Sprawling over an area of 25 acres at Kukas on the outskirts of Jaipur, Rajasthan, Eicher Polaris Pvt. Ltd.’s full fledged manufacturing facility is a part of INR 350 cr investment made by the 50:50 JV so far. With only around 22% of built up area, the campus incorporates welding shop, paint shop, assembly line and test track. The facility will also house an R&D centre in the future. There is enough real estate within the premises for future expansion plans.
Eicher Polaris Multix is a personal automobile which is versatile enough to be used for small business applications and hence the manufacturing process is akin to a proper passenger car. The fabrication hall houses 10 welding stations where the tubular steel spaceframe chassis takes shape.
In order to bring consistency and high quality, 80% of the chassis welding is taken care of by a total of 13 robots. Manual inspection and correction, if any, is done before the chassis leaves for the adjacent facility to be painted.
In a shift, the fabrication shop can prepare 67 units of Multix chassis.
Since the steel chassis needs to be stored and transported to paint shop without exposing it to dirt or moisture, Eicher Polaris plant employs a heavy duty conveyor system which lifts the chassis to roof height and transfers it to the paint shop via a fully enclosed pathway.
The chassis stays on board the conveyor system throughout the painting process and remains hands free. The frames are first subjected to pre-treatment to get rid of impurities and then are dipped in CED (Cathod Electrolyte Deposition) paint bath which deposits primer. A prolonged baking process in a massively sized oven follows.
The primer coated units are then transferred to powder coating shop where the process is done by programmed paint sprayers. Intrinsic parts are powder coated manually. The company uses lead free powder paint to prevent possibilities of health issues to the employees. The dry powder which settles on the floor is retrieved, recycled and reused.
The next stage of paint shop involves liquid painting process of body panels that are just arrived from suppliers. Again, movement of panels through different stations are fully automated to avoid any hand contact. After pre-treatment, the elements get their primer sprayed (unlike the chassis which is dipped in CED primer). Finally, liquid paint is sprayed manually in an enclosed chamber.
Though the painters are clad with fully covered suits and masks, they have relatively shorter shifts due to health reasons. The company says that liquid painting shop is design protected to be fully automated in the future.
The painted body panels and chassis are then shipped to the adjacent assembly line, again by means of enclosed conveyor to prevent exposure to outside environment. The 80 metre long assembly line has 20 stations.
Assemblers use pneumatic, battery and electrical tools for the process. The assembly hall also consists of a 11-station transmission line which is sealed to prevent dirt from entering the gearbox. Every component received from the supplier is thoroughly cleaned before being sent to gearbox assembly line.
Once the fully assembled Multix leaves the last station, it’s subjected to wheel alignment and dyno testing followed by a shakedown test at the test track. Examples with no defects then get the PDI (Pre-Dispatch Inspection) OK sticker and the ‘X’ logo on the front fascia.
Eicher Polaris Multix is now ready to be shipped.
Eicher Polaris Plant – Interesting facts
- It’s a zero discharge facility, i.e. not even a drop of waste water from the factory leaves the premises. It’s recycled and hazardous waste matter from the plant is treated and disposed of appropriately.
- The entire plant is illuminated properly by natural day light and hence there is no need of lights during the day shift.
- All the robots used in the plant are imported from Germany.
- Paint shop is kept under positive pressure to prevent dirt from entering the area.