The company is focusing intensely on India and its various business arms, including technology and engineering, are receiving a boost
Yannis Tsavalas, vice president and chief technology officer, Eaton Cor-poration, was in India on a brief visit recently. In charge of all technology activities of Eaton globally, Yannis is bullish about India and the speed at which the team in India is moving forward. Eaton's journey in India started in 1990 when it acquired Aeroquip Vickers globally. Eaton acquired two manufacturing plants of the company in India at Pune and Mumbai. The Mumbai plant was integrated with the Pune facility in January 2002. The latter manufactures a wide range of hydraulic components and systems. Much of the hydraulic system work comes under the Fluid Power division, which is one of Eaton's four main business divisions, the others being Truck, Automotive and Electrical divisions. Ask Yannis how exciting his job is, and he explains that his company has a target of US$ 18 billion growth by 2010. "Nearly 60 per cent of the growth is expected from organic means; from new products and services on a global basis and the ones that provide value". He adds. "Our products are spread across four groups - Electrical business that offers leading edge products like UPS and data control systems. Under the Truck business we are developing hybrid electric perspective for large and medium sized trucks. There are 100 hybrid-electric vehicles in use already and achieving pretty substantial results. They are 50 per cent efficient and emit far less than conventional trucks. Under the Automotive business we have products like the supercharger. Under Fluid power, the gear pump is an example. It was developed in India." Eaton has been expanding its presence in India, and has established many entities. The first was an engineering centre at the Pune campus, set up to carry out high-end engineering work for all of the Eaton segments. Since then, the company has focused on enhancing its presence in India in all business segments and on tapping the diverse opportunities that the country offers, including critical manufacturing and engineering capabilities, product development, etc. "We are the leader in hybrid hydraulic technology for trucks in the US. This technology involves hydraulic assist where the braking energy is regenerated into hydraulic power. We are developing a lot of exciting technologies. India could be a part of the hybrid driveline technology. Although we will be introducing Class V transmissions in India, when the customers demand we will bring the technology here", Yannis expresses. Eaton is setting up a Class V transmission facility at Ranjangaon. The facility is expected to go on stream by the end of 2008. In fact, the Truck division began its India plans in 2006 with the acquisition of land in Ranjangaon. Ramanath I Ramakrishnan, general manager and head, Eaton Industries (Eaton India Engineering Center), says, "In India, we are collaborating closely with John Deere, which is one of our precious customers. We are working with customers here in India for transmissions. We are indigenising and developing." Tsavales adds, "What we are developing depends on the customer demand. It should be beneficial to the customer. We believe in getting close to putting more efforts and in getting close to the customers; provide him with increased usefulness and leadership value. I believe in coming up with a value proposition for customers". Further, he adds: "We manufacture at location depending on the support we need. We have a focus on technology." Delving deeper into Eaton's increasing focus on India, Yannis remarks, "Our focus is on optimising resources. Our goal is to leverage great technical capabilities that will help us achieve the goals. And that also includes India. We have been growing in India steadily for the last two years. We have a growth plan and will be expanding for the next three to four years. As part of the plan, we are setting up a engineering facility at Kharadi, Pune. It is all about leveraging global intellectual pool". The company, which set up the India Technology Center in 2006 to provide information technology security, is bullish about India. Though Yannis did not disclose Eaton's R&D spending, he said being a technology person he felt that what was being spent on technology development was never enough and also that their effort is to optimise other technology arms given the amount of expenses. He also said that Eaton would be developing products for India or for global support at the Indian engineering centre, and also for certain parts for the global market. "We have developed centres of excellence that support our technological needs - software, modelling, dynamics and analysis. We optimise our resources on a global basis and are leveraging them on the India basis also. The India team uses CFD technology, and is working on the predictive product life technology. They are also working on digital prototyping. The centre of excellence is doubling and tripling in size on the value they offer". Stressing the fact that out of the 500 people at the engineering centre, 25 per cent would be in the centre of excellence, Yannis said that for technology they would be looking at people from diverse backgrounds. "We never compromise on technological ability. The centre here is 4 years old. Our stress is on dynamism. Give our people dynamic abilities, keep them challenged and excited. They should grow continuously" Speaking about the contributions of the engineering centres and the technology arm of Eaton that he heads, Yannis said, "Until now the engineering centres have made numerous contributions, and the number is increasing. One of them is the hybrid-hydraulic technology. A large team is working with the American team in the development of this technology from modelling support, analytics to various other kinds. The team would include people from fluid power. There could be people from our reliability centre of excellence. The team from Pune is involved in this in a big way and also in terms of testing and reliability". "We are introducing a new system called after treatment in trucks. We have been developing truck drivelines for a long time and we have a reputation in manual and auto transmissions and clutches. While our technological involvement for trucks would include hybrid-electric drive train, the after treatment system is a small chemical plant that will reduce emissions and NOx by 99 per cent. The system does not require an external agent. A lot of modelling for this technology is done in India", he added. Some very sophisticated analytical capabilities are being developed in India, and they help Eaton optimise the design. According to Yannis, the India team is moving towards greater complexities. They are moving into big value business proposition. The India team does its own projects too and one of them is the global gear pump. The Automotive and Truck teams are growing aggressively in India. To keep the technology teams continuously challenged and excited as well as well stay abreast with the latest, Eaton has what Yannis refers as the Eaton University on a global basis. It includes classroom based, online or handled by outside institutions. "When it comes to technology our emphasis is on JIT and JIM (just-for-me). We have seen experienced people share their knowledge with the newer ones. In India also we will support continuous education and development."