The recent notification by
Government allowing an increase in the maximum permissible axle load on trucks
is a move in right direction which will improve the efficiency of commercial
transport in the country. However, in the absence of adequate enforcement of
rated load compliance in the field, prevalent practices of rampant overload
could pose serious road safety threats, which may necessitate government
issuing suitable advisories for better clarity. This was stated by Dr. Abhay
Firodia, President, SIAM.
Dr. Firodia said, “Globally,
higher axle loads are permitted which enables higher efficiencies in the goods
transport industry. In India, historically, we had allowed lower axle loads as
well as lower vehicle speeds due to the inability of our road and highway
infrastructure to support such higher loads or speeds. With the modernisation
of India’s roads and highways, it is natural for Government to look at higher
load carrying capacities in trucks. SIAM, in principle, has supported an
increase in axle loads up to the European levels” Dr. Firodia added.
The notification does away
with the present CMVR table of tyres & Axle combination against permissible
Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW). This allows easier and more flexible development of
new vehicle configurations of different tonnage by the manufacturers as it
provides freedom of selection of any combination of tyre & axle within the
CMVR permissible dimensions. This is also a welcome step, said Dr. Firodia.
However, the notification also
raises some concerns related to safety, applicable date of the change and the
readiness of the supply chain. Dr. Firodia said that the existing vehicles on
the road are not certified for safety with the higher axle loads. Hence, this
provision should not allow the existing vehicles with higher loads or else it
will tantamount to legalising the wrong practice of overloading of the
vehicles. Such overloaded vehicles may or may not be able to meet the mandatory
braking and steering performance requirements leading to safety issues on the
road. The new norms should be applicable only to the new vehicles which are
certified by the test agencies from the safety point of view.
Higher loads on vehicles will
also require upgraded tyres and new specifications of the axles for which the
supply chain also needs to gear up. Finally, there is no date of implementation
mentioned in the notification. As BS6 vehicles development is in full swing and
many of the OEMs as well as the supply chain would need some time to upgrade
product designs and certify these new vehicles, a clear date of implementation
of April 1, 2020 aligning with introduction of BS6 vehicles would be more
appropriate, said Dr. Firodia.
Jindal Stainless is eyeing the
auto sector in a big way. The company plans to triple its supplies towards this
segment in the next 5 years. According to the 2020 BSVI norms, stainless steel
is the most preferred metal for exhausts, the weight of which will increase
from 20 to 40 kgs in commercial vehicles.
Apart from this, there is a
huge playing field for stainless steel in fuel tanks and bus bodies. Owing to
India’s long coast line, stainless steel is the best choice for making bus body
frames and panels, ensuring longevity in these highly corrosive environments.
Jindal Stainless has successfully developed and deployed stainless steel fuel
tanks for commercial vehicles. The metal’s fire resistance (ability to
withstand temperatures in excess of 900 degrees centigrade) and cost
effectiveness due to it being light weight results in saving fuel costs. All
major global bus body manufacturers, such as Volvo, Scania, Optare trust
stainless steel, primarily to reduce weight and prolong battery life.
According to the company, the
Indian passenger vehicle manufacturing industry became the fourth largest in
the world, with sale increasing to 4.02 million units in 2017. Overall, auto
sector consumes nearly 2 lakh tones of stainless steel in a year. This is
pegged to grow at a rate of 15% per annum, providing enough scope of growth to
domestic producers of stainless steel.
Speaking about the potential
of stainless steel usage in the automotive industry Vijay Sharma, Head Sales,
Jindal Stainless noted, “The Indian automobile sector is rising fast with an
annual growth rate of 15% registered in FY18. Against this backdrop, Jindal
Stainless registered an even stronger growth of 25% in this sector in the same
financial year, by virtue of its continued investment in innovation and a focus
on import substitution. The transformation of the Indian automobile industry is
fascinating, considering that auto majors are reducing costs while maintaining
the same quality as their international counterparts. While developed nations
deploy 19% stainless steel in motor vehicles, developing countries consume it
to the tune of 5%”. Currently, Jindal Stainless contributes around 60% to the
country’s requirement of stainless steel in automotive sector.”
Stainless steel is the ideal
metal for meeting the demands of the automotive industry given its resistance
to heat, pressure, and ageing. The aesthetic appeal of stainless steel is
another added advantage. The high strength-to-weight ratio and improved
slide-ability, higher weldability, and corrosion resistance, even in wet
abrasive applications, make it an optimum choice for usage in this sector. It
is used in vital components such as vehicle exhaust, disk brakes, catalytic
converters and specialized parts of diesel turbochargers.
Jindal Stainless has a broad
and trusted clientele of major brands such as Honda Group, Yamaha, Bajaj, Ashok
Leyland, Tata Motors, Toyota and others.
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