Madras Engineering Industries Private Limited (MEI) has commissioned a third plant at the special economic zone of Mahindra World City, located in the outskirts of Chennai, to cater to growing export markets for its range of automatic slack adjusters. Slack adjuster, an integral part of brake actuation system for commercial vehicles, transmits the force from the brake chamber to the camshaft in air brake systems of heavy-duty vehicles like buses, trucks and trailers. MEI founded in 1966 with the Ambattur plant had been a regular supplier to Sundaram- Clayton which fitted slack adjusters in their brake systems before delivering them to OEMs. But since last year, MEI has been directly supplying their products to Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland, besides exporting over 500 varieties of slack adjusters to global OEMs like Volvo, Scania, auto-components makers Arvin Meritor in Europe and US, Knorr Bremse in Brazil and Europe, SAF of Germany, Kamaz of Russia and Dong Fong, China.
The existing two plants at Ambattur and Maraimalai Nagar will be expanded in the next three years for an overall capacity of six million units of slack adjusters per annum to meet the requirements of domestic OEMs (original equipment makers) and global auto manufacturers. At present, the Ambattur unit produces 10 lakh pieces of manual slack adjusters to supply mostly to Indian commercial vehicles and trucks and the Maraimalai Nagar unit has a capacity for 3,50,000 pieces of automatic slack adjusters per year to cater mostly to exports. By October 2006, Indian commercial vehicles have to use automatic slack adjusters as per a legislation creating a demand for 1,20,000 pieces per month by then as against 40,000 pieces as of now. With 15-16 per cent growth of CVs, we are targeting a 50-60 per cent share in the slack adjusters market, said E K Parthasarathy, managing director, MEI. The companys wide range of automatic slack adjusters with internationally approved design has been type certified by TUV, Germany, and Link Laboratories. US, for quality systems and procedures, he said. The third plant at Mahindra City with an investment of Rs 20 crores will have a capacity to produce 30,000 pieces per month by March 2006, which will be gradually expanded in the next-three years to service the global OEMs and auto-ancillaries.