India Japan Lighting plans new plant in Sanand, to double business
India Japan Lighting (IJL), a 70:30 joint venture between Koito Manufacturing Company Limited and Lucas TVS Limited, is setting up a new plant in Sanand, Gujarat, with an initial investment of Rs 600 crore. The new plant, to cater to the needs of the Western India market, will commence operation from August 2020. IJL, which manufactures headlamps, rear combination lamps and various other small lamps for automotive applications, has plants in Chennai and Bawal. In 2017-18 IJL recorded a turnover of Rs 866 crore, 18 % more than in the previous year. It plans to reach Rs 1600 crore by 2022.
“When we want to double the turnover, the current 2 locations (Chennai and Bawal) will not be sufficient. So, we are starting the new facility in Gujarat and have acquired the land. The plant layout design is under progress. Now we will be having 3 plants, in Chennai - for Southern customers, Sanand – for Western customers and Bawal - for Northern customers. This will be the direction to which we are working. Sanand will have all the facilities as in Chennai but will be double in land size. The total area is around 1 lakh sq.m and the capacity will be 2 million headlamps and 2 million rear combination lamps. During the first phase, our investment will be around Rs 600 crore,” Senthil Velavan R, Head of Development, IJL, told AutoComponentsIndia.
The Sanand plant will have sufficient land to expand once demand picks up. It will have injection moulding, painting, aluminising, as well as anti-haze coating, and will have complete assembly line also. It is a fullfledged facility, which will be on par with the Koito standards and will be a benchmark plant for IJL’s Indian operations.
Sharing more details about the
new plant, Velavan said that it will be built under the concept of Koito Production System with highest safety and quality standards. Gujarat will now be IJL’s modern plant in every way possible, as it will have all electric moulding machines, robotic unloading for moulding stations, and an aluminising plant. IJL will use the proven method recommended by Koito. It will be an improved kind of Chennai and Bawal.
“From Sanand plant we will start supply to Suzuki. The Baleno products will be shifted from Bawal to Sanand. We are working closely with Ford and Tata Motors, aiming to get its business. And, we are constantly uplifting the current Chennai and Bawal plants. As the production is going on at full speed there is very limited scope for bringing major change. But, for the Gujarat plant it will have the proper flow from day one,” he said.
Speaking about the future of the lighting industry, Velavan said that the plastics will continue but the changes will come in internal parts. All the lamps are going to be LED, he added. Last year IJL worked with Toyota to bring in Yaris with Halogen Projector Ellipsoidal System (PES) headlamp, LED for positioning and LED daytime running lamps. They have also developed Sleek Halogen headlamp with LED positioning for Honda’s new Amaze. In the two-wheeler segment, the lighting company worked closely with Honda Motorcycles to bring LED headlamp and position lamps in Hornet and CBR 250.
The lighting major has also got new business for its Chennai plant from Renault, for which it will be supplying LED lamps. For the Bawal plant IJL has got new business from Suzuki two-wheelers, which is again the LED headlamps. These are the new customers for 201819 for IJL. And, to stay on par with design lifespans, IJL has adopted 2 main things. One, during the launch itself they keep a package protection for 2-3 variants, that starts with halogen, then PES, and multireflector. This results in having the same lens and housing for all variants. Second, the painting. It is either complete chrome finish or partial chrome colours.
Hi-tech with less cost
IJL has managed to put in LED into the Renault small car. Velavan added, “What we have done is a lot of cost optimisation. We are focusing on 3 things. One, how to have a new technology with low cost. For this, we did a lot of localisation. For example, the PES is one element that is costly, and we did it in 3 phases of localisation. The third phase is in progress now. At the first phase, we did localisation of low beam and high beam PES modules. Then, the Low and High together in a single module, which had a fan, and the next product will be without fan. We will be starting the SOP from this financial year for it. Two, we are focusing on LED multi-reflectors. The PES without the fan will be saving Rs 500 and it has an effective LED that generate less heat. Though we localised PES assembly, many parts like the lens, condensers are still imported. So, the real cost reduction scope is with the multi-focal reflector LED headlamps. This technology can be adopted for A segment car too because these segments can manage low and high beam. We are working with Maruti Suzuki for the LED multifocal reflector and it is in the development stage. SOP will be in the next financial year. This was our intention for Renault’s new business. Here we will be using single LED at one side and that will
function as DRL and the position lamps. That is a specification for design to cost. Thereby we can meet the target cost.
The third direction is the LED sockets which are just like bulbs. Here the LED alone can be replaced. This results in bringing down the running cost.” he said.
He further said, “When we want to become the number one player, we must have the business and do the best in terms of cost also. We are working with an aggressive target and want to make profit with market pricing. The new Suzuki two-wheeler business also will be adopting a unique technology. We have come out with a controller, that is 50% of the existing cost. Technology with affordable cost will be the key and it will change the Indian market,” Velavan added.
New R&D centre
IJL has a strong R&D team to support the designs it comes up with. There are 110 members at the Chennai and Bawal centres. The company plans to have 300 by 2022-25. It is also planning to set up a separate R&D facility in Chennai. “We want the engineers to have more flexibility in working time. So, we are planning to shift our R&D from the factory premises to the city. The new centre will be around 2000 sq.m and will come near Guindy in Chennai. This centre will be the base of R&D for IJL and the other places will have small design centres. We are investing a considerable amount in the testing facility every year. The new centre will have more hardware and software facilities. We have established robust development process managed by our project management team. We will set up such teams at all 3 plants and they will be in constant touch with the R&D team,” he said.
Adaptive Driving Beam
With a lot of safety norms coming in, IJL targets to make all LED lamps in the Indian market. This will bring in enhanced visibility and reliability. IJL also plans to bring in the new Adaptive Driving Beam (ADB). This will be the company’s drive for the Indian market. The ADB system cuts the high beam light automatically when it senses the vehicle in the opposite direction. “It recognises the position of the other rider. In India, we mostly drive in high beam. With the camera and sensors, the ADB will help to cut the high beam light automatically, Velavan said.
ADB can be part of any car segment as the cost varies. “When this ADB comes into place, we are coming out with a single ECU to control headlamp system. We eliminate the wiring system through this. Though the technology and complexity are changing we are constantly working on adopting new technology at low cost. We expect its launch by 2022 because customers have to upgrade the vehicle with camera and sensors. The cost will play a major role as this will be 3 to 4 times more than LED headlamp at the system level,” he said.
For weight reduction, the material plays a major role. The parent company, Koito works with material manufacturers and adds additives in the materials for more flowability. They could also get the filling with a low pressure. “Raw material changes are also happening. Part count reduction is another area we are working for weight reduction. At manufacturing, we are trying to reduce the cycle time and rejections, which helps us to save cost,” Velavan said.
Projector Ellipsoidal System (PES) assembly line
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Honda CBR 250 headlamp unit