Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Stone India ties up with Sumitomo Electric - air springs for Railways

Lately there has been a lot of action in tie ups and JVs. This is a good trend since Indo Japan trade has mostly been uni-dimensional with IT as a core focus! Finally some of the technology used in Bullet trains will make its way into India and hopefully passenger comfort will be increased. This is a reproduced article from "The Hindu" Business edition. Editor
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KOLKATA: G P Goenka group company Stone India has entered into a technical collaboration agreement with the Japan based Sumitomo Electric Industries (Hybrid Products Division) for manufacturing air springs for the Indian Railways.

Air springs would be used for passenger as well as EMU and DMU coaches as part of the Railways’ technology upgradation plan, Stone India press release said. Air springs will support the pneumatic suspension system that will replace the existing mechanical suspension system. This will result in increased passenger comfort for trains running at higher speed. It may be mentioned that Sumitomo Electrical Industries is the leading supplier of this product to the Japanese Bullet Trains.

Referring to the recent tie-up, a senior company official told The Hindu that while Sumitomo was keen on a joint venture, Stone India wanted a technical tie-up only. The market for this product was seen to be huge since the Railways planned to fit all its new trains, especially the high speed ones, with this system. While this would open up a Rs. 175-crore market for air springs for new coaches, in case retrofitting on old coaches begin, then the market could double, the official said. Stone India, which closed the first half of the current fiscal with a turnover of Rs. 45 crore (with a net profit of about Rs. 7 crore), hopes to end the year with a turnover of Rs. 82 crore.

The company, which has three business groups — carriage, locomotive and train power —is implementing a greenfield project at Nalagarh in Himachal Pradesh which will make electronics item for the Railways. This unit is expected to roll out by next year, the official said.

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