Given the fact that their piston rings and sealings business needed a boost, Anand India has signed a JV with Federal-Mogul Powertrain to gain access to latest technologies as also funding for deeper penetration into the market.
Anand India and Federal-Mogul Powertrain, a division of Federal-Mogul Holdings Corp-oration, have announced an agreement to convert the sealing and piston ring business of the former into joint venture operations. The new ventures will be known as Federal-Mogul Anand Sealings Limited and Anand I-Power Limited. While the sealings will be made at Anand's production facility at Pune, the piston rings will be manufactured at its Nashik plant. Speaking exclusively to Automotive Products Finder on the sidelines of a media briefing, Deepak Chopra, Group CEO, Anand Group India, said that though the company has had a long-standing strategic partnership with Federal-Mogul for many decades for its other automotive components' business, the firming of the relationship for sealings and pistons was taken because of the need for technology upgradation and to obtain deeper access into the market.
"Federal Mogul and Anand have been operating a JV called Federal Mogul Bearings India Ltd. since 2008. The company was originally established as Gabriel Engine Bearings Division in 1978 and manufactures a complete range of bi-metal copper lead and aluminium tin bearings, bushes, flanges and thrust washers. This symbiosis in the piston ring and sealings product lines was undertaken because we felt that we were losing our market share for not having kept pace with the new technologies required in present times. As it stands now, Federal-Mogul Powertrain will hold a 51 per cent stake of the new sealing joint venture while in the piston ring business we will be a majority shareholder. This will help infuse both capital and latest technologies to boost our presence in India," Chopra said.
With 30 million two and three-wheelers taking to the roads every year in India, the two companies foresee tremendous potential in the automotive space. "Almost 98 per cent of our sales are from the automotive sector. However, we are also going to expand our presence in all those other sectors where engines are used - as for example, railways, marine, construction, and so on. The focus though will remain on the automotive segment because our new line of products using the latest technologies of Federal-Mogul will help cater to the mandatory requirements imposed upon by the stringent emission laws that are gradually coming into effect in India," Chopra added.
Over a period of time, the JV will look at the possibility of making its India operations a hub for exports into neighbouring countries. "As of now though we need to create a niche in India and grow our market share," Chopra said. In its sealings and piston rings, the company faces stiff competition not only from some well-established giants but also numerous small manufacturers, which sell with a price advantage. "The trend is changing and automotive OEMs are now insisting on high-performance products. As such, smaller players will begin to get edged into the after-sale service market. This is what we will capitalize on," he added.
Speaking about research and development for pistons and sealings, Rainer Jueckstock, CEO, Federal-Mogul Powertrain, said that as far as India was concerned, the company's application engineers have been customising the products to suit specific requirements while the global R&D centre in the US has been working with new materials to make pistons lighter with a higher lifecycle. "Because Federal-Mogul is one of the world's largest piston manufacturers, our NÃƒÂ¼ralÃ‚Â® product line for the aftermarket logically reflects original equipment (OE) trends. Each piston is engineered to address the unique operating demands of its application based on our OE involvement as our insight to the specific requirements of the repair environment. NÃƒÂ¼ral pistons are significantly lighter and stronger today. They also feature a variety of design characteristics that help reduce emissions and increase engine efficiency," he said.
As to how does piston design reflect the trends in overall engine design, Jueckstock said, "Piston technology is at the very centre of OEMs' efforts to increase fuel efficiency, reduce emissions of harmful gases, minimise NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) issues and maximise engine performance and durability. We are seeing significantly higher specific power output and, of course, higher cylinder pressures and temperatures. It's our job to develop piston technologies that can thrive in this challenging operating environment while also contributing to reductions in frictional power loss. Each new generation of Federal-Mogul piston technology represents significant progress in these areas."