Witzen­mann In­dia ex­pands ca­pac­ity for do­mes­tic mar­ket, ex­ports

Auto components India - - STORY - Story by: Bhar­gav TS

Man­u­fac­tur­ers want to min­imise noise and vi­bra­tion from the ex­haust sys­tems of the new gen­er­a­tion cars, and even com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles, to of­fer max­i­mum com­fort to the pas­sen­gers and cus­tomers. This is made pos­si­ble by de­cou­pling en­gine from the ex­haust sys­tem and al­low­ing spec­i­fied move­ment by em­ploy­ing flex­i­ble cou­pling el­e­ments. Witzen­mann In­dia, the wholly-owned sub­sidiary of the Ger­many-based Witzen­mann Group, is a lead­ing man­u­fac­turer of flex­i­ble metal tubes, ex­pan­sion joints, metal bel­lows and other au­to­mo­tive com­po­nents. It has ex­panded its Chen­nai plant with an ad­di­tional line to man­u­fac­ture ex­pan­sion joint pipe as­sem­bly and cool­ing sup­ply sys­tems. The au­to­mo­tive sec­tor, which con­trib­utes 85% of the com­pany’s In­dia busi­ness, is grow­ing strongly with the up­com­ing BS-VI emis­sion norms. In ad­di­tion to the auto sec­tor in In­dia, the com­pany aims to gain busi­ness for its prod­ucts from the rail­ways, aerospace and chem­i­cal in­dus­tries. It is also tar­get­ing the ex­port mar­kets, es­pe­cially China where sev­eral Euro­pean OEMs have their man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties.

“Our au­to­mo­tive busi­ness has been grow­ing rapidly over the past few years. We an­tic­i­pate this growth to con­tinue, go­ing for­ward, with new emis­sion norms round the cor­ner. We are cater­ing to all the au­to­mo­tive OEMs in In­dia with a sig­nif­i­cant mar­ket in our prod­uct seg­ments. YoY in the au­to­mo­tive sec­tor we are grow­ing at around 20%. In­dia is a fast grow­ing econ­omy and an­a­lysts pre­dict that In­dia will be the num­ber 3 by 2030. This will give us big boost. We are also plan­ning to bring new prod­ucts to In­dia which will have a niche mar­ket ini­tially. Cur­rently we are ex­pand­ing in the au­to­mo­tive sec­tor es­pe­cially in the en­gine-re­lated pipes and pip­ing sys­tems, where we are a larger player in the Euro­pean mar­ket,” said V Chan­drasekhar, Pres­i­dent and CEO, Witzen­mann In­dia Pvt. Ltd.

In In­dia, Witzen­mann has 2 fa­cil­i­ties, each in Chen­nai and Kolkata. Witzen­mann In­dia has a strong pres­ence in the pas­sen­ger car seg­ment with over 50% mar­ket share in the sup­ply of ex­haust gas de­cou­pling el­e­ments, ex­haust gas duct and ex­haust gas re­cir­cu­la­tion lines to key OEMs in­clud­ing Hyundai Mo­tor In­dia, Maruti Suzuki In­dia, Mahin­dra & Mahin­dra, Honda Cars In­dia, Tata Mo­tors, Re­nault In­dia and oth­ers.

The com­pany be­lieves that the BS-VI norms will help it en­hance its con­nect with In­dia’s com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle seg­ment and is work­ing closely with the CV man­u­fac­tur­ers.

In the last 10 years Witzen­mann In­dia man­u­fac­tured more than 10 mil­lion de­cou­pling el­e­ments for cars and com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles for the lo­cal mar­ket. This suc­cess story is now to be con­tin­ued in the in­dus­trial and rail trans­port sec­tors as well. So far the group has in­vested about Rs 800 mil­lion in both the fa­cil­i­ties. “The au­to­mo­tive and com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle in­dus­try of the sub­con­ti­nent is also grow­ing at a high rate. In or­der to meet the grow­ing cus­tomer

re­quire­ments, we are ex­pand­ing the ex­ist­ing liner and hy­draulic bel­lows pro­duc­tion units and adding a new as­sem­bly line,” Chan­drasekhar said.

The de­cou­pling el­e­ment con­nects the “mov­ing” en­gine sec­tion of the ex­haust gas sys­tem with the “rigid” area of the ve­hi­cle. This is pri­mar­ily to com­pen­sate for the rel­a­tive (tilt­ing) move­ments of the en­gine which oc­cur es­pe­cially with trans­verse fit­tings. With the de­cou­pling el­e­ment, the gas­con­duct­ing com­po­nents such as the man­i­fold and the down pipe are re­lieved from me­chan­i­cal ten­sion to the ex­tent that the prin­ci­ple of light­weight con­struc­tion can be im­ple­mented here.

To de­cou­ple the en­gine vi­bra­tions, the ve­hi­cles en­gine/trans­mis­sion is elas­ti­cally con­nected to the chas­sis via the en­gine mounts. With chang­ing out­put torque, load changes lead to a typ­i­cal en­gine pitch­ing in ve­hi­cles with front wheel drive and an en­gine rolling in ve­hi­cles with rear wheel drive. In con­trast, poor road ex­ci­ta­tions mainly re­sult in ir­reg­u­lar, mainly trans­la­tional en­gine move­ments. Both en­gine move­ments caused by load changes and those in­duced by poor road ex­ci­ta­tions lie be­low 20Hz.

The lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing of bel­lows and lin­ers this year has helped the com­pany achieve com­plete lo­cal­i­sa­tion of its au­to­mo­bile ex­haust de­cou­plers. The com­pany, which started with sup­plies of 200,000 de­cou­plers to Hyundai per an­num in 2008, to­day caters to all the ma­jor OEMs.

Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cles

Witzen­mann’s suc­cess in the pas­sen­ger car seg­ment has also gar­nered the at­ten­tion of com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­tur­ers and has led to the com­pany bag­ging or­ders from the Ger­man truck ma­jor, Daim­ler for its BharatBenz brand. “When the BS-VI norms are in place, the flex­i­ble com­po­nents will be in huge de­mand, es­pe­cially for the com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles. For this, we have wide range of prod­ucts, in­clud­ing the req­ui­site flex­i­ble el­e­ments that are curved and ready­made for the in­di­vid­ual ap­pli­ca­tion. Cast-iron con­nec­tors, firmly welded to the thin-walled stain­less steel of­fer an ad­di­tional tech­no­log­i­cal ad­van­tage that al­lows op­ti­mal so­lu­tions to be at­tained even in ex­tremely dif­fi­cult as­sem­bly sce­nar­ios,” BS Karthic, Team Man­ager, Sales, Witzen­mann In­dia, said.

In CVs, the com­pany will be in­creas­ing its mar­ket share in the com­ing years, and for pas­sen­ger cars it will re­tain the cur­rent share. To grow fur­ther it is tar­get­ing rail­ways, large en­gines, agri­cul­ture equip­ment, and off-road equip­ment. “This will open a large mar­ket share for us” he said.

In or­der to re­duce the weight of the prod­ucts that Witzen­mann man­u­fac­tures, it has worked on an al­ter­na­tive tech­nol­ogy which is called spher­i­cal joint, which saves weight by 50%. Go­ing fur­ther, the com­pany will be

fo­cus­ing only on flex tubes. Karthic said, “When we started sup­ply­ing, the parts were stiffer than the new gen­er­a­tion ones. So we de­cided to of­fer spher­i­cal joint, which saved weight and of­fered great flex­i­bil­ity. In fu­ture, we are plan­ning to use less thick sheet metal to de­crease weight. Flex­i­ble ex­haust gas lines con­trib­ute sig­nif­i­cantly to re­duce ni­tro­gen ox­ides in the com­bus­tion process. In oil, fuel and cool­ing cir­cuits, the ad­van­tages of flex­i­ble metal lines are their ab­so­lute gas and dif­fu­sion tight­ness, long life span and tem­per­a­ture re­sis­tance. An es­sen­tial cri­te­rion, es­pe­cially when they are be­ing built close to ex­haust man­i­folds, tur­bocharg­ers or the ex­haust sys­tem.”

Ex­pan­sion

In terms of vol­umes, this year, Witzen­mann is mak­ing 2 mil­lion de­cou­plers and cur­rently util­is­ing 80% of the in­stalled ca­pac­ity. Cur­rently ma­jor pro­duc­tion vol­ume of around 6.5-7 lakh goes to Hyundai, and 6 lakh for Maruti Suzuki. Now it is the 100% sup­plier to Hyundai and is ey­ing a big share of busi­ness from other OEMs as well. “We started with 200,000 parts per year and to­day we are at 2 mil­l­lion. We al­ways want to have room for cur­rent ca­pac­ity util­i­sa­tion and a third round of ex­pan­sion is hap­pen­ing in the ex­ist­ing space. Last year growth was higher ow­ing to ex­ports to Ford in Thai­land and Suzuki in Ja­pan. “In the first year we recorded a turnover of Rs 20 crore and this year we are tar­get­ing Rs 100 crore. Last year, we touched Rs 70 crore,” Chan­drasekhar said.

Es­tab­lished in 2001, Witzen­mann In­dia started cater­ing to the in­dus­trial sec­tor with high-qual­ity prod­ucts such as metal hoses, ex­pan­sion joints, metal bel­lows, pipe sup­ports and hang­ers. In 2006, a metal bel­lows as­sem­bly op­er­a­tion was set up in Kolkata. In 2008, the com­pany set up the man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity in Chen­nai to cater to its first au­to­mo­tive cus­tomer – Hyundai Mo­tor In­dia. On start­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing and as­sem­bly in 2008, the Tier II sup­plier’s prod­ucts found their way into the Hyundai i10 and later into the i20. Af­ter bag­ging the Hyundai or­ders, it got new busi­ness from Fiat, Volk­swa­gen and Tata Mo­tors.

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