Kiel to set up seat­ing plant in In­dia

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The Ger­many-based seat­ing sys­tem man­u­fac­turer Franz Kiel GmbH (fkt) is plan­ning to set up a new pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity near Ben­galuru. Head­quar­ted in Nördlin­gen, Ger­many, Kiel is Europe’s lead­ing man­u­fac­turer of in­no­va­tive tran­sit seat­ing sys­tems for com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles and pub­lic trans­porta­tion, in­clud­ing buses and trains at the lo­cal, re­gional, and in­ter­city level. Started in 1945, Kiel op­er­ates glob­ally with of­fices in France, Poland, Nether­lands, Turkey, and the US.

“By look­ing at the po­ten­tial in the In­dian mar­ket, we have de­cided to set up a man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity here. We may start the SOP by next year and are look­ing at ev­ery pos­si­bil­ity that in­cludes work­ing alone or with a part­ner. Our aim is to in­crease safety and com­fort for pas­sen­gers with first-class prod­ucts and meet the re­spon­si­bil­ity to the en­vi­ron­ment through in­no­va­tive de­vel­op­ments and ef­fi­cient man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­cesses,” Omer Cavu­soglu, In­ter­na­tional Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment Con­sul­tant, fkt, told Au­toCom­po­nentsIn­dia.

The com­pany is yet to sup­ply to any OEM in In­dia and is look­ing at the mar­ket very se­ri­ously. Adding more on set­ting up a fa­cil­ity in In­dia, Omer said, “When we start our pro­duc­tion in In­dia, we will be do­ing ev­ery­thing here, which makes it 100% lo­cal­i­sa­tion. When we make here, it will help us set the cost at a rea­son­able level. We can­not serve the seats that are priced high as they will not be ac­cepted in the In­dian mar­ket.”

The com­pany is into the rail­way seat­ing busi­ness also. In Ger­many, the com­pany pro­duces seats for trains and met­ros. In Poland, the com­pany man­u­fac­tures seat­ings for in­ter­city and city buses, and in Turkey, for coaches. The com­pany de­liv­ers coach seats from Turkey to USA, Ger­many, China and In­dia. With its global pres­ence, the com­pany feels that it will be easy to gain busi­ness when it en­ters In­dia. “Many top OEMs like Sca­nia, Volvo and VDL are our cus­tomers in the global mar­ket. Th­ese OEMs are im­por­tant to us and we hope to get their busi­nesses in In­dia. Now, they work with lo­cal sup­pli­ers and when we come in, the price level should be ac­cept­able to them. Bring­ing the cost to their ex­pec­ta­tion will be pos­si­ble only when we pro­duce in In­dia. If that hap­pens, we will get back to work with them,” Omer said.

Kiel is syn­ony­mous with the in­te­gra­tion of tra­di­tion and tech­ni­cal know-how with in­no­va­tion and cre­ativ­ity. The com­pany’s mis­sion is to be client-fo­cused and re­spon­si­ble to their needs. Seat­ing sys­tems man­u­fac­tured by Kiel dis­tin­guish them­selves with their high qual­ity, so­phis­ti­cated tech­nol­ogy, and their con­tem­po­rary de­sign while meet­ing the high­est re­quire­ments both in safety and pas­sen­ger com­fort. He stated that with the elec­tric buses com­ing in weight

re­duc­tion will be a ma­jor fac­tor that needs to be taken care of. The other main as­pect is safety.

About the com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage of Keil, he said, “In Turkey, we have around 70 com­peti­tors. We will have com­pe­ti­tions in the In­dian seat man­u­fac­tur­ing mar­ket too. But, th­ese com­pa­nies did not ex­ist for a long pe­riod. Kiel has been in the busi­ness since 1945. When our cus­tomers have a prob­lem, we will be present across the globe to solve it. Price might be an im­por­tant fac­tor, but qual­ity is also im­por­tant. We must ful­fill all re­quire­ments and also the geo­graph­i­cal re­quire­ments of the peo­ple.”

Kiel is also a world leader in pro­vid­ing com­plete seat­ing sys­tems as well as in­di­vid­u­alised, client-spe­cific seat­ing so­lu­tions for unique ap­pli­ca­tions. It is Kiel’s goal to im­prove pas­sen­ger safety and com­fort with high-qual­ity prod­ucts and to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for the en­vi­ron­ment by us­ing only the most in­no­va­tive tech­nol­ogy and the most ef­fi­cient man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­cesses. “The seats are now chang­ing and they have chang­ing tech­nol­ogy. With the change in tech­nol­ogy, the firm comes in with a new prod­uct based on Lego, where the cus­tomer can change what is re­quired for him. For ex­am­ple, if there is a prob­lem with the sus­pen­sion, it can be changed easily. This can­not be done with a metal struc­ture in place,” he stated.

At Bus­world 2017 in Kor­trijk, Bel­gium, Kiel pre­sented its Avance X gen­er­a­tion of travel seats in the com­fort lev­els “Ba­sic” and “Com­fort” to the pub­lic for the first time. In ad­di­tion, there will be the “Lux­ury” com­fort level. The Avance X boasts an ul­tra­mod­ern de­sign and many ex­tras, high er­gonomics and pas­sen­ger safety as well as low weight and, thanks to its spe­cial tech­ni­cal con­cept, also easily meets in­di­vid­ual cus­tomer re­quire­ments. The most im­por­tant el­e­ment of this trend is a dy­namic, sporty, in­ter­sect­ing line lay­out in X and Y form. But par­al­lel stripes, cell and hon­ey­comb pat­terns and poly­gons which merge into one an­other and over­lap to form new geo­met­ric shapes are fur­ther as­pects of this de­sign trend.

An­other im­por­tant de­sign el­e­ment is edges, which are of­ten pro­vided with cham­fers, i.e. bev­elled sur­faces, as de­sign el­e­ments. The Avance X re­flects th­ese trends in its ap­pear­ance: What is pleas­ing is its har­mo­nious yet dy­namic over­all line man­age­ment, which at the same time shows a “clear edge”. Cir­cum­fer­en­tial bevels vis­ually and hap­ti­cally soften the edges and yield an at­trac­tive ef­fect when light falls on them. It goes with­out say­ing that the de­sign blends seam­lessly with the func­tion, for ex­am­ple in the grips with in­te­grated clothes hooks spe­cially de­signed for this seat, which also has a cham­fer in the top cav­ity of the han­dle shell to pro­vide space for the in­ser­tion of an op­tional USB socket.

The Avance X also per­fectly im­ple­ments the im­por­tant as­pi­ra­tion of ‘light­weight con­struc­tion’ with­out com­pro­mis­ing on the qual­ity of the equip­ment or pas­sen­ger safety.

In­clud­ing all add-on parts, the Avance X of­fers a weight sav­ing of around 10% com­pared to its pre­de­ces­sor - and weighs only around 26 kg on av­er­age, in­clud­ing the add-on parts. This is an im­por­tant eco­nomic as well as en­vi­ron­men­tal ad­van­tage, since it has a di­rect im­pact on fuel con­sump­tion. The weight re­duc­tion is made pos­si­ble by the use of new ma­te­ri­als such as lighter ma­te­ri­als made of mod­ern plas­tics. This also makes the seat sus­tain­able and re­cy­clable.

Light weight seats

About the light-weight­ing prod­ucts, Omer said, “For the city buses we have the low­est weigh­ing seats of about 3.5 kg only. You can­not find this any­where else in the mar­ket. When you com­plete the seats with frame and arm­rest it will be of 15 kg. So we are work­ing con­tin­u­ously to­wards weight re­duc­tion and bring­ing down the weight of our seats. Apart from weight re­duc­tion, all our prod­ucts are de­signed in such a way that it has high func­tion­al­ity and util­ity to the pas­sen­gers.”

“Kiel seats are dis­tin­guished by their premium qual­ity, so­phis­ti­cated tech­nol­ogy and mod­ern de­sign and meet the high­est stan­dards of safety and pas­sen­ger com­fort. We will repli­cate the same in the In­dian mar­ket as well,” Omer said.

Kiel de­signs and man­u­fac­tures dif­fernt types of coach seats with lot of fea­tures

Omer Cavu­soglu, In­ter­na­tional Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment Con­sul­tant, fkt, along with his In­dia rep­re­sen­ta­tive

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