In­dia Ja­pan Light­ing plans new plant in Sanand, to dou­ble busi­ness

Auto components India - - COVER STORY - Story by: Sricha­ran R & Bhar­gav TS

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.

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