Text: Anusha B

The Taiwan-based TPI Bearings supplies a large variety of deep groove ball bearings including low friction bearings across the world from its Taiwan and Shangai manufacturing units and markets them in India through its special arm Intertraad. In order to meet the increasing demand for technologically advanced products, especially for use in two-wheelers, TPI Bearings is exploring opportunities to set up a bearings manufacturing facility in India.

Deep groove ball bearing

Deep groove ball bearing

Bharat Mody, CEO of Intertraad told that in addition to the 2 manufacturing plants, TPI Bearings would be establishing a facility in far east country but the exact location is under the wraps. The plant would be operational by 2017. “In addition to this, in the next 3-5 years, if we achieve the target of 75 million bearing sales in India, we will establish a plant in the southern or western region of India. The details are too early to disclose,” he said. The bearing major now produces 350 million pieces annually and expects the production to reach 500 million annually by 2020 and increase the reach furthermore across the globe.

TPI Bearings focuses mainly on two-wheelers, but four-wheeler bearings are within its vicinity and the market of the same will be explored in the near future. The company currently restricted itself to the other segments in the industry. The company exports its bearings to Asia Pacific region, Middle East, USA, Europe and South America.

Bharat Mody, CEO, Intertraad

Bharat Mody, CEO, Intertraad

About the scope of increasing demand for bearings in India, Mody said, “In India there are a lot of youngsters and the demand for two-wheelers are high here. Hence there is no question of stagnation in the two-wheeler market. As we are the suppliers of deep groove ball bearings to the automotive industry, mainly for two-wheelers, our business will grow steadily.”

The passenger car segment does have ups and downs in demand. The small car segment may not have much fluctuations and its growth is linear. But in the luxury segment, though growth is obvious, fluctuations are rampant. Commercial vehicle industry is broadly driven by factors like economic growth. But fluctuations here also are prominent. The bearing needs are directly proportional to the demand generation.

The company claims that its products did not face any drastic change in demand as they occupy essential functional position in all automobiles. The R&D team has been constantly improving its quality as well as specifications with a view to achieve its obvious objective of reducing friction, noise level and fatigue. “Quality becomes the verb of our products and we do not want to over emphasise that. Innovation is our bottom line and the company has garnered several laurels. Innovation, precision and technology are the 3 attributes which we never compromise. We have zero rejection rate and this is achieved through consistent efforts,” Mody said.

The company has automated almost all its operations. This helps TPI to stand out among its fellow players. The assembly line and the production of machines are in-house. “Usually players in the market outsource component making. But we are producing the components and the machines in- house,” he added. About the raw material usage Mody said, “Steel is still used as a major source. Alternate metals are available but the percentage of usage is insignificant.”

About R&D Mody said that, “Taiwan is a major supporter of R&D and with a parent base in Japan we do get technical inputs from them. Our R&D is able to support every demand, and investment is done as and when it is needed. Except for the technical calculations, through Intertraad, we interface with the automakers from the concept design stage and provide technical solutions.” ACI


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