Ashok Ley­land gets in­no­va­tive

In view of the changes af­fect­ing the CV in­dus­try, Ashok Ley­land is bank­ing on tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion.

Commercial Vehicle - - WHAT'S INSIDE - Story by: Bhar­gav TS

In view of the changes af­fect­ing the CV in­dus­try, Ashok Ley­land is bank­ing on tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion.

Af­ter re­veal­ing the use of ‘smart’ EGR to help its CVs to com­ply with BSIV emis­sion norms, Ashok Ley­land has an­nounced that it is in­no­vat­ing on var­i­ous fronts to en­sure that its prod­ucts are rel­e­vant, and make a prof­itable busi­ness case. If the ‘Smart’ EGR tech­nol­ogy, which the folks at Ashok Ley­land call iEGR, has en­hanced fuel ef­fi­ciency by 10 per cent, and min­imised the us­age of elec­tron­ics; have kept the weight con­stant and re­li­a­bil­ity good, the in­no­va­tion is also ex­pected to re­sult in lighter, safer, ef­fi­cient and world­class prod­ucts. Ac­cord­ing to the chief tech­nol­ogy of­fi­cer Dr. Seshu Bha­ga­vathula, the com­pany is plan­ning three up­grades to ad­dress a shift

to CVs with higher power to weight ra­tio, and CVs with fully-built AC cab­ins. This, men­tions Bha­ga­vathula, will oc­cupy our time and ef­fort.

Mar­ket vibes

With the rise in op­er­at­ing speeds set to change the way the long haul seg­ment op­er­ates, Ashok Ley­land is find­ing an op­por­tu­nity to in­no­vate. It also stems from the need to match the duty cy­cle re­quire­ments; the need to change en­gine cal­i­bra­tion pa­ram­e­ters, and to col­lect data. “All this will have to be done in the next cou­ple of years,” men­tions Bha­ga­vathula. He ex­plains, “EGR is suit­able for In­dian con­di­tions rather than SCR. SCR can be of­fered at the price of an EGR, but will re­sult in higher main­te­nance cost.” Con­nect­ing higher main­te­nance cost of SCR to the need for urea dos­ing and elec­tron­ics, Bha­ga­vathula opines, “SCR sys­tems are not bad. It is EGR that we be­lieve will help our CV users in the long run.” A func­tion of en­gine as much as it is the func­tion of fuel qual­ity, driver and the road con­di­tions, EGR, men­tions Bha­ga­vathula, of­fers the ad­van­tage of less num­ber of parts. The bill of ma­te­ri­als is bet­ter. “We re­searched. We col­lected data. We found out that EGR is less com­plex,” he re­veals.

If the ‘smart’ EGR de­vel­oped by Ashok Ley­land has the abil­ity to help a 400 hp en­gine to meet BSIV emis­sion norms, much work has gone into the tweak­ing of the cool­ing sys­tem, the ex­haust gas con­trol valve among oth­ers. The in-cylin­der com­bus­tion process was op­ti­mised. “We com­bined in­tel­li­gence with EGR. We gave five per cent back and a max­i­mum of 10 per cent ex­haust gas in­stead of 20 per cent. The in­tel­li­gence thus is in the com­bus­tion cham­ber, and not at the EGR level. It re­duces the role of a Par­ti­cle Ox­i­da­tion Cat­a­lyst (POC), and could even elim­i­nate it. We op­ti­mised in­cylin­der tem­per­a­ture as well,” Bha­ga­vathula elab­o­rates.

Op­ti­mis­ing in­jec­tion pres­sure by mod­i­fy­ing the de­sign of the noz­zle, Ashok Ley­land en­gi­neers claim to have upped the fuel ef­fi­ciency, and the life of the en­gine. Plan­ning to keep the elec­tronic con­tent to the bare es­sen­tial, the CV maker is keen to grad­u­ally in­crease the com­plex­ity of its prod­ucts. The cur­rent ef­fi­ciency of the en­gine at around 40 per cent, states Bha­ga­vathula. It leaves enough po­ten­tial for im­prove­ment, he adds. Touch­ing upon the po­ten­tial to im­prove ma­te­rial tech­nol­ogy, Bha­ga­vathula opines, “Over 60 per cent of the en­gine ef­fi­ciency can be achieved by us­ing fine ma­te­ri­als. There will be no cor­ro­sion or sound, and hardly will there be a need for oil.” Hop­ing that one fine day it will be pos­si­ble to ar­rive at such a de­vel­op­ment in real-time, Bha­ga­vathula draws at­ten­tion to the en­gines they make. We make our own en­gines, and not source them, he says.

Tech up­grade

At Ashok Ley­land, a sep­a­rate team is work­ing to im­prove the com­bus­tion process. Prod­ucts that have higher power to weight ra­tio will be launched. Also launched will be

CVs with a power out­put of more than

400 hp. Ac­cord­ing to Bha­ga­vathula, 49-tonne ve­hi­cles with 180 and 190 hp will rise to 200 and 220 hp. The AC cabs, he adds, will flaunt a dif­fer­ent level of fit and fin­ish. The use of light weight ma­te­rial is set to in­crease, states Bha­ga­vathula, the fu­ture lies with the sup­pli­ers, and how they could help re­duce the cost of the end prod­uct. Ashok Ley­land is closely fol­low­ing al­ter­nate fuel tech­nol­ogy de­vel­op­ments. In the elec­tric ve­hi­cle space, it is work­ing on new man­age­ment strate­gies. They are about con­trol­ling the ve­hi­cle and bat­tery func­tions.

With Optare, Ashok Ley­land has de­vel­oped a strat­egy to en­hance the bus range by 45 per cent. Ef­forts are be­ing made to ac­cess new tech­nolo­gies. Re­veals Bha­ga­vathula, “Fruit­ful ex­change of tech­nolo­gies is tak­ing place.” In the di­rec­tion of con­nected CVs, the work on driver warn­ing sys­tems is un­der­way. Three sys­tems would be of­fered. The ba­sic sys­tem will warn the driver. The mid-level sys­tem will ad­dress the needs of fleet op­er­a­tors that are keen to de­liver their cargo on time. The pre­mium-level sys­tem is au­tonomous, and en­gi­neered to of­fer com­plete con­trol. What Ashok Ley­land cur­rently of­fers is ‘iAlert’ and ‘Ley As­sist’. ‘iAlert’ im­proves vi­a­bil­ity through state-ofthe-art, in­no­va­tive, user­friendly, and cost ef­fec­tive ser­vices. Through the ‘Ley As­sist’ app., the owner or driver can avail of all the in­for­ma­tion about the truck through Blue­tooth. This in­cludes in­for­ma­tion about the prob­lems faced too.

Full-range strat­egy

Keen to be­come a full range player, Ashok Ley­land will launch one new prod­uct ev­ery three months for the next two years. With an aim to bag 30 per cent of the LCV mar­ket, the com­pany is plan­ning to in­vest Rs.400 crore over the next two years for LCVs. An elec­tric LCV range is also said to be on the cards, and would be soon un­veiled. With the In­dian CV mar­ket set to change, it is nat­u­ral of Ashok Ley­land to in­no­vate. It will not just ben­e­fit the CV buyer, but also the so­ci­ety at large.

Dr. Seshu Bha­ga­vathula, Chief Tech­nol­ogy Of­fi­cer, Ashok Ley­land.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.