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Old 2nd December 2013, 23:56   #1
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Default Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur

The town of Pithampur near Indore, is home to the commercial vehicle manufacturing plant of Eicher Trucks and Buses. With the joint venture with the Volvo Group (VECV), this plant has expanded vastly from where it began in 1986 and now also produces Euro6 compliant engines that power Volvo trucks in Europe. Team-BHP was invited to have a glimpse of this huge facility and yes, we were allowed to photograph inside as well.

Some quick facts about the facility:
  • With technical expertise from the Volvo Group, this plant follows international standards in-terms of production, testing and safety.
  • Spread over 340,000 square metres, this facility is located in the Phase 1 of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) of Pithampur.
  • Eicher Trucks and Buses became part of VE Commercial Vehicles in 2008 and started production of their brand new VE trucks manufactured at this plant.
  • Currently manufactured products include: Tipper (8T - 25T), Haulage (5T - 31T), Articulated Tractor (40T), Buses, Chassis, Genset application engines and also engines for vehicles, agricultural and marine applications.
  • New paint shop with eRoDip technology was inaugurated in November 2012 and has an initial capacity of 72,000 units.
  • After production, each vehicle goes through End of Line Dynamometer Testing (EOLT)
  • This is Volvo's first engine plant outside Europe and saw an initial investment of Rs. 375 crore.
  • The Volvo-Eicher joint venture has invested Rs. 1,600 crore and shall be investing Rs. 800 crore by 2014 for further development.
  • The Euro6 diesel engines will be supplied to the Volvo Group plant in Venissieux, France. The same platform will be adapted for Euro3 and Euro4 engines, which will be used by VECV and the Volvo Group for the Indian and Asian markets.
  • A bus body plant is in the works and should start by the end of this year. Starting capacity will be 7,500 units going upto 15,000 units in the coming months.
  • The plant also hosts a state-of-the-art training school for dealer mechanics.


Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-001.jpg

Body Shop:

Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-002.jpg

All these panels come together to form the base cabin.
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-003.jpg

Industrial robots joining panels through spot-welding.
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-004.jpg

Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-005.jpg

The completed base cabin is brought forward ready for painting.
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-untitled1006.jpg

The body-shop displayed this very first cabin produced at VECV on 25th May, 2013, five years after the joint venture began.
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-007cab.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 5th December 2013 at 12:28.
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Old 2nd December 2013, 23:56   #2
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Default re: Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur

Paint Shop:

The paint shop will have an initial capacity of 72,000 units scalable to 100,000 units per annum.
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-008.jpg

The queue for the paint shop comprises of various cabin models from small E2s to bigger Terras.
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-009.jpg

Still quite rare in India, the paint shop uses eRoDip technology that turns the cabin 360 degrees inside the process tank. Mahindra has been using this very technology at their Chakan plant paint shop for the Navistar trucks, since 2010. Inside view of the process room as seen through an LCD monitor.
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-010.jpg

The cabin gets attached to this shaft, which turns it 360 degrees through the tank below.
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-011.jpg

Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-012.jpg

Freshly painted colourful cabins ready to go to the Trim line.
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-013.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 5th December 2013 at 12:32.
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Old 2nd December 2013, 23:57   #3
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Default re: Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur

Cab Trim Line:

The painted cabins in their bare form, ready for interior and exterior fitments.
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-014.jpg

Various stations at the Trim Line. See the gear stick assembly at the bottom of the pic?
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-015.jpg

The procedure begins with the model stickers and reflector strips already stuck to the cabin.
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-016.jpg

Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-017.jpg

The VE 30+ton truck cowl at its Trim line.
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-018.jpg

The interior gets installed.
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-019.jpg

Almost done.
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-020.jpg

Front facia components like headlights and grille are installed on the Chassis line.
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-021.jpg

Last edited by Stratos : 4th December 2013 at 21:38.
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Old 2nd December 2013, 23:57   #4
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Default re: Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur

Chassis Line:

The bare chassis gets fitted with most mechanical and electrical components before it can be integrated with the cabin and rest of the components.
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-022.jpg

Some stations at the Chassis line.
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-023.jpg

The engine is one of the first components to be brought using an overhead chain to be attached to the chassis.
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-024.jpg

The cabin arrives from an overhead crane.
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-025.jpg

The remaining components getting fitted. Some are part of the front facia assembly.
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-026.jpg

Spare wheel fitment.
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-027.jpg

Almost ready...
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-028.jpg

Last minute checks.
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-029.jpg

The vehicle is now complete. A driver has to be at the wheel, since it is at this point that the vehicle comes off the continuously moving chassis line and stands for the first time on its own wheels.
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-030.jpg

Passing through quality control.
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-031.jpg

A quick look at the Production Indicator.
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-prodtarget.jpg

VECV stores parts in this huge storage facility and they are available to dealers 24x7. Eicher claims a maximum downtime for product availability of 3 days.
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-partstorage.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 5th December 2013 at 12:36.
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Old 4th December 2013, 11:44   #5
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Default re: Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur

A quick look at the Engine Plant:

Does it look like a plant that manufactures engines which go international? You bet!
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-032.jpg

Vendor and process rejected cylinder heads, or at least the boards in the background say so.
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-033.jpg

Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-034.jpg

This particular robot is capable of assembling 165+ components in a matter of 120 seconds. Eicher claims that they are the only manufacturer in India to use this technology.
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-componentrobot.jpg

This yellow unit is an AGV (Automated Guided Vehicle) robot and provides assistance in the final assembly of an engine.
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-035.jpg

Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-036.jpg

The large storage unit for all engine related components.
Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur-037.jpg

Last edited by Stratos : 5th December 2013 at 00:31.
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Old 5th December 2013, 12:40   #6
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Default Re: Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Commercial Vehicle Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 5th December 2013, 13:01   #7
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Default Re: Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur

Wow, I visited this plant in 1995. That time is was regarded as advanced for a truck plant. The crazy part was a shortage of rear axles so it was jokingly called Enfield's other two wheeler plant as trucks without rear axles were wheeled out to the yard to keep things going.

It is totally transformed from then
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Old 5th December 2013, 13:30   #8
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Default Re: Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur

Thanks for sharing Stratos.

Very rarely does the manufacturer allow so many pictures showing all the critical areas. Very rarely do we get to see the painting process.

Cheers

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Old 5th December 2013, 16:27   #9
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Default Re: Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur

Opening post, the first picture: Is the exhaust pipe connected to an external pipe to take the exhaust gases out? If yes, really appreciate the concern towards staff health.

I have seen Mercs being driven around in (& around) the assembly line without such safety measures.
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Old 5th December 2013, 19:14   #10
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by parrys View Post
Opening post, the first picture: Is the exhaust pipe connected to an external pipe to take the exhaust gases out? If yes, really appreciate the concern towards staff health.

I have seen Mercs being driven around in (& around) the assembly line without such safety measures.
This will be for initial starting of the vehicle and check. Post checking you need to drive normal
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Old 5th December 2013, 19:53   #11
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Default Re: Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur

During my recent long drive. I encounter many Eicher Trucks the rigid one, which has striking similarity with TATA 1612 Forward Control.

normally no one does in CV market but can TATA file a design suit against it.
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Old 5th December 2013, 20:30   #12
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Default Re: Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur

Quote:
Originally Posted by SirAlec View Post
During my recent long drive. I encounter many Eicher Trucks the rigid one, which has striking similarity with TATA 1612 Forward Control.
I think your are referring to trucks built on the Eicher 30.25 XP and 35.31 platforms. They do look remarkably similar to Tata's trucks. When I saw one for the first time, a couple of years ago, I thought the guys had just stuck an Eicher badge on a Tata.
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Old 6th December 2013, 08:47   #13
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Smile Re: Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur

Stratos,

A huge thanks for the photos of the plant.

Being a fierce stickler to safety PPE's (personal protective equipments) due my stint in offshore oil & gas platforms, I see that safety is not a prime concern in the manufacturing area. I would have been glad to see shop floor workers having the basic safety eqpts on such as safety goggles, hand gloves, Hard hats etc which I see in some pics. Sorry for going OT.

The board display shows a shift target of 60 with only half achieved, whats the general target for the day?
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Old 6th December 2013, 09:54   #14
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Default Re: Pictorial: Eicher's Truck & Bus Factory, Pithampur

Quote:
Originally Posted by SirAlec View Post
During my recent long drive. I encounter many Eicher Trucks the rigid one, which has striking similarity with TATA 1612 Forward Control. normally no one does in CV market but can TATA file a design suit against it.
For Tata to do so, its design would need to be duly registered under the Design's Act. Registration is only granted if the design is new and original (not only in India but the entire world!) which Tata's design is not, being a Mercedes copy. Even if its design were original, Tata cannot take legal action given that the rights are available under the Act only for 15 years. Tata has been using that design for over 40 years!
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Old 6th December 2013, 13:57   #15
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Fantastic. It's always nice to see the manufacturing plants. The plant looks extremely sofisticated and hi-tech in all respects. My questions is if I want to go and visit the plant, whom do I have to contact? Or do they invite you to visit the plant? 5 * rating for this report and thread. Thanks for sharing this trip details with us.
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