NEI talks about developing EV bearings, expansion, make-in-India

The company is also the first to get into the aerospace bearings.

One of the country’s leading automobile, railways, and industrial bearing manufacturers, National Engineering Industries Ltd, spoke with Express Drives on their future plans. This includes details about the electric vehicle bearings that they have started making, The company is also an exporter for components and in fact earns 20 per cent of its earnings from the overseas markets. The company clocked Rs. 2511 crore turnover in FY19. This company is a part of the CK Birla Group and has been in existence since 1946. Rohit Saboo, the president and CEO of NEI had this to say about the aforementioned topics.

Express Drives: The future and recent growth trajectory of electric vehicles and NEI’s contribution towards supporting this sector

Rohit Saboo: According to recent reports, the global electric vehicle market is expected to increase at a CAGR of 26.8% from 4,093 thousand units in 2021 to 34,756 thousand units by 2030. Increased government investments in the development of electric vehicle charging stations and hydrogen fueling stations, as well as buyer incentives, will provide chances for OEMs to increase their revenue stream and regional footprint.

To cope up, the market in the Asia Pacific is expected to develop steadily due to increasing demand for low-cost, low-emission vehicles, whereas the market in North America and Europe are expected to rise rapidly due to government initiatives and the increasing high-performance passenger car segment.

NBC Bearings calculated the moves and have initiated the process of design, testing and validation of its indigenously developed bearings for electric vehicles (EVs). We launched these bearings for electrical motor in the last financial year. We also started development of high-speed sensor bearings. At this stage, base application is ready, more such parameters are accordingly added as per customer requirements and accordingly testing is done. We have received initial approval and this product commercialised later in this year.

We were also the first in India to showcase our advanced product range at the Auto Expo components 2020 comprising BS-VI ready bearings, bearings for EVs and smart bearings.


Need for localisation of the auto components industry

We foresee the government extending their support in investment in the domestic industry. A few years ago, nobody knew a virus could turn the world upside down and completely amend the routes of action. The situation is evolving rapidly with MSMEs having undergone a severe cash crunch. With supply chains disrupted, localisation is the best way forward for us.
Localisation fully in the automotive sector can satiate the vision of ‘Make in India’ as well as ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’. The Indian automotive industry has been able to gain momentum since early January 2021 and it is predicted that this alone may expect to reach USD 200 billion revenue mark by 2026. The auto component and ancillary suppliers are expected to play a key role to achieve the targets. However, India’s auto component manufacturing sector is yet to realise its true potential and capabilities.

Since, most of the players are going to cut their import dependency, there would be a lot of effort required towards incorporating adequate technology processes and sustainable strategies to meet the supplies and production costs. Alongside, localisation serves a great opportunity to generate macro benefits and labour employment. Nevertheless, there would be a dire need for a cohesive support by the government needed on the road map of self-reliance for auto components industry.


How many factories does the company have and are they also exporting? Any plans of setting up new ones?

NEI is the flagship company of the $2.4 billion CK Birla Group and is headquartered in Jaipur, Rajasthan. We have worldwide production and process technologies in our five manufacturing sites in Jaipur, Newai, Manesar, and Vadodara, as well as one of the best R&D centres in the country. Over the years, NEI has become a global bearing manufacturer and exporter out of India, with 20% of our revenue coming from exports.
Sustainability is a focus area for us. Our 75-year-old Jaipur plant was recently awarded the coveted IGBC Green Factory Building Platinum Certification. Earlier in 2016, our Gujarat plant had also received Platinum Certification by IGBC.

In the year 2020, we had acquired Kinex Bearings through NEI’s wholly-owned European subsidiary. This was aligned to our strategy to augment our product portfolio, expand our geographical footprint and serve our existing customers both in national and international markets.

This year, we had also collaborated with Amsted Seals to start a greenfield project, NBC-Brenco in Jaipur to manufacture railway bearing seals in India. This aims to host best-in-class manufacturing techniques and equipment. NBC-Brenco plans to add automotive seals and products with metal fabrication in the future.

We will further expand our manufacturing footprint in Bagru, near Jaipur where we will set up new lines for manufacturing bearings over the next four years.

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