In March 2017, WABCO India, a leading supplier of technologies that improve the safety, efficiency and connectivity of commercial vehicles, demonstrated its advanced systems on the race track, one of the most challenging operating environments for heavy-duty trucks. The company participated as the official braking technology partner for Tata Motors at the T1 Prima Truck Racing Championship Season 4 held at the Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida. In an interview with APF, P Kaniappan, Managing Director, WABCO India, talks about the various products of the company and its plans for the future
Could you provide an overview of WABCO India in terms of history, products manufactured, and infrastructure and production capacities?
WABCO India is a leading supplier of technologies and services that improve the safety, efficiency and connectivity of commercial vehicles. The company designs, manufactures and markets conventional braking products, advanced braking systems, and other related air-assisted products and systems. WABCO India has grown significantly in the Indian commercial vehicle market and serves its aftermarket customers through a wide national distribution network. The company has five world-class manufacturing facilities, a technology centre and a vehicle-testing facility located near Chennai to test commercial vehicle braking systems, Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Braking System (EBS) and Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) technology as per IS standards. The company excels in engineering and manufacturing, employs 4,434 employees and reported Rs 1,872 crore in sales in 2015-16.
Which are the new technologies that the company has developed over the past one or two years to make trucks and other commercial vehicles safer?
WABCO India, in order to enhance vehicle safety, efficiency and connectivity, has pioneered and leveraged technological innovations and new solutions for OEMs and fleet owners which are not only innovative and reliable but are value for money in the long run as well. Technology plays a key role in facilitating OEMs and fleet owners to achieve safety, efficiency and maximum capacity utilisation. Some of the key products which WABCO India has been focusing on, over the past few years, include:
Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS): WABCO India facilitated introduction of ABS in India by providing ABS testing facility and localising ABS component manufacturing. WABCO ABS is an electronic system that monitors and controls wheel speed during braking. It helps steering control and vehicle stability during breaking manoeuvres. It has been engineered to fulfil ABS legislations for commercial vehicles globally. Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) is fitted with OEM-friendly modular architecture with value-added features including automatic traction control, hill start aid and electronic stability control. The Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) is the industry’s first ABS for commercial vehicles and has been adopted by all the major OEMs worldwide.
Trailer Electronic Braking System (TEBS): WABCO India was the first to introduce Electronic Braking System (EBS) on trailers to prevent accidents which happen due to skidding and roll-over. TEBS is a customisable central platform for the intelligent control of more than 40 functions that enhance trailer efficiency and safety. Electronic activation of the EBS braking components reduces response and build-up times.
This in turn reduces braking distance by several metres, which can be decisive in some situations. The integrated ABS function ensures driving stability and steerability throughout the braking procedure. TEBS is capable of analysing data intelligently and feeds data into the operating data analysis tool. The technology can be mounted and retrofitted to all the trailer types which include road trains, bi-trains and tri-trains.
Trailer Anti-Lock Braking System (Trailer ABS): WABCO’s ABS for trailers helps prevent a vehicle’s wheels from locking in the case of excessive actuation of service braking system, especially on slippery roads. WABCO ABS helps the driver to keep control of the vehicle during emergency manoeuvres and optimises the stopping distance compared to blocking wheels. It automatically releases locked trailer brakes and keeps the trailer safely following the truck during hard stops and slows down the vehicle without slipping as far as possible within physical limits. WABCO’s trailer ABS extends tyre life by up to 10 per cent and optimises control of the trailer during emergency manoeuvres. Slipping and jack-knifing during breaking can be prevented with the trailer ABS and it is suitable for all types of roads and weather conditions.
WABCO AMT - OptiDrive™: WABCO OptiDrive™ is an award-winning modular transmission automation technology and is easily adaptable to a wide range of existing manual gearboxes. It relieves the driver fatigue of gear-shifting operations and ensures appropriate gearing according to the traffic conditions, thereby resulting in better fuel efficiency of up to 5 per cent. It easily adapts to existing manual transmissions and significantly reduces development time. With benefits like optimal gear shifts it reduces maintenance cost, clutch wear and downtime and enables comfortable, smooth and safe driving.
WABCO ADB – Air Disc Brake (PAN 22): WABCO ADB is superbly engineered and enables high performance and long product life. It offers significant vehicle weight reduction across all classes and a major safety advantage of reduced stopping distance combined with balanced braking. WABCO ADB – Air Disc Brake (PAN 22) is equipped with compact design for easy axle adaptation and has excellent bad road resistance. It comes with KTL coating as standard corrosion protection and is designed to be maintenance-free. It is a significant improvement on stopping distance versus drum brake application.
WABCO OptiTire™: WABCO OptiTire™ is designed to work across a spectrum of commercial vehicles. The external sensors (normally used for tube tyres) provide precise information on tyre pressure and enable a particularly easy retrofit as the tyres are not removed from the rim during installation. It also lowers fleet running costs, maximises tyre life and reduces breakdowns and downtime in commercial vehicles. It increases fuel saving by up to 2 per cent and reduces CO2 emissions in the vehicles up to a large extent. OptiTire™ with the integrated telematics connectivity enables real-time fleet notification and has sensor life of up to 10 years. It is the first system for commercial vehicles which offers external or internal wheel sensors and is a single system which covers the full truck-trailer combination.
WABCO Fleet Management Solutions (FMS): WABCO’s FMS helps to improve the efficiency of fleets by providing accurate vehicle information updates through live tracking and vehicle activity monitoring. It helps to monitor fuel consumption and reduce maintenance costs in addition to improving vehicle utilisation and performance. With IP67 protection hardware on the offing blended with USB and gyro sensor features, WABCO’s FMS provides accurate vehicle information update. It gauges the fuel and driver behaviour management and helps in improving vehicle utilisation and performance. The portal is user-friendly and offers live monitoring which makes FMS a path-breaking product in the commercial vehicles’ segment. It reduces fuel consumption and maintenance costs. It supports dashboard analytics at vehicle, fleet and organisation level with customised reports. FMS is integrated with cloud-based interface and is an android-enabled platform.
Electronically Controlled Air Suspension (ECAS) - OptiRide™: WABCO’s award-winning ECAS technology - OptiRide - is the global industry’s best-selling solution for electronic control of air suspension, which delivers fuel savings of up to 3 per cent on specific applications, while providing optimal ride performance. OptiRide™ provides electronic control of full or partial air suspension systems and has an active height sensor which detects precise movements. It comes with axle monitoring and cab and frame-mounted engine-controlled units which reduces vehicle weight and supports quick and easy loading and coupling.
Is the company engaged in developing a new line of products that will be introduced soon?
WABCO India is developing the following range of products:
• Integrated Pedal Unit: WABCO offers customised solutions for integrated pedal units for most applications. The integrated pedal unit combines brake, clutch and throttle functionality into a simple unit, which simplifies the customer assembly process. Combined with WABCO Clutch Servo, this pedal unit requires less pedal force which provides drivers with a ‘car-like feeling’. It is helpful in mitigating accidents and is a powerful combination of system integration and logistic performance which optimises customer assembly while increasing quality.
• Rear-End Collision Mitigation System - WABCO OnGuardACTIVE™: This is the first Autonomous Emergency Braking System (AEBS) for the Indian market, which is a radar-based active safety system that offers collision mitigation and adaptive cruise control (ACC). OnGuardACTIVE™ detects moving, stopped or stationary vehicles ahead and measures the vehicle’s position in relation to others on the road to warn the driver of possible rear-end collision by providing audible, visual and haptic warnings. When appropriate, the system will apply the brakes to help avoid or mitigate an unavoidable collision. Some of the other features include audible and visual warnings that alert drivers with significant reduction in driver fatigue
in congested traffic. It also makes cruise control a more useful tool in various conditions.
What is the current trend in connectivity of commercial vehicles?
Connectivity is going to play a crucial role in the commercial vehicle segment. It will become one of the major pillars of CV business. A connected future through remote monitoring and on-board diagnostics will guarantee maximum uptime. Predictive maintenance coupled with data collection in the future will enhance monitoring and time management for fleets. WABCO India is open to offer analytics in the future to fleet owners to augment the efficiency of fleet management. The company will continue to feature solutions that mobilise the intelligent systems of commercial vehicles. Through its advanced fleet management solutions and aftermarket services, WABCO India will pave the way for empowering fleets of tomorrow.
The company is planning to expand its horizon by tapping into the growing connectivity between off-vehicle data analytics support and intelligent on-vehicle safety and efficiency systems. Tomorrow’s fleets will also be empowered through big data from WABCO’s on-board electronic braking, stability, efficiency and driver assistance systems integrated with fleet management solutions. Through these technological innovations, WABCO wants to help fleets realise their full safety and efficiency potential through advancements in automated driving, and vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications, among other connected intelligent solutions.
WABCO India in tune with current trends has developed the following technologies which enhance the safety, efficiency and connectivity of commercial vehicles:
• Collision Mitigation System - WABCO OnGuard™: This is the first commercial vehicle collision safety system with active braking. This innovative system can automatically maintain a safe following distance and helps avoid or reduce the impact of rear-end collisions by braking as needed. This system can activate the brakes - even before driver demand - when it detects unsafe distances between the truck and surrounding vehicle traffic, reducing the time to achieve proper braking pressure. Those extra moments can help prevent a collision or greatly reduce its impact. It has been designed to deliver strong performances in poor visibility conditions. The technology allows early recognition of potential critical situations.
• Lane Departure Warning System - WABCO OnLane™: This is the first lane departure warning system (LDWS) for the Indian market and is capable of detecting lane markings on the road and identifies unintentional lane drifts. It warns the driver with visual and audible signals. It addresses the most common cause of accidents i.e. unintentional lane departure. Late night driving has become safer with this system.
• Adaptive Cruise Control: This system is specially designed for commercial vehicles. It allows the driver to not only control the speed of the vehicle but it also adapts the speed of the vehicle. If the vehicle in the same lane in front of the truck slows down, the ACC will automatically adjust the speed of the truck in order to maintain a safe distance. It increases overall driving safety and enhances brake life, fuel consumption and vehicle uptime which allow the driver to set speeds and controls the engine and brakes.
Is there any data on India's market size for braking products for commercial vehicles?
A recent report by OE titled ‘Brakes Market for Friction Products’ highlighted that the Indian brake market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11 per cent by the year 2020. Aftermarket will be a key factor to drive demand for brakes in India. The market size in terms of revenue has been pegged at $ 38.96 billion by the year 2021, growing at a CAGR of 7.68 per cent, from 2016 to 2021. The market is driven by growing concerns regarding safety, extended vehicle life and stringent safety regulations adopted by the government which has spurred the market in the past few years and will continue to do so in the future.
Could you name a few of your main customers?
WABCO India is a supplier to all leading OEMs in India which include Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, Volvo Eicher, Daimler, Mahindra, Swaraj Mazda, SML Isuzu, Force, MAN, Caterpillar, TAFE and AMW. Some of our aftermarket customers include VRL Logistics, Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC), Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC), Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) and Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC).
Could you provide a case study of customisation of braking technology for Indian vehicles and Indian roads?
A leading private LPG marketer in India with presence in the domestic households, commercial establishments, and medium and large-scale industries for varied applications was using conventional braking system on their trailers. WABCO India, after conducting a study, found that there were issues related to vehicle roll-over, tyre wear and suspension-related issues due to the conventional braking systems. To address this issue, WABCO India suggested Trailer Electronic Braking System (TEBS) for the LPG marketer’s range of trailers and developed a complete retro-fitment kit, thereby offering a complete solution which addressed the problems faced. Since the fleet vehicles were old, special equipment was required to fit the EBS which was handled by WABCO India. Each trailer was calibrated to improve braking efficiency based on vehicle weight, load, wheel base, centre of gravity and tyre size.
What is the expansion plan of the company for the coming few years?
The company will make appropriate investments in production facilities, technologies and manpower as per market requirement. We will continue to operate our three-pillar strategy of technology leadership, globalisation, and excellence in execution while also continuing to pursue aftermarket opportunities and automotive application of our products and systems. We also expect to continue to outperform the market in every region of the world.
With five world-class manufacturing facilities, software design center and a test track in India, WABCO INDIA excels in engineering and manufacturing.