DISA India Limited (DIL), a major equipment manufacturing company, is in the process of taking its shot peening technology further into the automotive industry, by creating awareness and promoting the technology as it can directly help in development of safer components.
Speaking to Auto Tech Review, Jagadish Kulkarni, Vice-President, Sales & Marketing (Wheel & Air), DIL, said peening is the last process in the preparation of metallic components that face cyclic stresses, where compressive stress is induced in order to enhance their fatigue resistance.
From the Indian perspective, with the growth of infrastructure for usage of high-speed vehicles and the increase in demand for these vehicles from consumers, peening becomes important in providing certain parameters of safety and life of components. Also, these are two features that OEMs are demanding from their suppliers now. One example of this in the Indian tractor industry, where the power of tractors has gradually been increasing for various applications and this technology will definitely help in increasing the lifecycle of the components, said Kulkarni.
Since the group is a manufacturing equipment supplier, they cater to all sections of the automotive industry ranging from OEMs, right down to Tier II suppliers. Some of the companies that DIL caters to with regards to shot peening solutions are Ashok Leyland, Mahindra, AVTEC and Luk India. Other customers of the company include Tata group, Sundaram Clayton Ltd, Hero MotoCorp, Yamaha, Toyota, Honda, Ford, Caterpillar and Volvo.
In India, peening technology gained importance in the early 2000s, when Indian suppliers started supplying sub-assemblies to the automotive sector, as opposed to just components. It was then that these suppliers began to adhere to norms set by developed countries as most OEMs required their suppliers to comply with high standards of safety and quality, Kulkarni said. As for the present scenario of this technology, it is being used in various applications. With growing awareness of this technology, the demand for peening is rising, which can be seen in the form of rising investments.
Although the influence of external factors and the overall economic slowdown affects the company, DIL's performance in the first half of 2013, is said to have improved marginally from last year. Cost of components going through the peening technology are said to be only marginally higher than other non-peened components. This is so because the cost incurred in creating, running and maintaining the peening facility is what is taken into consideration, and not that of peening the product itself, Kulkarni explained.
BACKGROUND, FUTURE & EXCLUSIVITY
DIL was set up in 1985 in Tumkur, near Bangalore and encompasses DISA, manufacturer of moulding and casting equipment and Wheelabrator, known for its surface preparation technology, and are globally part of the Norican Group. About 50 to 60 % of the foundry equipment business caters to the automotive industry and the company plans to diversify further into this sector with preference to its surface treatment technologies.
The company plans to achieve these goals by creating awareness about the technologies on offer and their optimal uses through scheduled marketing events and symposiums, where relevant industrial suppliers and manufacturers are brought together to showcase solutions and technologies. The company would then look at gaining feedback via discussions to bridge the gap between what the industry requires and what is offered by the company.
Another strategy employed by the company is the service support extended to customers within an appropriate time.
DISA's production caters mainly to the domestic market, with only about 6 % to 8 % of turnover accounting for exports. In addition, a few foundry-related equipments that have high levels of standards to follow are manufactured exclusively in the Indian operations, irrespective of their sale in any part of the globe.
This is because India has been identified as a competent centre for manufacturing of these equipments, and some of these products are also for inter-company sales in foreign markets. The brands of DIL, namely DISA and Wheelabrator possess high value and awareness in the industry and keeping them exclusive from competition is a major task, signed off Kulkarni.
Text: Naveen Arul