Home Articles RSB creates another global footprint

RSB creates another global footprint

RSB creates another global footprint

RSB Transmissions (I) Ltd, which operates in the automotive and CMI equipment sector, has signed an agreement with the largest fifth wheel coupling manufacturer, Fontaine, for the sharing of technical know-how. On this occasion, Huned Contractor speaks to the company’s Vice Chairman and Managing Director, S K Behera. Excerpts:


1975, two young entrepreneurs from
Jamshedpur from a humble middle-class background plunged into
the hurly-burly world of business with a passion and dedication to do something
different, to traverse a different path. For the brothers Rabindra Kumar Behera
(RK) and Suvendra Kumar Behera (SK), “dreams were responsibilities”. RK had
just chucked the security of a job with Bokaro Steel after graduating as a
mechanical engineer from NIT,
Jamshedpur and SK was pursuing his commerce education. They
ventured with little finance – a mere Rs 15,000 – borrowed from their father.

duo established International Auto Products, a sole proprietorship company and
the operations commenced in 1975. After several transformations it became a
public limited company, International Auto Limited, in 1994, which eventually
merged with RSB Transmissions (I) Limited in 2009. The group has, in a span of
three-and-a-half decades, grown into a global engineering institution with
turnover in excess of Rs 1,200 crore in automotive components and systems and
construction equipment aggregates, operating in several countries. Presently,
it has 13 manufacturing plants spread over seven locations in India, namely
Jamshedpur, Pune, Dharwad, Chennai, Pantnagar, Cuttack, and Lucknow, as also
one each in Homer (USA), Tessenderlo (Belgium), and Silao (Mexico). RSB
operates in two verticals: automotive and CMI (construction, mining and
infrastructure) equipment and aggregates.

the automotive vertical, RSB is a leading global manufacturer of propeller
shaft systems and components; an array of axles including front axle, trailer
axle, tractor axle, dummy axle and axle beam; fully finished gears, shafts,
hubs and sleeves; and transmission components like differential cases, yokes,
and carriers for medium and heavy commercial vehicles, passenger cars,
tractors, and light commercial vehicles. In the CMI segment, it is a leading
manufacturer of heavy fabrications and aggregates like frames, arms, booms, and
buckets for excavators, back hoe loaders, and front end loaders.

a recent development, RSB Transmissions (I) Ltd has signed a technical know-how
agreement with Fontaine 5th
Wheel, UK, to manufacture and sell fifth wheel coupling for
domestic market under the brand name RSB-Fontaine and export to
Fontaine, UK. Excerpts from an interview with S K Behera, vice
chairman and managing director of the company.

you elaborate about your agreement with Fontaine?

Fifth Wheel is the European division of 
Fontaine International Inc., the largest fifth wheel coupling
manufacturer in the world. Fontaine Fifth Wheel has its corporate headquarters
Birmingham and Alabama in the United States.  It is a
member of the Marmon Highway Technologies Company which supports the
transportation industry the world over with a wide range of high-quality
products and services. This technical know-how venture will boost the market
growth of fifth wheel coupling for RSB pan
India and overseas with the use of latest
state-of-art-technology from Fontaine.

the technology from Fontaine, what will be the manufacturing set-up to make the
fifth wheel couplings in

India? Will an additional production line be started?

will certainly have to set up an additional production line to manufacture the
fifth wheel couplings and we are planning to install a production capacity of
3,000 fifth wheel couplings per month which might be increased based on future
commitments. Our investment for this facility would be about Rs 31 crore in the
first stage. These fifth wheel couplings are intended for export and  also for sales in
India under the brand name of RSB-Fontaine.

is the market size for fifth wheel couplings in

to our study, the demand stands at about 22,000 fifth wheel couplings per
annum. These are limited to tractor models only.

there been growth in the tractor-trailer market in
India? What about the global scenario? How is the future
for this market expected to pan out?

market is now consistent in
India with not much growth due to economic slowdown in the
automotive sector. But considerable growth is expected in the future. Globally
there is a good market for fifth wheel couplings, which is expected to expand

such couplings undergo continuous development or is there not much change in
the basic design and


is a continuous process for design and development for fifth wheel couplings
for which we have a dedicated team. For instance, higher load capacity 28T
fifth wheel coupling is under development and we have already developed
sliders, which we will be exporting to
Fontaine, UK

from the new market you will develop for fifth wheel couplings, who are your
Indian and overseas customers?

are leading Indian and global OEMs like Tata Motors, Tata Hitachi, Ashok
Leyland, Mahindra & Mahindra, John Deere, Fiat, Ford, Allison
Transmissions, American Axle, Eaton, Magna, GKN, Daimler, Renault Nissan, Kamaz,
Caterpillar, Terex, JCB, Kobelco, Leyland, Komatsu and GE, among others.

has been your global footprint?

2006, RSB made its first foray overseas and acquired Miller Brothers in
Michigan, USA. It further expanded its international footprint by
making another acquisition in
Belgium in 2010 and by setting up a greenfield project in Mexico in 2011.

are the company’s future plans?

has several ambitious plans on the drawing board to grow its current automotive
and CMI business both in
India and overseas through organic and inorganic routes.
The plans are in different stages of implementation and will unfold in the next
few years.

What is a fifth wheel coupling?

The fifth wheel coupling provides the link between a semi-trailer and the towing truck, tractor unit, leading trailer, or dolly. Some recreational vehicles use a fifth wheel configuration, requiring the coupling to be installed in the bed of a pick-up truck as a towing vehicle.

The coupling consists of a kingpin, a 2-or-3?-inch (50.8 or 88.9 mm) diameter steel pin on the front of the semi-trailer, and a horseshoe-shaped coupling device called a fifth wheel on the rear of the towing vehicle. The surface of the semi-trailer (with the kingpin at the centre) rotates against the surface of the fixed fifth wheel, which does not rotate. To reduce friction, grease is applied to the surface of the fifth wheel.

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