It is of utmost importance for an Indian component supplier to market itself as reliable, due to its competition with international Tier Is
Product diversification is critical for a component supplier in the auto industry given the growth in the adoption of new-age technologies. Varroc Engineering Ltd is fully aware about the challenge of ensuring its entire product portfolio is in line with the current trends. Auto Tech Review spoke with Arjun Jain, President – Electrical & Electronics Business, Varroc Group for an understanding of its product range as well as obtain insights into engineering undertaken for the four verticals – metallic, electrical, electronics and polymer – that focus on all current technologies as well as on future trends.
In terms of automotive lighting systems, Varroc is currently the sixth largest supplier globally, and clearly has a high focus on this vertical. The company supplies products for commercial vehicles, two-wheelers as well as passenger cars and SUVs, thereby encompassing all the segments. Varroc offers solutions for domestic and international markets, with the inclusion of specific lighting requirements of electric vehicles (EV) as well. Varroc has developed the latest LED lighting technologies that include OLEDs and laser lighting that are not currently relevant for the Indian market.
When it comes to the polymer or plastics business division, Varroc has among the largest tonnage machines (up to 3,500 tonne). In addition, the company also carries out system-level assemblies for instrument panels, armrests and various kinematic functional plastic parts that offer lots of value, in terms of design and assembly integration. The company’s offerings go beyond sheer moulding and maximum tonnage, but the integration of design and manufacturing is facilitated by its in-house tool room and design facilities, Jain noted.
Similarly, the metallic vertical has also seen more forged parts being added into the portfolio, especially with regards to engine-related component parts, moving up from transmission components alone. The shift to BS VI emission norms has thrown up a few challenges for Varroc, where it is required to upgrade, innovate and change components such as regulator rectifier condensers and catalytic converters. These products and technologies are being altered as per the requirements of the legal framework, or in line with market needs.
Varroc is also developing solutions in the area of electrification, even though it poses a significant risk to most of its current product lines, Jain observed. The company has developed and produced components such as traction motor, controller and DCDC converters that are concentrated towards two-wheeler applications with performance comparable to a 125 cc petrol vehicle. Varroc intends to position itself where it supplies electrical and electronics systems for EVs, Jain pointed out.
EMISSIONS & EFFICIENCY
The upcoming BS VI emission regulations are requiring vehicles across segments to adhere to more stringent emission and efficiency requirements. Varroc has developed solutions, some of which are already offered to customers. Solutions for two-wheelers like LED lights and electronic fuel injection and integrated starter generator (ISG) will help OEMs offer vehicles with lower power and fuel consumption, thereby leading to improved overall efficiency and decreased emissions, Jain stated.
Jain said the introduction of these technologies would lead to an increase in the price of the vehicle, but will pare out through the vehicle life due to benefits of increased fuel efficiency and lower power consumption. However, it is important for Varroc to be the provider of the system or technology that adds to the vehicle cost, resulting in elevated business and this strategy is what drives all the different technology roadmaps of any company, he noted.
RESEARCH & WORKFORCE SKILLING
In the case of OEMs, business for Varroc comes in two major forms – one is demand for new technologies or winning new customers and meeting their requirements, and the second is upgradation of existing technologies. In both cases, process and product design are key factors, so as to identify errors in the early development stages, Jain said. There is a need to adopt a disciplined approach in getting the basics right, for which a cultural change is required and Varroc has achieved that disciplined engineering culture, which is a reason for its many success stories, he noted.
From a research perspective, Jain said this is still a weak area in the automotive components segment. Therefore, Varroc, while adding workforce, aims to rope in talent that has an understanding of how to drive research. Varroc offers a Graduate Engineer Trainee (GET) programme, which is its pool of research as they delve deep into the development of systems and technologies. Eventually, a cultural effectiveness is required in the manner in which research is carried out, with employees giving themselves the best chance of launching technology with the right level of reliability, remarked Jain. He added that it is imperative for the company to ensure it is driving the right level of research at an affordable cost.
What is most crucial for an Indian component manufacturer is to market itself as a reliable component supplier, since it is competing with international Tier I suppliers. Lack of reliability of a component will lead to cost pressures from customers, which in turn will fundamentally limit the technology that the company can offer, Jain noted. The biggest amount of reskilling is required in the area of sales given the changing market needs and auto industry trends besides multiskilling of operators so as to enable proper process designing and manufacturing, he concluded.
TEXT: Naveen Arul