Interviews - "We emphasise on completely localising our products.' | Automotive Products Finder


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"We emphasise on completely localising our products.'

Published March, 2016

HUNED CONTRACTOR interacts with Krishnakumar Srinivasan, President, Vehicle Group, Asia Pacific, Eaton to know more about the company's products and new technologies.

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Eaton's Vehicle Group in India has three state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities. The Ranjangaon facility near Pune manufactures truck components while the plants at Ahmednagar and Nashik produce automotive engine valves. The company's wide range of vehicle technologies and solutions, which include medium and heavy duty transmissions, valve and valve actuation products, torque control products and superchargers address safety, sustainability, efficiency and reliability needs specific to its customers in India. Excerpts from the interview:

Could you provide an overview of the products that Eaton makes in India for the automotive industry?

Eaton offers a wide range of vehicle technologies and products to provide safe, sustainable, efficient and reliable solutions to its customers worldwide. For the commercial vehicles, off-highway and passenger car markets in India, Eaton's breadth of industry-leading offerings include:

Medium and Heavy Duty Transmissions: Eaton is rapidly strengthening its customer footprint in India by offering highly efficient and reliable 6- and 9-speed transmissions suitable for the demanding Indian operating conditions. Presently, over 60,000 Eaton transmissions are operating successfully on Indian roads. Eaton transmissions are recognised for superior product performance, reliability, and robustness and are locally manufactured in Eaton's state-of-the-art, eight-acre greenfield plant at Ranjangaon, near Pune. Eaton's transmission products and commercial vehicle offerings in India also include automated medium-duty dual clutch transmission, automated manual transmissions (AMT) for bus applications, and clutches for demanding applications.

Valvetrain Products: Eaton entered the Indian automotive market in 2008 with its engine valves business, which today is strategically spread across key segments such as passenger cars, commercial vehicles, off-highway equipment, railways and aftermarket. Apart from a growing domestic customer base, valves manufactured in India are also exported to global customers located in Europe, USA and the Asia-Pacific region. Eaton in India produces over 20 million engine valves annually in its world-class facilities at Ahmednagar and Nashik and also offers full service supplier capabilities for design and development of complete valvetrain for new engine development programmes of OEMs. Also available for the Indian market are products like hydraulic lash adjusters, rocker arms and engine brakes.

Torque control products: Eaton also has an extensive portfolio to address the growing needs of various off-road and off-highway applications which help in improving product utility and vehicle uptime.

Further, Eaton's mechanical locking differential, MLocker, for pickup trucks and SUVs provides traction automatically on demand. It utilises a self-energising clutch system and gets activated in low traction situations when a wheel speed difference is detected. Automatic locking takes place within a fraction of a second, providing the driver with increased safety and confidence when travelling on wet, slippery or muddy roads. The mechanical locker is also compatible with existing anti-lock brake and vehicle stability systems, which simplifies platform integration for global OEMs. In India, Eaton is already supplying MLocker to leading OEMs for both export and domestic vehicles.

Eaton's NoSpin, a patented differential for off-highway commercial vehicles, was on display at the Auto Expo held this year. NoSpin maximises traction by delivering 100 per cent of the torque and power to both drive wheels. It is engineered to keep both wheels in a constant drive mode and yet has the ability to automatically unlock during vehicle turning to permit necessary wheel speed differentiation. In addition, Eaton also offers leading technologies such as supercharger and fuel emission control valves in India.

Eaton's supercharger for gasoline and alternate fuel engines helps in engine downsizing and down-speeding, while significantly minimising the response lag and improving fuel efficiency. It maintains instant throttle response and torque across the engine's entire power band, especially at low rpm.

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In India, Eaton is working with leading OEMs to demonstrate the supercharger's technology benefits. Eaton's fuel emission control valves manage refueling dynamics for both petrol and diesel systems. The company has experience of over two decades as a leader in fuel emissions management and has a comprehensive portfolio of patented products that support various applications. Eaton develops value-driven fuel venting solutions to meet the most demanding emissions regulations, such as Evaporative Emission Norms (EVAP). Eaton has full-fledged design, testing and system integration capability to address EVAP compliance.

Are any of these products especially customised only for the India market?

Eaton's leadership in this highly competitive market scenario is attributed to its capability in understanding customer needs and offering localised and customised solutions. India has been an important growth market for Eaton and will continue to be our focus. We emphasise on completely localising our products including the testing and sourcing which is done in the country. Eaton's Vehicle Group in India has three state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities. The Ranjangaon facility manufactures truck components and the plants at Ahmednagar and Nashik produce automotive engine valves. Our wide range of vehicle technologies and solutions, which include medium and heavy duty transmissions, valve and valve actuation products, torque control products and superchargers address safety, sustainability, efficiency and reliability needs specific to our customers in India.

What kind of recent developments have been made in transmission systems, powertrains and valves?

Eaton is focusing its R&D efforts on technologies that will help our customers achieve better fuel economy, reduce emissions, take weight out of vehicles through advanced material technologies, and improve the drivetrains of tomorrow. Eaton's hybrid power systems are increasingly enabling buses, delivery trucks, utility trucks and many other commercial vehicles to operate more cleanly and efficiently. We are consistently strengthening collaboration with our partners to accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles in cities across the region. For emerging market-specific needs, we have recently developed a 12-speed AMT which provides up to 2 per cent better fuel efficiency over manual transmission while improving the overall driving experience for vehicle operators. Eaton's valve and valve actuation solutions are enabling the next generation of clean combustion for passenger cars, commercial vehicles and industrial diesel engines, optimise control of engine air flow to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions. Eaton's cylinder deactivation system is the most direct way to reduce CO2 emission, and at the same time improve fuel economy through the driving cycle. Besides, Eaton's superchargers are helping customers to improve vehicle fuel efficiency by enabling downsizing, down-speeding, and boost-on-demand.

What has been Eaton's contribution to electric vehicles?

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Eaton is working with its partners to accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles in cities across Asia. Bringing together leading experts in city planning and smart grid infrastructures, Eaton's hybrid and electric vehicle technology will offer energy-saving solutions to cities wishing to accelerate the adoption of clean energy vehicles and has the potential to rapidly advance the adoption of new technology in the region.

Given that plastics have begun to play an important role in vehicle manufacturing, what are the company's plans to introduce new products in this category?

Eaton is a global innovator of plastic moulded parts for the vehicle industry. We have been constantly innovating and introducing a wide assortment of parts that offer reduced weight, component integration and durability. Improved NVH and temperature management of these highly engineered parts has facilitated a shift from metal to plastic componentry. We are focused on sustaining and further augmenting our leadership in this exciting space.

Is Eaton also working on making vehicles safer?

As a global technology leader in the vehicle space, Eaton is committed to providing value-driven products that address critical as well as emerging safety needs of customers and end-users. Our host of industry-leading technologies and solutions provide innovative answers to vehicle and driver safety. To exemplify, our torque control products provide vehicle drivers with increased safety and confidence while driving on wet or slippery roads, gravel, mud and dirt. Our patented fuel vapour valves, besides providing emission controls, manage refuelling and venting conditions in fuel tanks for greater safety. Eaton's Roll-Over Valve (ROV), for instance, ensures leak protection during vehicle roll-over.

How is Eaton contributing to help Indian-make vehicles adhere to new and stringent emission laws?

Eaton provides solutions to push the limits of fuel efficiency and lower emission. Eaton has taken an early step in the research and development of onboard refuelling vapour recovery system (ORVR) and provided the very first fuel vapour valve for the ORVR system in 1997. Besides ORVR, Eaton has many products within the portfolio that have a direct impact on fuel efficiency and lower emissions, including hollow valve, CDA and supercharger, etc, and there is an increasing focus on greener technology, such as hybrid, EV.

What are the growth plans for 2016?

Eaton is deeply committed to India. We are focused on enhancing our presence here across all key business segments and leveraging the diverse opportunities that the country offers. Today, with 18 key locations and seven manufacturing facilities, all of Eaton's businesses, namely, electrical, hydraulics, vehicle and aerospace, are well represented in India. Eaton is focused on introducing the latest technologies in the country to help customers address their power management needs more efficiently, safely, reliably and sustainably. Eaton's vehicle business in India continues to focus on addressing the end market needs and providing tailor-made solutions for demanding Indian applications. In the commercial vehicle segment, the plan is to have deeper market penetration by portfolio expansion, targeting additional applications and OEMs. Eaton also continues to expand its automotive offerings like valve actuation, engine brakes, fuel emission solutions, torque controls and superchargers for various applications for the Indian automotive industry.