­cil­ity just out­side the main fa­cil­ity over­look­ing the test-track, is paint­ing. The raw body goes into the paint shop for a mul­ti­layer paint­ing. Then the painted body of the car trav­els to the as­sem­bly shop.

As­sem­bly shop

The painted car en­ters the as­sem­bly line where work­ers come around it to in­stall var­i­ous ag­gre­gates like wiring har­ness, seat belts, tail­lights, dash­board, in­te­rior pan­els, boot lid open­ers, etc. After this, the car is taken on an over­head con­veyor belt and low­ered into the sec­ond as­sem­bly line where the en­gine, which comes from the as­sem­bly line fit­ted with belts and con­nec­tors, and body are as­sem­bled or mar­ried to­gether.

The painted body with the en­gine moves in the as­sem­bly line where the in­te­ri­ors and tyres are fixed. IP will be fixed in­side the car. The in­te­rior is put to­gether by hu­mans and not by ro­bots. The move­ment of parts is all au­to­matic with sev­eral ma­chines and specif­i­cal­ly­de­signed con­trap­tions to as­sist with very spe­cific tasks like the po­si­tion­ing and fit­ment of the dash­board into the car. The in­te­rior be­gins with the in­stal­la­tion of the fire­wall and sound-dead­en­ing ma­te­rial be­fore the dash­board goes in. The ped­als go in next and all the com­po­nents are se­cured. The wiring har­ness, es­pe­cially the ner­vous sys­tem of the car and all its sys­tems, goes in there­after. The trim sec­tion, also si­mul­ta­ne­ously man­ages putting to­gether the in­te­rior trim with seam­less ease that makes one ap­pre­ci­ate the level of at­ten­tion given and prac­ticed. It’s here that the door and in­ter­nal me­chan­i­cals for win­dow and mir­ror op­er­a­tions are trimmed and go back on to the car. Mean­while, the dig­i­tal check­ing is done.

Both the mono­coque and un­der body are given pro­tec­tive treat­ment to pre­clude them from get­ting af­fected by rust or any harm­ful sub­stances en­coun­tered dur­ing ve­hi­cle’s life due to dif­fer­ent rea­sons. The un­der body

is given an anti-cor­ro­sion treat­ment, which avoids rust­ing.

Fin­ish line

Sim­u­lat­ing abun­dant wa­ter­spout is the fore­most way to check the wa­ter-re­sis­tance of parts and wa­ter­tight qual­ity of the cabin and ar­eas meant to be pro­tected from the forces of na­ture. A slow con­veyor belt that looks like a broad, mech­a­nised, path tardily bring the Next Gen Verna to­wards the con­clud­ing check point, un­der a blaz­ing ar­ray of nitic lights and sets of scan­ning eyes that spot for any im­per­fec­tion in the paint and con­struc­tion once be­fore the car heads out for a proper all-sur­face road test.

Test track

Once the mul­ti­ple check­ing is done, the car will be taken to the test-track. The test track is equipped with brak­ing, gra­di­ents, fast curves, and tight cor­ner tracks to en­sure the cars are tested in ev­ery pos­si­ble sce­nario for their dy­namic abil­ity. After the test clear­ance, the car goes for fi­nal pre-de­liv­ery in­spec­tion (PDI). Once the in­spec­tion is com­pleted, the car will be sent to the dis­patch area. HMIL, the sec­ond largest au­to­mo­bile man­u­fac­turer in India, has 2 man­u­fac­tur­ing plants and have the most ad­vanced pro­duc­tion, qual­ity and test­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties. It cur­rently has 9 mod­els across seg­ments– Eon, Grand i10, Elite i20, i20 Ac­tive, Xcent, Verna, Creta, Elantra and Tuc­son.

For added vis­ual im­pact, the new Verna packs a cas­cade front grille draped in chrome, auto- matic pro­jec­tor head­lamps with LED DRL and cor­ner­ing func­tion that de­liver mas­ter­ful il­lu­mi­na­tion, and even pro­jec­tor foglamps with chrome sur­rounds. Stylish 16-inch di­a­mond-cut al­loy wheels look sharp, and the sleek wing mir­rors with in­te­grated turn in­di­ca­tors do more than just look good. This does not come at the cost of fuel ef­fi­ciency, though.

The Verna is among the most fuel-ef­fi­cient cars in its seg­ment. It also packs bet­ter safety tech­nol­ogy than its ri­vals. The key is strik­ing the right bal­ance, and Hyundai has nailed it with the Next Gen Verna — style, com­fort, ef­fi­ciency, safety, driv­ing dy­nam­ics, en­ter­tain­ment, and com­mu­ni­ca­tion, it has them all.

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