MICO, part of the German BOSCH group and India's leading automotive engine and spare-parts supplier, has commissioned Hydrogas India to build an Gas Handling System installation to test Automobile engines at its Bangalore Application Centre.
The facility is the first of its kind in India and prepares the company for the implementation of new EURO 3 and 4 emissions standards. Competition to design the test system came from in and outside India.
Established in 1951, MICO has become a household name in India's automotive industry. The company pioneered the manufacture of auto spark plugs and diesel fuel-injection equipment in the country.
"We have enjoyed a very strong brand position in India not only because we have a long history here but because of our prominent product quality. Our self-imposed strict standards have kept us ahead of the competition all these years. Similarly, suppliers who work with us must also meet our stringent requirements," says K.T. Shankar, Manager MAC (User Department).
MICO is the largest diesel fuel-injection equipment manufacturer in the world. The company also produces industrial equipment, auto electrical, hydraulics for industrial and tractor applications, electric power tools, packaging machines and Blaupunkt car audio systems.
"We visited Hydrogas India's completed project at Sandvik Asia, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sweden's Sandvik Group, and were quite impressed with what we saw," says Mr.Shankara Prasad, Manager, BRI (Projects). "After that, we started discussions with them (in August 1998)."
"MICO is a serious customer who has established competitive benchmark in their industry. We are honoured to be working with them and be acknowledged by our world class standard and expertise in offering gas handling systems, especially in the automotive segment, " says Manjunath Jyothinagar, Operations Manager of Hydrogas India.
"Coming up with the concept for the installation of Gas Handling System is the easy part. The real challenge is developing a unique system and technology that suits our needs. Many major international players participated in the tendering process. We selected Hydrogas India because they proposed the best technical solution for our concept at an effective cost. In addition, they have a strong local presence in India and are committed to their customers. In contrast, the other suppliers do not have bases in India and that's not our preference," says Mr.Shankarprasad
"We are rather proud to say that we have overcome the competition from AirLiquide, Druva, A.C.Bach, and other European companies during this project awarding. This is probably because we worked closely with MICO to understand their needs. Besides, we are very cost competitive while maintaining quality," explains Manjunath.
WORK WELL TOGETHER
"Hydrogas India worked very closely with us. Besides meeting our own guidelines, we must submit all developments and changes to BOSCH in Germany for approval," Mr.K.T.Shankarexplains. "Despite the complexity and time constraints on the project, Hydrogas India found the best solution and hence won the job. We're very pleased with what we have."
Maintenance is a key issue and stainless steel was subsequently selected due to its durability and easy up-keep despite its higher price. "To us, there is no compromise between maintenance and quality."
"Hydrogas India has good project execution, they provide on-time, quality delivery, and have maintained a good interactive dialogue." Says Mr.Shankarprasad
The new facility's gas cylinder room is independent of the main building. The room's only opening intentionally faces away from the main building in case of an explosion.
"The gas pipes are all labelled to show what kind of gas is going through. Clear and consistent presentation," says a satisfied K.T.Shankar.
"The design of the system has taken in consideration present and future needs. The system is designed in such a way that it can be expanded without having to be shutdown. No additional cost has incurred in provision for such an option. It is purely based on the design capability of our team," explains Manjunath.
EXCELLENT REFERENCE POINT
"We sometimes get telephone calls from customers asking to see the installation. They're usually very impressed with what they have seen. We refer them to Hydrogas India, " says a cheerful Shankar Prasad.
"The MICO project has definitely expose us to many other customers to world class Gas Handling Systems," agrees Manjunath. "We are now in the final stages of winning contracts from LUCAS TVS, Mahindra & Mahindra which is a utility vehicle manufacturer, and the Automotive Research Association of India - an autonomous body.
"Our sequel of the MICO project is TELCO, Medium & Heavy, a commercial vehicle manufacturer which has just been completed in the first week of October."
"The move to install a new engine test system meeting EURO 3 and 4 standards is absolutely necessary. It is normal for India to follow European countries' car emissions regulations and guidelines. The local manufacturers expect us to do so. Besides, we also export our products overseas."
MICO exports 20-25% of its products to Europe, the US, South America and South Africa.
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