President and CEO of Honeywell Transportation Systems, Milind Godbole, Managing
Director of Honeywell Turbo Technologies (HTT) business in Pune, Maharashtra
and Nitin S. Kulkarni, Vice President, Global Customer Management of Honeywell
Report: P. Tharyan,
Photography: Mohd. Nasir
International is a $37 billion diversified technology and manufacturing leader,
serving customers worldwide with aerospace products and services; control
technologies for buildings, homes and industry; automotive products;
turbochargers; and specialty materials. It is based in Morris Township,
N.J., in the US. Honeywell has had a
presence in India for many decades and currently has businesses headquartered
across four locations in India – Bangalore, Chennai, Gurgaon, and Pune,
employing over 7000 people. Honeywell’s business presence in India is roughly
about USD 400 million and growing at an impressive rate.
Are turbochargers the in thing among
vehicles these days, whether it is an F1 car or an ordinary passenger car with
engines big and small?
Terrence Hahn (TH):
It’s driven by the interest in fuel efficiency, emissions reduction and greater
and greater torque on a downsized engine.
Those are the key attributes that are desired by industry. What we are
delivering is what people are asking for. In the showroom people are asking
about energy efficiency, fuel economy, emissions reduction, they are saying
they still want a driveable car, one that accelerates and one that has a low
end torque. Those attributes that are being discussed in showrooms are the same
attributes that are discussed in our technology organisation here in India and
around the globe. We can make those connections, as a turbocharger
supplier. Now you are seeing that in F1.
Formula One is now asking ‘hey are you still connected to the mainstream,
connected to what they have always been--to new developments?’ What you are
seeing is F1, which is extremely exciting everywhere, saying we are coming to a
smaller displacement engine but we are going to allow turbochargers to go on
them because we have to show some responsiveness to these global requirements,
particularly around fuel efficiency, emissions reductions, etc. But what does
F1 stand for? Performance. We have got to have the torque to get around that
laps and the expectations that the cars will continue to perform better.
Godbole (MG): Turbochargers are going into F1 in 2014, the 24 hours
Le Mans race already has turbochargers. We have been on the Audi diesels that
have won in the last four or five years. Eleven out of 13 times the cars have
won. Turbochargers are also there on the
WRC cars. Also the off road races like the Dakar rally have turbochargers. Turbocharging
is becoming mainstream for sure.
is our overall brand for our turbochargers which is extended from a Honeywell
engineer Cliff Garrett who was from aerospace. The technology of turbochargers
comes from the same technology of aerospace. What is fabulous today is that the
technology has advanced so much that turbochargers spin faster than jet
engines. Its roots are in aerospace technology.
First it was used in commercial vehicles which needed to provide more
low-end torque and horse power. Turbochargers provided that. They also needed
to be more efficient. It came into commercial vehicles, the Caterpillar D9 and
from that the industry saw that aerospace technology can actually help
vehicles. Thus it came into commercial and passenger vehicles and is now
extending itself into motorsports.
How has the turbocharger technology
evolved over the years?
S. Kulkarni (NSK): Turbocharging started off with what is
known as wastegate technology. The conventional turbochargers used to have
something called a turbo lag. When you hit the gas pedal, it’s a little while
before the turbo really kicked off. You could actually feel that lag in some
engines. With the variable nozzle technology in turbos, the turbo lag is
essentially gone. All diesel engine turbochargers or at least the latest ones
are VNT based. These would be introduced in India too. Even VNTs have gone
through an evolution. From third we are going to the fourth generations VNTs.
Most diesel turbos are VNT. Gasoline turbocharging is sort of new kind of
science. Historically only the Porsches
of the world had turbochargers, because gasoline cars by itself are rather
peppy. But as engines get downsized, and we have to keep the power same, we
need turbocharger. Most of the gasoline turbochargers are waste gate
turbochargers. The next generation of turbochargers could be VNT based.
Is India a promising market for
turbochargers or is the country a great export hub?
and in a very strong way. First is that as automobile manufacturers come to
India they have understood that in order to bring global platforms, they also
need to localise to the attributes, the ambient conditions, the roads etc.
Honeywell has manufacturing as well as engineering and design capabilities
here, has allowed us to partner with local OEMs, in help bring turbo charging
capabilities that works in India. At the same time the ambition of automobile
manufacturers in India is to export to other markets. And they want to have
partners from the supply base who can enable them to do that. Our presence here
clearly represents our ability to innovate products for the local market and
deliver them from a local facility and the ability to ensure that as their
aspirations grow we can continue to supply them. Honeywell operating system
ensures that if we are supplying our customers in other parts of Asia or back
into Europe from our facility here, they know that they are getting the same
quality and competence as they would from any of their other plants.
Globally, what has been the demand
highest penetration rates for turbochargers are in Europe and that is both from
a diesel as well as a gasoline perspective. The area that is also significantly
growing is the United States. Penetration of turbochargers in the US is very
low, around 15pc to 20pc. Now there is an opportunity with the new CAFE
(Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards that require higher miles per gallon
(mpg) and that means more opportunity for turbo charging. The other big market
is in China which is also looking for energy and fuel efficiency. In addition
to that they also have engine displacement restrictions. Turbo charging is
required for higher hp in smaller displacement engines. For different reasons
around the planet we are seeing turbo charging. In Brazil you may be aware of
the Inovar-Auto standards that will drive fuel efficiency. Turbo chargers is
the technology that auto makers are looking to be able to meet those
requirements. One example, which is the most global of all, pertains to
Volkswagen. They have made statements publically that all of their new engines
will have turbo chargers.
Which are the countries to which
Honeywell exports out of India?
We export to South East Asia and Europe. We
have a plant that can make turbocharger for domestic as well as export markets.
The ratio between exports and domestic consumption varies. It varies depending
on where the industry is moving. The capability we have built here include VNT
and also the wastegate definitely. In the domestic market we are getting much
stronger. Honda Amaze has been a good success story. The engine has a Honeywell
turbocharger. It also means that it makes sense to put a turbocharger in a mid
size segment car. Our focus is to be present locally very strongly.
What about wastegate technology based
turbochargers, how popular are they now?
are used overseas as well. The technology is not dead by any means. There is a
lot of advancement in technology here too. A lot of off-highway vehicles use
this technology. A lot of light diesel vehicles use wastegate technology based
turbochargers. It all depends on what the performance criteria is for the vehicle. Both wastegate as well
VNT are doing very well and are being developed in their next generations.
What about micro turbochargers?
engine downsizing but you want to have the same power. Also you want the fuel
efficiency and want to meet the emission standards. Those reasons do not
change. Any of those attributes whether it is a small engine or a very large
engine, turbochargers are the no compromise solution to meet those attributes. The
challenge is in the technology.
started on the big trucks and has percolated down. It has come down to the
Honda Amaze and maybe the smaller cars. We are ready for that. From a product
standpoint we are ready for that. It is for the OE to decide what their product
How critical is your technical
centre in Bangalore?
MG: It is a
boon for India. We have around 8000 engineers in our Bangalore centre who are
doing work not only for domestic but also for global markets. We have an application
engineering team that is based in Pune. We have a plant here and we have a
sales and marketing force.
What about Honeywell investments?
are building two plants for turbochargers as we speak. One is in China, and the
other in eastern Europe. Our Pune plant is expanding. We are the leaders and
our customers expect us to support them with products.
Is there a demand for turbochargers
coming from commercial vehicles?
commercial vehicle segment can be split into two parts. One is the on highway
segments that comprise trucks and then there is the off highway that comprise
the construction vehicles. There is
turbocharger penetration happening in both those segments. Especially when you look at emerging markets,
India is a great example. The boom in on highway vehicles and construction
vehicles is coming. For construction the same attributes apply. You need
reliability, fuel efficiency and power. Turbochargers provide that. The value
proposition is the same.
Honeywell is also into braking
solutions? Can you throw some light on that?
look to make engines more powerful and faster, and then we look to stop them
and make them safe. The technology of making brake pads is more of material
science. The analogy to our turbo charging business was to aerospace. Brake
pads is a combination of multiple materials processed in multiple ways to get
to the attributes that the customers desire. We look at this business as a
technology business just as we do every other aspect of our enterprise. Just as
we have a sister division of aerospace that helps our turbocharger business,
Honeywell has a very large performance materials and technology business and so
we are able to take learnings from that.
We have just put up new brake pad units in Romania and China.