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Absorbing The Lows, Surfing The Highs

Absorbing The Lows, Surfing The Highs

Duroshox continues to beef up its product portfolio, especially shock absorbers, to not only maintain its high sales in India but also make further inroads into the export segment

By Huned Contractor

At the Duroshox plant at Sanaswadi near Pune, the constant hum of the machines belies the fact that the automobile industry has been going through a turbulent phase. But then the company has never been solely dependent on the domestic sales of its products. In fact, Duroshox received the Engineering Export Promotion Council’s ‘Highest Exporter of Thrust Products to Thrust Markets (Medium Enterprise) Award’ for the year 2011-12 and going by its current scale of activities, the focus continues to be on tapping a global market. “The market for automotive components has been growing exponentially and consequently the surge in demand for our world-class products is evident nationally and internationally,” says Anshul Goel, Managing Director, Duroshox Private Limited.









With two, state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Pune, Duroshox focuses on development of assemblies and sub-modules that are used in suspensions and specialised seating-related applications. The company is the largest exporter of seating suspensions from India and has been continuously expanding its markets for such products. Its key markets include USA, Germany, Italy, UK and China. Its product portfolio includes seating suspensions, seating frames, seat adjustors/slides, two and three-wheeler shock absorbers, etc.

Elaborating about the company’s products, Goel states, “We have made rapid progress and development in the design and manufacture of different types of shock absorbers to cater to the requirements of various clients in different industries all over the world. For instance, we have over 25 types of motorcycle shock absorbers used for 100 cc and onwards. These have been designed to meet the expectation of good vibration damping in all ride situations. Our range of shock absorbers also includes front mono shocks and rear twin tube shocks for smaller scooters (50 cc) to the large two-wheelers (500 cc) and three-wheeler applications.”

The company has also developed shock absorbers for mini four-wheeled applications. Another important product offered by Duroshox is the gas spring that is used in a wide range of applications in general vehicle engineering, examples being superstructures, bodies and vehicles. These gas springs open, adjust and close hoods, covers, hatches, doors and casings in a controlled and damped movement and are widely used in hatchbacks. “A gas spring is a sealed cylinder consisting of some dedicated basic components: rod, tube, piston, seals and end attachments. It contains pressurised inert gas and a small amount of oil. Although we use standard components, we custom-design and manufacture many products to meet specific needs,” Goel says. Duroshox also produces seating frames having tubular structures for domestic as well as export applications. These frames are generally used for truck seats, agriculture equipment seats and industrial vehicle seats.

To go back to its stronghold in the export market, what is it that gives Duroshox an edge over its competitors when making a foray into foreign markets? According to Goel, it is the importance that the company gives to research and development and the proper deployment of technology. “Our shock absorber facility has high-end equipment for machining and welding and our assembly lines operate with a high degree of automation so the quality levels are maintained. Also, we have in place techniques like QFD (quality functional deployment), DFM (design for manufacturing), parametric designs and Taguchi methods so that our products confirm to standards set by our global customers,” Goel states.

Of these, Goel is very impressed with the techniques developed by Genichi Taguchi. “This innovator had a theory that quality engineering should start with an understanding of quality costs in various situations. In conventional industrial engineering, the quality costs are simply represented by the number of items outside specification multiplied by the cost of rework or scrap. However, Taguchi insisted that manufacturers broaden their horizons to consider cost to society. Though the short-term costs may simply be those of non-conformance, any item manufactured away from nominal would result in some loss to the customer or the wider community through early wear-out; difficulties in interfacing with other parts; or the need to build in safety margins. Such losses would inevitably find their way back to the originating corporation, and that by working to minimize them manufacturers would enhance brand reputation, win markets and generate profits,” he explains.

The company’s R&D facility is recognised by the government and supported by the Kaizen Institute of Japan in the manufacturing processes. “We have a team of 34 experts who design and develop the products at most competitive prices. The product development team also has a separate and dedicated team of purchase, development and supplier quality engineers. This enables Duroshox to provide fast response to its customers and shorter development cycle,” Goel says. And all this has certainly helped the company procure a large chunk of market share, especially for its suspensions for seating applications. “We make around 2,20,000 suspensions and approximately 1 million shock absorbers per annum,” Goel reveals. The company’s clientele includes Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Force Motors, Toyota, JCB, Tafe, John Deere, Mitsubishi, Caterpiller, Harita, Siemens, and others.

As for an earlier announcement about setting up a new production facility in Chennai, Goel admits that the plan is under revaluation. “The current slump in the market has forced us to re-think about it. For now, we are concentrating on our new products and the efforts of our R&D team are on catering to the demand for specialised products that will further enhance the comfort factor. This includes the luxury passenger transport segment,” he says. Ultimately, as Goel puts it, the key mantra to riding out the rough seas and continuing to post growth is to always find the “best-fit solution”.

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