Story by: Sricharan R

Mobile Climate Control (MCC), that develops, manufactures and sells complete climate control systems for commercial vehicles, has set up a new facility in Narasapura Industrial Area, near Bengaluru. MCC is active in the market for climate control systems for buses, off-road, utility and defence vehicles. It is focused on customised solutions in small to medium-sized series. Its solutions include heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and controls, as well as a wide range of associated components.

An industry leader in North America and Europe the company is now focusing on the growing Indian market. The newly-built 20,000 sq. ft. facility will make most innovative and proven product line for the Indian and the global markets. MCC, as an HVAC vehicle systems manufacturing company, offers a variety of systems that include heating, cooling, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration for conventional and electrical city/transit, coach/tourist, school, shuttle/minibuses, vocational trucks, construction and much more.

Our new Indian plant is of the same standard as the rest of our facilities across the globe. It is a state-of-the-art plant. We will deliver cost-efficient products of superior quality from the beginning. We are going to have an efficient operation and it is the way to be competitive in any market. The Bengaluru plant will also be our export hub,” Clas Gunneberg, President and CEO, MCC, said.

The company also plans to set up a testing facility in the plant by 2020. The investment for the testing centre will depend mainly on the capacity. It is also planning to use India as a base for exports to other markets. “We have plans to export to the European market from here and we expect it to happen soon. At the new facility, we will be sourcing the entire unit, but to start with, it will not be fully assembled here. A few things will be in CKDs. We see the tendency of the Indian manufacturers starting to export buses to other countries. We would like to supply our products to them. We also see an opportunity to export directly from India to other countries,” he said.

About the export plan, Eberhard Wolters, President Europe, MCC, said, “We will be exporting our products depending on the customer expectations. The new facility gives us options like making complete units or parts like the condenser, coil or blower as part of the package. As the manual labour is less expensive in India than it is in many parts of Europe, we aim to import units that are as complete as possible. That is our strategy.”

Gunneberg said, “We are planning to make AC system that it is slightly lower in capacity than what is needed in parts of India. Most of the products that will be sold in India are of 40-45 kWh. We will probably be exporting 30 kWh units. We have a production facility in Poland that manufacturers heating coils and blowers. We will concentrate more on AC units here. At first we will have 35-45 kWh and in the long run, we have plans to build other types of ACs.”

MCC has an AC manufacturing company in China which caters to the off-road segment. It is looking at the bus segment now. The plant is different and competitive and makes quality products. MCC expect the Indian plant also to go rapidly and begin to export to other Asian, European and the US markets.

India is bigger and we think that we have to do a lot to cope up with it. China will be an option in a couple of years, but it is the Indian operation we are looking at,” Wolters said.

The AC firm has plans for the upcoming new trends in the Indian market. Gunneberg said, “We will be innovative and our products will be different from competitors. The major thing to start with is the fleet tracking opportunity. Then the ‘Siberian’ is what we have for the electric buses. We also intend to come up with new products to compete with the current ones. For lightweighting, we are finding other materials like fibreglass. This will take out a lot of weight from the unit. As of now, we are not ready and we are trying to find a solution to keep the cost low and reduce the weight. The electronics in the system is made in-house and around 30 percent of our engineers work on the electronics of the system.”

For light-weighting, the company uses copper coils which are lighter and carry less coolant. About lightweighting, Wolters said, “All these also depend on the customer requirements. It can be aluminium or copper. We make what the customer asks for. As many have tried and failed on the aluminium in the ACs, we do not want to educate the market. The market is already mature and there may be a room for improvement and growth. Yet, it all depends on the bus manufacturers. We give them what they specifically want.”

Going forward the Swedish firm hopes that India will contribute a major share to its global market. For the start, the new facility will manufacture 80 per cent for the domestic and the rest for exports. As they also have plans for the European market, the percentage level might change. If the market is good even up to 95 per cent may be for India. “This is because we believe that there is much room for growth here. But, it is not just about the growth in the turnover. There is also engineering power in India that will help us a lot both here and the European market. For example, when the US engineers go home finishing the design, the next day they will have the product ready from the Indian engineers. We want to make use of this, to design and other things, not just for the Indian market, but also for the European and the US markets. It is going to be a team work,” Wolters said.

About their plans to work in the Indian market, Gunneberg said, “We have the custom engineering and we always listen to the customers. If they need changes we do it, no matter what the volume is. As soon as the volume increases here we will invest in the local production of heating coils, condensers etc. This will make us different from our competitors.”

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