BS-VI: Panel Discussion with the Stakeholders
Vehicular Air Pollution in India, has been a major issue since the recorded motor vehicle count had reached 0.3 million in March, 1951. This value reached 230.03 million by 31st March,2016, with a significant 9.9% CAGR between 2006 and 2016. [ Vehicular Pollution in India Report, Members Reference Service Larrdis-Lok Sabha Secretariat, New Delhi: No. 14/RN/Ref./June/018.] This increase in urban vehicular demand has resulted in a sharp increase in the Air Quality Index (AQI), which has led to vehicular pollution becoming the largest source of air pollution in India.
The Government of India has introduced a number of Vehicular Pollution Control Initiatives to regulate the AQI of the country. To cut down on harmful vehicular emissions, India introduced the BS-VI norms in 2016, following the introduction of Euro 5 emission norms in Europe. The norms mandated that all vehicle-makers must manufacture, register and sell only BS-VI compliant vehicles by April, 2020.
At Varroc, we have robust R&D capabilities that have contributed to the technological transition from BSIV to BSVI. On the occasion of completion of an year since the successful BS-VI transition- we organized a panel discussion with a few of our department heads from the Electrical Business Unit and revisited the journey that made BS-VI a milestone success.
The Panelists included; Dr Prakash Airani Kalathil- Head, R&D, Mahesh Raikar- AVP, Program Management, Mahender Singh- AVP, Operations and Anupam Sharma- AVP, R&D.
Marcom Team: What are a few suggestions you could offer to reduce air pollution?
Dr Prakash: The Current AQI is very high. The major air pollutants are mostly particulate matter, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides. The lesser the vehicle combustion the more one saves, and products that offer such capabilities help reduce air pollution.
Mahesh Raikar : I feel the Automotive world's transition into EV will greatly help with tackling pollution. From a technological stand-point , I think the BS-VI IC (Internal Combustion) Engine is the first step to a sustainable future and Electrical Vehicles are the next.
Anupam Sharma: Anupam Sharma: The major air Pollutants like Hydrocarbons, Nitrogen Oxides and Sulphur Oxides can result in various respiratory ailments. I think increased EV penetration within the automotive sector and an extensive use of Renewal Energy products can help tackle vehicular pollution better.
Marcom Team: What according to you were a few limitations you encountered while adopting BSVI?
Mahesh Raikar: In November, 2017, when the Government announced the BS-IV to BS-VI transition it was a major technological leap for India. All automotive OEMs were asked to change the entire engine management system within a short span of 3 years.
As everybody worked under a tight timeline to meet the 2020 BSVI ramp-up deadline, pressure was building up for both OEM and Tier-1 Supplier.
Varroc being a tier-1 supplier, the OEMs trusted our competency and approached us to provide complete solutions from design to mass manufacturing for all BS-VI compliant products.
Though, our customers shared product-specific requirements and drawings by Jul 2019 and we were expected to convert product specifications into quality samples, and have complete tooling and production line readiness within the next 5 month. Our proactive working capabilities and processes allowed OEMs enough time for product validation and testing.
Yet, we did face a few challenges during the transition including a) handling the OEM demands and design specifications b) rapid mass production c) monitoring the BS VI ramp-up and BS IV ramp-down without affecting inventories and avoiding customer line loss d) ensuring the quality of each product delivered to our customers to avoid recalls.
But, among it all, in close partnership with our customers, Varroc was able to deliver high-grade product quality and customer satisfaction with a smooth ramp-up.
Mahender Singh: In the Operations department there were a large set of issues we had to deal with. We wanted to be the first movers and not the last movers so we had to perform our best and crack the deal. I really appreciate my team for their efforts as they tirelessly performed within a narrow timeline ,the R&D teams planned the process to ensure that we receive an accurate design for production. Moreover, we had to redesign most of our product lines from scratch, we had to understand the modification made on each of our products/equipments , the process flow documents were redesigned and we had to create a robust ‘supplier end-tracking’ system. But, at the end we were the first movers who delivered quality products to all our customers within a strict deadline.
Dr Prakash: We had to conduct a very fast ramp-up of the BS-VI compliant products. To reduce the turn-around time by 2-3 month we had to work smart, we had to consider questions like 'What is the reliability or durability?' and ensure that our products were able to answer them. Though, the process was challenging several new areas of learning sprung up-we introduced testing facilities like 'Thermal analysis' and 'Torque Harmonic testing’.
Anupam Sharma: The transition involved a great deal of modifications on the Engine Management System, which itself was a completely different ball-game. The Introduction of the EFI ECU and its technical functionalities involved a very tough process for manufacturing . Our JV (Joint Venture) with Dell'Orto[ Dell'Orto is an Italian company, specialized in the construction of carburettors and electronic injection systems (Source: Wikipedia) ], really helped us a lot with the ramp-up within the limited timeline for delivery. Our OEM Customers had to adopt a similar set of processes to make the transition happen.
Marcom Team: What were a few opportunities that sprung up while handling the current BS-VI transition?
Anupam Sharma: In an EFI ECU , the functions are very close-knit which demands thorough and precise testing approaches. While testing for the EFI ECU we adopted newer methods of testing like the Automated system and the Hardware In Loop Simulation. These tests can now be used for other product processes like On Board Diagnostics (OBD) . Similarly, we hadn't dealt extensively with CAN-based technology before BS-VI, so the transition further exposed us to several such complex technologies and allowed us to work more extensively on products like the OBD-which I believe is a leading future technology. Furthermore, I feel after dealing with BS-VI our teams feel much more capable in handling complex process functions.
Marcom Team: What is Automated testing? How is it different from other testing methods and is it ‘future friendly’?
Anupam Sharma: In Automated Testing there is minimum intervention required while testing, it increases efficiency, allows larger test copies and makes sure not a single defect in the product goes undetected. With functionalities like Automated Testing and CAN Communication, we are able to exploit the automation potential a little more than before. We also have something called the ECU test which enables automated testing on a lot of different product functionalities, taking it to the next level with HIL testing system. We already have a robust HIL Testing System that currently conducts automated testing on Instrument clusters, but we have taken the next step and modified the HIL system to be able to test our ECUs with it.
Marcom Team: What according to you is the real differentiating function between BS-IV and BS-VI?
Dr Prakash: With the BS-VI launch we began working with the CATCON (Catalytic Convertors), which reduces the overall pollutant release of the vehicle. This product is coated with rare earth platinum-based metals which involves a technical challenge, but our metallic teams are dealing with it pretty well. I believe that the CATCON will be the future, though it’s being predicted that by the year 2030 all vehicles on road will we EV, I strongly feel that the IC engine system will survive. Thus, the CATCON which is currently being used only on two-wheelers has the potential to be used on three-wheelers and light commercial vehicles in the future. Another differentiating aspect of the transition is that the BS-VI compliant two-wheelers are much more expensive than BS-IV, which paves the way for EV that promises advance technology and larger durability. Another important technology coming up specifically in IC, is On-Board Diagnostics II, stage-2, by the year 2023. This implementation will involve smart functionalities and complex algorithms. I believe if we work on them extensively now, we will be market leaders in that front as well.
Marcom Team: What were the changes in terms of product line, manufacturing and quality of BS-VI?
Mahender Singh: There were a large set of modifications that we had to undergo in order to facilitate a time-bound delivery, we had to work very closely with the Supply Chain Management team to make sure our tier-2 suppliers were in synch with our process functions. We had to constantly keep our inventory in check, which in the beginning was a challenge to stock-up due to the shortage in time. Also, we had to focus on traceability of Quality- making sure the end-product was cutting edge and with zero defect. We had to validate that all our end-of-line process functions were robust and the Poka-Yoke was in place. Though the coordination between the suppliers and the internal teams was a challenge in the beginning, but we took it up smoothly and made sure all our contributors aligned.
Marcom Team: How has the JV with Dell'Orto helped us?
Anupam Sharma: Our JV with Dell’Orto helped us to build this system capability in a very short time by conducting an easy knowledge transfer of the technology to our engineers. All modifications has to be balanced against the conflicting goals of maximizing the power, torque and fuel-economy of the vehicle. Design and calibration of the electronic fuel injection system needs to be done keeping all these factors. This builds with long experience in the field.
Marcom Team: What was your learning experience from the BS-VI transition?
Mahesh Raikar: We learned Dynamic Change Management, conducted rapid mass production and executed parallel processes. We made sure our product provided the best quality and performance at reasonable cost structures by constantly maintaining communication with our customers and Tier-2 suppliers. The constant communication management to deliver at a limited time-frame has been the biggest learning opportunity for us as an organization.
Mahender Singh: The organization battled all challenges with the mantra of Perform@Change which is our Brand Positioning. Everybody gave their best and worked till the very last successful delivery. During the transition process I noticed a degree of perseverance to perform and excel, which going forward will be our winning stride.
Dr Prakash: The transition helped us maintain high productivity levels and use our tools effectively. We worked on simulations that enhanced our capabilities and helped us understand our durability and performance quality better.
After our conversation with our internal heads, we understood that though the transition to BS-VI has been fulfilling it was also challenging journey, our engineering and manufacturing capabilities enabled us to reach higher performance standards required in this change management journey. These competencies and our focus on excellence has shielded Varroc from the current risks and ambiguities in the economy and industry. Today, with our global technology leadership position and localized capabilities in India across key elements of the value chain, particularly for Electronics, we believe that we are ready to drive solutions to enable our customers to comply with the regulations and the expectations of their end-consumers.
BS-VI: Panel Discussion with the Stakeholders
Vehicular Air Pollution in India, has been a major issue since the recorded motor vehicle count had reached 0.3 million in March, 1951. This value reached 230.03 million by 31st March,2016, with a significant 9.9% CAGR between 2006 and 2016.Reach us