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Schaeffler: a strong commitment to India and shaping the Commercial Vehicle Industry Exclusive Interview with Thomas Grimm Global Head of Product Management Heavy Duty Schaeffler Group

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Mr. Thomas Grimm is a known name in Global Automotive Industry and currently he is Global Head of Product management Heavy Duty Segment of Schaeffler Group. Mr. Grimm had some interesting things to say about Schaeffler India and its Technology. During his India visit, he exclusively discussed with Autobei Consulting Group (ACG) about Schaeffler Group Strategy.

ACG: What constitutes the Schaeffer Group? Can you list some of your Activities in India?                                                                                                                                        Thomas Grimm

Thomas Grimm: Schaeffler group is an integrated automotive and industrial supplier with nearly 85,000 employees and 75 plants in over 50 countries. In India Schaeffler has 4 plants (Hosur, Pune, 2 in Vadodara). The general turnover is more than 13 Billion Euro including 10 Billion in the automotive sector. Schaeffler is a German Company with 3 Brands, namely  INA, LUK and FAG. The global strategy is to develop and produce “for the region in the region”. Therefore, we also have 17 R&D centers globally one of which is in Pune.

ACG: What does your Product Portfolio offer?

Thomas Grimm: In the automotive sector, we have a strong foothold on passenger cars. We also focussed additionally in the Commercial vehicle department. The main customers in India for Trucks & Busses are Tata, Ashok Leyland, Daimler, VECV, Mahindra & Mahindra. Schaeffler has a very strong position in India with respect to clutches and also offers products for engines, gearbox, chassis like differential bearings and wheel bearings.

ACG: Can you elaborate more about your participation in Make in India?

Thomas Grimm: More than 2/3rd of our products we sell in India are produced in India. We also use India as a production hub for our export.

ACG: Can you talk about your expertise in technology?

Thomas Grimm: The roots of Schaeffler are bearings and its optimization in friction, lifetime, sealing, etc. From there, we grew in system competence to optimize the drivetrain from the engine via a gearbox to the wheels.We have strong competence in vibration isolation coming from the irregularities of the engine, with solutions like the centrifugal pendulum absorber. We integrate functions with cost effective, fuel efficient solutions like optimized Idler Pulleys or integration of ABS counter wheel to bearing.

We have solutions to improve lifetime and reliability even in challenging operating conditions. We help to bring maintenance- free solutions to India, for instance, the hydraulic lash adjuster for the engine and cost effective wheel bearings.We leverage our global engineering expertise for Indian markets through our local engineering team.

ACG: What are your Market Expectations for India?

Thomas Grimm: India represents 10% of global M&HCV production and grew heavily in last 2 years. CV Industry is expected to grow beyond the global average in the coming years, with fluctuations, of course.

Our Outlook on the CV industry in India has improved gradually! driven by improved viability for fleet operators, replacement- led demand and pre-buying ahead of the implementation of BSIV Norms by April 2017. On the other hand, some fleet operators are waiting for the introduction of GST. Bus segment growth will be driven by spending on public transport, better road connectivity and planned 100 smart cities and BRT development.

ACG: What about your group is a major driver in the Indian market?

Thomas Grimm: With the government’s initiative to improve the environment, we have made a huge impact with the BSIV is expected on 4/2017 and BSVI on 9/2019. CO2 regulations are predicted for the year 2018. Safety is also on the Agenda of the government. Owing to this, AC in 4/2017 will help to improve the productivity of driver and also, reduce accidents. The introduction of GST will improve the logistics in India, multifold and the timeframe of ROI will be lesser. Demonetization will lead to inflations in online shopping and demand to improve logistic solutions.

ACG: What solutions from Schaeffler will support these market drivers?

Thomas Grimm: For BSVI and improved mileage you need new technologies. Schaeffler has interesting technology offers to offer help to its customers.

Rocker Arm with Hydraulic Lash Adjuster reduces noise and vibration of engines and improves the durability of the vehicle. It’s maintenance-free and improves emission over a lifetime. Schaeffler offers ready- to-use rocker arm engineered and produced by Schaeffler in Pune. Camshaft Phasing Systems optimize valve timings, necessary to achieve for BSVI levels under real live conditions.

Schaeffler not only provides Idler Pulleys, Mechanic, belts and Hydraulic Tensioners but also provides solutions to reduce the vibrations in the belt and helps to design the accessory drive to reduce friction, parts, improve lifetime and fuel efficiency. Schaeffler introduced bearing and propeller solutions in Europe for variable water pumps and for next generation of turbochargers, improving fuel efficiency. With this new technology, a lifetime of clutches is expected to improve by 2.5 times, compared to conventional Clutch-Systems which is crucial for India.

E-Clutch is a cost- effective 2 pedal solution, which means, the driver doesn’t have to use the clutch pedal. The Clutch has activated automatically when the driver wants to shift. It provides comfort for the driver and improves clutch lifetime dramatically. Operating cost is less, especially for city applications. Centrifugal Pendulum Absorber technology reduces the vibrations in the driveline by 46%, increasing the lifetime of driveline providing further potential for improving fuel efficiency by down speeding the engine.

FAG Smart set wheel bearings are completely preassembled, pre-greased and dust protected. They are easy to be introduced as there are no changes in the wheel hub. The smartest replaces the single bearings which need to be mounted at the CV manufacturer and greased by the operator. The Smart set is maintenance free and has a minimum double lifetime as conventional Single Wheel bearings.

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