Kiel to set up seating plant in India
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