Tell us about Brakes India’s overall manufacturing footprint.
Brakes India has a footprint that covers the major auto hubs across India. In total, we have 15 plants across India – some of these are fullfledged manufacturing plants and some are assembly plants close to customers. Being head quartered in Chennai, our centre of gravity is still in the south, but our more recent expansions are pan India. This is needed to service customers more quickly and respond to their changing schedules and to help reduce logistics costs. In the recent past, we have commissioned our new foundry in Naidupeta with further plans to expand there, we are in the process of completing an integrated manufacturing plant in Jamshedpur and are committed to an assembly plant close to Pithampur. We are also expanding capacities in our existing plants in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.
How well prepared is Brakes India to meet the emerging trends of the automotive industry like BS VI norms and electric mobility?
Brakes India with our JV partner ZF is well positioned to support the industry in the emerging mega trends. The key areas that we
are working on include safety, preparedness for electric drive trains
and drag reduction at the wheel end. On our safety roadmap, we see the need for progressing beyond mandatory ABS in 2018/19 towards mandatory electronic stability control, which is especially critical on our highways. We see the urgent need for active pedestrian safety regulation through features such as automatic emergency braking.
Further to this fuel economy and emissions is a big area of industry focus. Just last year, we introduced the Thin Wide Bridge (TWB) front caliper disc brake for a large SUV. This brake reduces the wheel end drag by over 60 percent, which from a cost benefit perspective is one of the quickest and cheapest ways to improve losses in the vehicle. This will become critical in as we move towards EVs.
In the auto expo earlier this year, we showcased the full range of future products from the ZF portfolio, geared towards autonomous driving and electric mobility. This includes ADAS systems like cameras and radars and equally importantly the Integrated Brake Control (IBC) which can perform braking with integrated stability control and regenerative braking features without the need for an IC engine or vacuum generation.
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