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Old 2nd November 2010, 08:34   #181
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@directinjection;

Please don't mistake my tone! I am not biased towards AL. I take this thread as an healthy discussion on the contribution of AL & TML in India. I just explained the facts that during the period from 1950 to 2000, the entire HCV industry was ruled by TML & AL alone. Its true that both TML & AL has sourced technology from their respective parent companies and they have taken efforts to adapt it to indian conditions. But considering what they delieverd to Indian customers, the technological advancements, range of products for different applications etc, AL was always ahead. These are facts...not to hurt the sentiments of any one here! But today it may not be so, as TML has expanded in all ways during the last 5-8years.

@teamveevee;
Its not about right & wrong. Being first has its value. Being in this industry and having experienced different models of TML & AL, i understand the value of being first to repond to the needs of the market, which AL has done for HCVs and TML for LCVs.
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Old 2nd November 2010, 09:16   #182
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However, in the last 2-3 years, AL's market share and competitive advantage in the domestic bus market has taken a sever beating. Look at some of the facts:

- In many markets, especially the South, AL had an iron grip on the inter-city "luxury" bus market, which has now been totally taken over by the Volvos and Mercs, even in the STUs

- City bus companies BEST and DTC whop were AL's largest customers have ceded share to TML - while in BEST, it was confined to CNG bus fleet (where Tata made its entry for probably the first time in BEST's long history) and the low-floor Marco Polo buses, in DTC, the switchover was virtually total from almost a 100% AL fleet a decade ago to a TML one, and this is not just the Marco Polos.

- STUs have seen maximum losses for AL. STUs like MSRTC have shut down AL depots (as in Bombay, Thane, Konkan region) and now I see most of the new buses are TML. KSRTC and NWRTC (in Karnataka) have also effected a major switchover.

- AL's presence in the LCV market may not even get a footnote in automobile history. The fleeting success of the Cargo series was a brief moment when AL got a foot into the LCV market. What is happening on the Czech LCV company that AL took over?

But AL's increasing market share in the truck market is very impressive, it has managed to enter tough TML markets of North India, breaking the latter's monopoly. It is only East India which is still standing out against AL, and maybe some niche markets like Himachal, Ladakh and Kashmir.
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Old 2nd November 2010, 09:56   #183
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Originally Posted by Jomz View Post
Point 2, Well, I worked for Leyland before ...

What is ALs approach towards the Marine Engines? Are they at least blip on their marketing radar?

I was a bit disappointed to find the ALM 370 engines listed when I visited their site few months back. AL had almost 100% market share in the class which uses the ALM 370, 400 and 402 engines; even bigger engines, (i think 670 is the series), AL did make an impact.

Also, in the early - mid 1990s AL had made quite a splash with their marine gear boxes, lierally driving out the like of Ghatge Patil (!!!!) and some other brand (I cant recollect just now). Ghatge Patil and the other brand together had a monopoly in the Marine gear boxes (mechanical) market, till when AL gate crashed with their extremely inexpensive, but reliable gear boxes. (I am speaking of the sub 200 HP @ 800 - 1100 RPM engine capacities here).

Ghatge Patil was a notable gear box, because it was very reliable, even with significant damage, the box would not fail in the seas.

Just to keep the post on topic for this thread, the other competitor was Tatas.

Players like Rustom, Greaves Cotton, etc. were present, but were significant only in extremely small (4 cyl, sub 70 HP) or in extremely large (> 250 HP) categories.
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Old 2nd November 2010, 09:58   #184
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Originally Posted by BaCkSeAtDrIVeR View Post
I was a bit disappointed to find the ALM 370 engines listed when I visited their site few months back. AL had almost 100% market share in the class which uses the ALM 370, 400 and 402 engines; even bigger engines, (i think 670 is the series), AL did make an impact.
Is it true that many of the scrapped bus/truck engines make their way to the marine engine market?
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Old 2nd November 2010, 10:47   #185
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Is it true that many of the scrapped bus/truck engines make their way to the marine engine market?
No, at least, not in Kerala for the past 30-40 years. I have the fishing boat market in mind (30 feet to 50 feet trawners and up to 60 feet purse sienes - where pulling is not involved) when I mean marine engines.

Here, reliablity is of utmost importance.

When a vehicle breaks down, and no hitch hiking is available, you can get down, park th evehicle and walk.

Out in the sea, all you can do is pray that a similar size and type fishing vessel spots you before the out board engine traditional crafts do. The traditional crafts will torch the boat and you will get some extra bones as bonus.

In the Northern centers of west coast, (Mangalore / goa / Gujarat) they have 3 to 7 day voyages, so reliability requirements are still higher. In KL, voyages used to last for 18 hours to 24 hours. Now, they too are following 2 to 4 day voyages.

In inland navigation, used engines do have a place. I have seen shakthiman engines used for a tug boat few years back, when inland navigation using traditional canoes in a convoy, towed by a tug boat was common. Such tug boats have now been converted to tourist boats.
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Old 2nd November 2010, 17:52   #186
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Originally Posted by BaCkSeAtDrIVeR View Post
What is ALs approach towards the Marine Engines? Are they at least blip on their marketing radar?
Well I'm not that much familar with marine engines, But I know they are specific for that application.

THe Exhaust manifold etc are seawater coooled, so that it does not get extremely hot and start a fire in the boat. This feature alone makes it unlikely that an used auto engine can be used as a marine engine.

The market requirement here which I suppose is, ease of maintananace- some engines which are familar to mechanics always are recommeneded. And I believe there are no emission norms for marine engines in India, I might be wrong.
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Old 2nd November 2010, 18:15   #187
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AL and TML's offering in the marine segment are basically derived from their truck engines which are suitably modified for the purpose. I believe they operate at lower RPMs compared to the original truck engines. Perkins P6 sold by Simpsons was also popular in the marine segment.
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Old 2nd November 2010, 18:46   #188
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In my previous post I forgot to mention that they are derived from the truck engines. Time passed to edit.
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Old 2nd November 2010, 19:24   #189
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Well I'm not that much familar with marine engines, But I know they are specific for that application.
Not exactly; ALM 370 and the Tata engine which we had looked at in 1970s were counterparts of the respective engines used in buses at that point of time; in 1979, AL buses used teh AL 370 engine. The same engine, with thinner sleeves, larger pistons, and different injector nozzles and slightly modified Mico fuel pump became a ALM 400 and ALM 402 engine.

We have swapped engines - both AL and Tata) between buses and boats (We used to own fishing boats too).

We swapped a perkins engine of one of the boats purchased from the Indo-Norwegian project with an AL engine.

Quote:
THe Exhaust manifold etc are seawater coooled, so that it does not get extremely hot and start a fire in the boat. This feature alone makes it unlikely that an used auto engine can be used as a marine engine.
Here is a short howto:-

1. The flywheel for marine engiens is larger.
2. The radiator goes out.
3. We have a "heat exchanger", which houses fresh water in a "closed circuit" in place of the radiator. The heat exchanger is cast iron, with brass inner tubes. Water circulates in the cast iron part, using the normal water pump and same mechanism as water would circulate through a normal unpressurised radiator, while sea water flows through the brass pipes. Sea water is circulated using a separate pump, driven by an extra pulley. The pulley at the front, directly coupled to the crank shaft. This pulley has several extra grooves to drive the fresh water pump, sea water pump, bilge water pump and of course, the alternator.

Sea water coming out of the heat exchanger will go into the exhaust cooler. Those who have a seen an engine would know the exhaust pipes coming out of the engine's head. In marine engines, this part is enclosed in an cooler mechanism, and sea water is circulated through this. Sea water coming out of this is pushed back out into the sea.

Interestingly, I have seen boats running exclusively in fresh water, doing away with this mechanism and using an "open circuit" cooling, completely doing away with the closed fresh water circulation. (hope I am clear on this).

The other main difference between the truck and land engines is the oil sump. The normal engine oil (SAE 40, IIRC) capacity for AL 370 engines was 15 liters. For marine engines, this sump was slighly modified, to make it larger. This would not hold approx 20 L engine oil.

So, change the cooling mechanism, swap the fly wheel, change the front pulley, take out the air compressor between the driving gear (in AL370 engine) and the fuel pump, change the exhaust manifold, and your sturdy AL 370 becomes ALM 370.

Ditto, use different spec sleeves and pistons, with nozzles and minor changes in pump, and you get a ALM 400 engine.

Ditto ditto, use 402 spec parts (piston, sleeves, and "elements" in fuel pump), and you get ALM 402 engine.

All new boats used brand new engines; we swapped the engines becaused we had "in house" expertise to ensure reliability.

BTW, I have seen Ke SRTC's boats operating in Ernakulam - Vypeen sector swapping ALM engines with Telco engines taken out from old Ke SRTC buses. They made such a huge racket and I always made a point to travel at the bow of such boats.

Telco marine engines were certainly a failure, because same Ke SRTC boats later changed back to AL engines, IIRC. (long time since I travelled on those boats, now taken over by State Water Transport Department.

Quote:
The market requirement here which I suppose is, ease of maintananace- some engines which are familar to mechanics always are recommeneded. And I believe there are no emission norms for marine engines in India, I might be wrong.
Dunno about emission; but you are partly right about familiarity. The staff on the boat were expected to know up to take out the fuel injection nozzles. (of course, change the oil, take out the fuel pump, etc.)

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Originally Posted by directinjection View Post
AL and TML's offering in the marine segment are basically derived from their truck engines which are suitably modified for the purpose. I believe they operate at lower RPMs compared to the original truck engines. Perkins P6 sold by Simpsons was also popular in the marine segment.
Yes, right on both counts.

PS:- we have also swappen fuel pumps between Tata and AL engines too. Costed about 1/3rd of a new pump.

Last edited by BaCkSeAtDrIVeR : 2nd November 2010 at 19:26.
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Old 2nd November 2010, 20:45   #190
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaCkSeAtDrIVeR View Post
Not exactly; ALM 370 and the Tata engine which we had looked at in 1970s were counterparts of the respective engines used in buses at that point of time; in 1979, AL buses used teh AL 370 engine. The same engine, with thinner sleeves, larger pistons, and different injector nozzles and slightly modified Mico fuel pump became a ALM 400 and ALM 402 engine.

Well , what i meant by specific for that application means- it is custom modified. THe different pistons and injectors and integration of the sewater cooling systems are the R & D challenges. In 1980s when there was no cad and when people had to draw by hand- this was a diffrent project altogether.

Again Piston designs had to be iterated, to find optimum ( or close to)
Fuel pump config to had to be iterated.

And finally all these had to be tested for reliablity before releasing. Any new major component, like piston,fuel pump and all requires a full engine reliablity test

And all of these had to be done by regular mechanical engineers (like you and me)- based on their experiance with iterating for other onroad projects. The projects used to take a lot of time without computers and software tools.

Now since computers are here-- All these work could be simulated and you can see more products .

Unfortunately since marine diesels are a market which I think neds a proven product, once somebody makes inroads- they might be relectant to change, makes sense on a financial sense too.
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Old 2nd November 2010, 21:07   #191
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Jomz, very valid point.

BTW, I would also like to add that there weren't much advances from early 1970s till mid 1980s. Iwould not blame it entirely on computers - those were the days when a certain George Fernandez showed the door to likes of IBM.

The stagnation was more a function of the license - permit raj, when manufacturers had to go hrough 2 - 3 year process for such simple things as re-arranging the shop floor. Because this would increase infecciency, in turn increasing output.

This lethargy put so much equipment away from hands of our R & D talent.
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Old 3rd November 2010, 11:58   #192
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Can you guys thow some light on the specs of AL 370, AL 400 and AL 402 truck/bus engines? Was AL 370 used in Comet chassis and 402 in Viking?
Can someone also explain the exact difference between Comet and Cheetah chassis, both having Comet-style short front overhangs? Was Cheetah merely a rebadged Comet? What was the name of the full forward control truck introduced in mid 1970s that had headlights set in the bumper and not beside the grill. Subsequent AL trucks like Tusker also continued this trend although some drivers I spoke to used to complain about it.
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Old 3rd November 2010, 22:29   #193
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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
However, in the last 2-3 years, AL's market share and competitive advantage in the domestic bus market has taken a sever beating. Look at some of the facts:

- In many markets, especially the South, AL had an iron grip on the inter-city "luxury" bus market, which has now been totally taken over by the Volvos and Mercs, even in the STUs

- City bus companies BEST and DTC whop were AL's largest customers have ceded share to TML - while in BEST, it was confined to CNG bus fleet (where Tata made its entry for probably the first time in BEST's long history) and the low-floor Marco Polo buses, in DTC, the switchover was virtually total from almost a 100% AL fleet a decade ago to a TML one, and this is not just the Marco Polos.

- STUs have seen maximum losses for AL. STUs like MSRTC have shut down AL depots (as in Bombay, Thane, Konkan region) and now I see most of the new buses are TML. KSRTC and NWRTC (in Karnataka) have also effected a major switchover.

- AL's presence in the LCV market may not even get a footnote in automobile history. The fleeting success of the Cargo series was a brief moment when AL got a foot into the LCV market. What is happening on the Czech LCV company that AL took over?

But AL's increasing market share in the truck market is very impressive, it has managed to enter tough TML markets of North India, breaking the latter's monopoly. It is only East India which is still standing out against AL, and maybe some niche markets like Himachal, Ladakh and Kashmir.
+1, Thanks hvkumar for bringing it up. I also noticed the same. No of TM vehicles in KerRTC fleet have increased considerably during the last couple of years, and they are plying even in High Ranges and Sabarimala these days.
No of Tata private buses also increased in Kerala. 5 years back, there was absolutely no Tata buses in and around Kottayam, Now i see at least few. Some of the big operators like Kondody, Saranya etc started to induct TM buses to its fleet, which was not the case some time back.
In TN highways, 5 years back, we could see only AL National Permit trucks, but if you look now, you will see quite a few TM trucks, mostly multi axle.

In short, In south TM is capturing some of its lost ground, Only area where i dont see any change is in 40+ seater Tourist Buses. I have not seen many big Tata Tourist buses in Kerala or TN. But <30+ seater, mini buses, looks like TM is a major player. This is just my observation, not based on any statistics.
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Old 3rd November 2010, 23:05   #194
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Originally Posted by directinjection View Post
Can you guys thow some light on the specs of AL 370, AL 400 and AL 402 truck/bus engines? Was AL 370 used in Comet chassis and 402 in Viking?
Can someone also explain the exact difference between Comet and Cheetah chassis, both having Comet-style short front overhangs? Was Cheetah merely a rebadged Comet? What was the name of the full forward control truck introduced in mid 1970s that had headlights set in the bumper and not beside the grill. Subsequent AL trucks like Tusker also continued this trend although some drivers I spoke to used to complain about it.
I'm sorry I cannot help with this, I worked with engines in AL.
Hino BS3, BS4 and CNG being some projects I was associated with.
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Old 3rd November 2010, 23:08   #195
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double post- pls delete

Last edited by Jomz : 3rd November 2010 at 23:24.
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