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Automotive Product Finder Magazine | There is a lot of focus on the battery technologies
There is a lot of focus on the battery technologies
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A lot of upcoming norms are being planned, some of which are already mandated at least till 2025-26. Biswajyoti Mandal, Vice President, Technology, Schaeffler India explains in this exclusive interview with APF’s Neellohit Banerjee that whatever technological changes that are to come in the space of two-, three- or four-wheeler business, they will be primarily driven by these different legislation norms coming in the next 10 years, such as CAFE 2, RDE, OBD (On-board Diagnostics) Stage 1 and 2, among others.
Schaeffler participated in the recently concluded Hannover Messe. What are the kind of solutions that Schaeffler observed, which are relevant to the auto component industry in India? The expo is a global platform to highlight innovation and technologies for tomorrow. Being a technology leader, we have also presented our technologies at the fair. Industry 4.0 is one of our key focus areas and we found that significant amount of work is happening on this front. Not just Schaeffler, a lot of participants tried to bring cost-effective, intelligent solutions. Some of the new age products from an auto and industrial manufacturer’s perspective, grabbed most attention were, plain bearing and anti-friction bearing components & solutions. This includes power transmission equipment, couplings and clutch units and brakes. Showcases of industrial applications for integrated automation, motion & drives, industry solutions have also been the centre of attraction. Applicability for those solutions in India can only be told after some time, but India is catching up gradually. Manufacturing industry in general, irrespective of auto components or industrial, have machineries which when fail, causes unplanned downtime. Schaeffler has solutions such as FAG SmartCheck that allows machine condition monitoring and alerts remotely when abnormalities are detected allowing users to do a planned shutdown. These are initial steps in the adoption of Industry 4.0 solutions.
“BS VI will address to add lot of new functionalities. The number of functions that will go into a component will be more now, in addition to adding new raw material and new processes.”
We know that BS VI is going to roll out in over a year’s time. How prepared is the automotive industry for the transition?
We are in touch with vehicle manufacturers for a long time and we have learned from these companies that work is going on endlessly on this front. Engineers are working more than the stipulated working hours and even other manufacturers are ready with their testing and supplier component. Before April 2020, they will be completely ready with the required technologies. Towards reducing the overall emissions one of the major trends is to make engines smaller. In the mean time, engines are becoming more powerful per unit of displacement, in order to not compromise on driving performance. Only problem is that this added technology will also call for some additional cost. There will be an additional financial burden to the purchaser of the vehicle.
Bringing in automation can increase the cost of production. But automation is also inevitable. How do you think can this be tackled
BS VI will address to add lot of new functionalities. The number of functions that will go into a component will be more now, in addition to adding new raw material and new processes. Through automation, the process cost may be optimised but not the material cost, where a lot of work is happening to bring Industry 4.0 and make the machines smart and lean. But because of this additional functionality, component and additional item in their material, it will increase the cost of petrol and diesel vehicles. An UPLplus series has been developed for special sectors in automation engineering, such as analytics in technology, production, measurement and inspection machines in productronics, and air bearing axes.
What is the situation of electrification in India?
E-mobility is inevitable, and the main driver is CO2 emission reduction. Across the globe including India, people are discussing hazards of CO2 emission. In India, there is a mixed feeling within the industry to synthesize FAME II. FAME II has brought friction in terms of subsidy to boost the battery-operated and hybrid vehicles get into the market. If we consider a two-wheeler, they have many boundary conditions. Now comparing FAME I and FAME II, in the latter people will get much less subsidy than the former. This is creating a negative sentiment in the 2W industry on how the battery operated technology will be accepted in the market. But there is a rapid fall in the battery cost. One of the largest cost contributor in an EV is the battery cost. In the last decade, from $1000 per kW hour, the cost of the battery has come down to $175 now. But the business case of the OEMs and auto players is telling that unless the price of the battery comes down to below $100, against the diesel and petrol engine cost-benefit comparable, we will not see a positive comparable. In a country like India, most of the sales happen due to value for money and to get that, battery cost plays a critical role. One positive side of FAME II is that it will provide a Rs 10,000-subsidy for a 1 kW battery. So the linkage is there with respect to the battery and some other boundary conditions, such as minimum charging distance, better technological battery instead of the acid-lead battery, and so on. So there is a lot of focus on the battery technologies, but from a manufacturer’s point of view, it is creating a negative sentiment because of the value proposition of FAME I. So people are giving a thought to how rapidly they will focus to build a battery-operated vehicle, at least in the 2W and 3W segments.
“E-mobility is inevitable, and the main driver is CO2 emission reduction. Across the globe including India, people are discussing hazards of CO2 emission.”
What advantages do you think the auto component industry can get from govt. policies/initiatives?
FAME II is trying to focus on local manufacturing, which was not there in FAME I. So a percentage of this technology has to be localised; only then is it possible to get the benefit of a subsidy. Local manufacturing means automotive suppliers have to find every opportunity on how they can boost their local manufacturing. At the same time, they have to improve their local competency including engineering competency which will give a boosting reward in terms of expanding their local footprint. This can help in building up local technology and provide growth opportunities to the local auto component manufacturers. A lot of upcoming norms are being planned, some of which are already mandated at least till 2025-26. Whatever technological changes we are thinking of in the space of the two-, three- or four-wheeler business, they will be primarily driven by these different norms coming in the next 10 years, such as CAFE 2, RDE, OBD (On-board Diagnostics) Stage 1 and 2, etc. Changes in engines and technologies will also be applicable for the off-road vehicle segment. Currently, we are seeing Stage 1 of OBD under implementation and we anticipate that Stage 2 is upcoming now, which will address safety. The technology getting changed in the country primarily from the automotive or mobility segment depends on four parameters, namely, a) emission, b) fuel economy, c) RDE and d) FE norms (Phase 1 and II). Phase II of FE will start from 2021. So a substantial number of norms are getting mandated. There are some companies such as Mahindra and Tata who also make comparatively larger vehicles compared to Maruti or Hyundai. So we anticipate that companies who are making bigger vehicles will face a tougher challenge in meeting the CAFE norms. Currently, CAFE 1 mandates CO2 emission of 130 gm/km, which is till 2022. So companies with more number of smaller cars can more easily meet the CAFE norms. Schaeffler already has technology conforming to the CAFE and FE norms.
What, according to you, are the obstacles right now?
Bearings are very significant when it comes to safety of a vehicle and the failure of even one bearing can damage the vehicle overall. For the last few years, cheap low quality bearing is getting dumped in this country. Since bearing is one of the most important safety functional component, fitting a poor quality bearing poses a lot of danger to human beings. Secondly, there are a lot of unorganised bearing companies who do not undergo the right quality check, quality balances, don’t have a consistency etc. So quality is a big question mark in the unorganised sector. Talking about the raw material of the bearing, big companies such as ours import in large quantities, because the we need special alloy steel for our products. Manufacturers in India are still coming up the technology curve to manufacture the steel which bearing manufacturers want.
Clutch Units And Brakes
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