Continental Automotive India is in tune with the disruptive shift to localize driver assistance technology. Sumesh Soman visited the Manesar factory to see the preparations in the field, online.
Localized technology setups have been in demand for quite some time now. It’s the pace of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) execution that has reached new heights. Government interventions such as the Production Link Incentive (PLI) scheme under the “Make in India” scheme have made it all the more lucrative. The resulting Advanced Automotive Technology (AAT) expanded incentives allowed companies to apply for eligibility with 20 champion OEMs, and tier supplier approvals are expected to follow. While the approvals are only coming now, at Continental Automotive India (Continental), the proactive work on this roadmap has started to pay off, as evidenced by our visit to the company’s Manesar factory in Haryana. .
Any reduction in the cost of goods and services (COGS) is a win-win situation for stakeholders, according to Krishan Kohli, the company’s vehicle dynamics (VED) and hydraulic braking systems (HBS) manager. “For the brakes business, I think a lot of localization has already been done. In the case of hydraulic brakes, it’s north of 70%, and for electronic brakes, it’s up to by 50%,” he revealed. “We are currently working to increase children’s parts for stirrups and drums and aim to further increase the percentage aimed at strengthening the company’s market competitiveness and sustainability. “, said Kohli. Continental, caters to the majority of Tier 1 OEMs in the delivery of parts and products, for both two and four wheels, he informed. He further added: “ The company remains committed to the market in terms of investment and having a strong growth vision for the two-wheeler and four-wheeler segments.
Degree of localization
Localization is at the heart of Continental’s Indian strategy. In an attempt to create end-to-end value, from R&D to production, sales and marketing, it was in 2016 that Continental installed assembly lines in Gurugram to assemble the anti-lock braking systems (ABS) and electronic stability control (ESC). ) systems for two-wheelers and four-wheelers (passenger cars). In 2018, the technology company set up production of ABS and ESC electronic control units (ECUs) at its factory in Bengaluru. The following year, the company reached a production milestone of one million ABS and ESC ECUs at the factory. In 2020, Continental reached the milestone of 50 million Wheel Speed Sensors (WSS) at its Manesar plant, demonstrating increasing localization by product in the overall mix. All of these, according to Kohli, are the direct result of constant innovations aimed at producing technologies focused on local market requirements, supported by a capable R&D setup.
Continental’s “MiniMAB” (one-channel ABS) product is developed for small motorcycles and scooters, which also speaks to the company’s focus on localization. The system prevents the front wheel from locking up, helping to prevent accidents or vehicle instability. This is also effective in combination with a mechanical drum brake on the rear wheel. The MK100MAB (Dual Channel ABS) product improves safety by preventing the front and rear wheels from locking up on vehicles equipped with front and rear wheel disc brakes. The MK100 MAB (Twin Channel ABS) product improves safety by preventing the front and rear wheels from locking up on vehicles equipped with front and rear wheel disc brakes. The MK100 MIB (dual-channel ABS with integrated braking function) product offers superior safety and comfort features such as Motorcycle Hold & Go (MHG), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Motorcycle Brake Assist. emergency (EBA). The company currently employs over 192,000 people in over 58 countries.
With over a decade of presence in the Indian market, Continental operates in 14 locations with seven factories, a major technology center in Bengaluru. Its workforce includes approximately 8,000 people who form the backbone of its vision to achieve the technology localization goal. The plant is supplied by a warehouse that can hold up to 2500 pellets. Interestingly, the single-channel ABS line is controlled by women and impresses with its production of over 800,000 units per year. The workshop is digitized to the point of being paperless, with critical measurements being relayed on portable tabs and common screens built on a durable and highly efficient base.
While interacting with Plant Manager, Continental Automotive Brake Systems Ltd., Anudeep Garg, it was learned that the assembly line relies on a disposal protocol. Per protocol, a defective part will not reach the next bay because the entire system is wired to separate the defective parts and eliminate their participation in the process. Garg, drew attention to the fact that the workshop is also temperature sensitive in which every member of staff is cleaned before entering. A machine is responsible for neutralizing any static charge that one carries on oneself. “This, in turn, helps the workshop to produce efficiently, helping to avoid any untoward incidents,” he pointed out.
Active and passive safety
The Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) function is highly appreciated by global OEMs (cars and commercial vehicles). The two-wheeled counterparts aren’t far behind, Kohli claimed. Advanced Rider Assistance Systems (ARAS) found an important mention here. The Manesar factory is learned to play a crucial role in the organization of Continental. “The company believes in ‘Vision Zero’ and is working on it. This essentially means zero accidents, zero injuries and zero fatalities,” Kohli said. Citing advancements in active safety systems such as Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Combined Braking System (CBS), and passive inclusions such as Ride Modes and other sensor-developed safety nets , Kohli brought attention to the cycling community, moving to bigger bikes and creating traction for advanced rider safety features. “A performance-oriented class of riders will demand better safety features and we can expect these in the market soon,” he said.
Continental is working with several OEMs, both domestically and internationally, to test these security features. Kohli expects ARAS features to be made mandatory in the two-wheeler market within the next two years. Features such as hill hold assist, rear lift protection and corner-optimized braking will hit the markets soon, he said. With a firm belief that OEMs are meeting the demand for safety features with Continental products expected to enter the market ahead of mandates requiring them to do so, it can be expected that OEMs will soon want to incorporate them into their vehicles. . It’s organic, Kohli joked. Regarding the price sensitivity associated with the Indian market, Kohli explained, “People see two-wheelers as the cheapest mode of transport here and advanced safety features are rarely a factor when it comes to a common two-wheeler buyer.” Admitting that the segment is seeing a substantial uptick due to rising input costs, Kohli expects the rollout of the cutting-edge technology to be somewhat delayed compared to pre-Covid19 forecasts. When the time is right, Continental, Kohli concluded, will be ready to bear the fruits of localization and align with the future forecast as it is envisioned. AIT