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A Visit To The Eicher Plant

Eicher, a brand known best for sturdy and comfortable city buses and trucks that constantly are circling our nation, reaching destinations and then loading, unloading goods and yet again are hungry to reach the next destination throughout the nation. How is this experience better with Eicher you may ask? Well, Eicher claims they have the best after sales service and their trucks have the best fuel consumption ratio of any other medium duty truck in the country.

Yes, we know you may not be enthusiastic about trucks but let us go through some interesting facts. These trucks deliver all our cars and bikes so they somewhat play an important role in our life. Let us not forget that at some point of time in our life, we have taken a trip in a bus or taken a lift from a truck in some heart pounding situations.

Eicher and Volvo’s five-year relationship with each other has finally seen the daylight when it comes to venturing together in India. The venture together is called VECV. An investment of Rs. 1800 crore is already done and more money will be pumped in the future. Volvo helped Eicher in bench-marking their facilities, technologies and utmost important are the idea’s that will make truck driving for drivers a less problematic experience. This venture between these two houses is so promising that they are calling it Go Pro.

Eicher claims that they will give customers profitability, professional service, proficient, promise, prosperity, progress and much more when it comes to pro inspired ideas. The new trucks are going to offer less fatigue to the driver and comfort and quality has been given maximum stress.

However, like all vehicles we wonder how trucks are made. After a long briefing in the start, we head for lunch and proceed to our transport to take us to the plant and they are Volvo buses, neat. We went to Pithampur, Indore where Eicher and Volvo with their joint venture are starting to manufacture trucks together and openly saying that this is the future of Indian trucking. We get a tour of the warehouse, assembly line and engine plant.

Usually we think the trucks on the road are so shabby, loud and dirty that they are being made in the same way in the factories. Not here at least, if you keep that in mind and enter Eicher’s facility, you will think you jumped into a parallel universe. Spic and span facility with shining and painted floors having a ventilated roof which is a very good impression at first sight. Light bulbs all over the facility brighten the entire 3,40,000 square meters of space. Paint shop, assembly, and trim line pretty much replicate any other car manufacturing facility.

Workers well dressed with specific dress code working in tandem with the lifeless robots, which are setting benchmarks in time consumption and part welding. ERoDip is used to rotate the cabin by 360 degrees, so that paint reaches everywhere and provides a rust free experience for 10-15 years. All this is a small part of the quality control procedure. A humongous warehouse has 95% of parts availability, when we asked is it possible to take parts from every basket and make an engine or entire truck here, the answer from the host was yes, it is possible but only if the machines making the vehicles were present here to do it. Eicher has made a system by which parts are made available pan India within 3-5 days when the order is placed.

The engine plant was next on the schedule. Eicher says this is the most advanced engine plant in India when it comes to producing truck engines. Obviously, when engines are being exported from here to rest of the world, top-notch materials, quality oriented procedures and facilities are on priority, did we feel that way? After visiting quite a few manufacturing plants, we certainly think so.

Eleven new products were displayed. All these included trucks and buses, which are in the range of 5 to 49 tonnes. In India, engines are Euro 3 compliant while the engines being exported from here are Euro 6 compliant for European countries. Engine tuning varies from 180 HP to 240 HP, from a new 3.8-litre, 6 cylinder 4-valve engine while replaces the old 3.3-litre, 2-valve unit. Both new and old engines are cast iron engines with aluminium used for piston and camshafts only. Special coating on conrod’s centre circle for reliability is an unknown element to most factory employees and us. Everything else from manifold to cylinder head is cast iron because the pressure is extremely intense and aluminium cannot withstand it. The huge flywheel housing indicates that there is ample amount of low end torque and good engine responsiveness.

Visiting a manufacturing plant always is a matter of sheer joy to us. When we were told that we would be visiting the Eicher plant we were excited, curious and anxious at the same time because we did not know how it would turn to be. We were delighted when we saw the facility is up to the mark. Eicher says and so do critics that this is best in class, but certainly not the first.

Eicher plans to discontinue rest of its products in a phased manner and new products are coming in February 2014. If the Go Pro mantra succeeds then we can expect manufactures like Tata and Ashok Leyland to up their game despite holding the rooster’s neck for ages. New, improved and better products always have space in the market and tend to create more customers for the brand. After looking at plans, strategies and ideas being well executed by the VECV group, we are certain fleet owners will not hesitate to GO PRO. Now let the pictures do the talking.

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