In just 18 months the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai has rolled out the country’s fastest train. The engine-less ‘Train 18’ has even crossed the speed of 180
After rolling out India’s first train set prototype, what are the ICF’s future plans? What makes Train 18 different?
There has been a lot of media attention on Train 18 since we first shared the concept. After its unveiling and subsequent 180
Train 18 is hailed as a Make in India product, with 80 percent of equipment designed and manufactured by Indian firms. What kind of components were imported for Train 18?
About 20 percent of the cost went towards imported equipment such as braking systems, seating, plug doors and a few other components that were not available in the Indian market. ICF is now taking all steps to develop in-country resources for such items and with successive rakes the indigenous component will continue to increase.
When can we expect a fully made-in-India Train 18?
It is already a very good example of Make in India as it is conceptualised, designed, engineered and built in India. We should be 100 percent indigenous in about 30 months. We were the first to make fully indigenous LHB coaches.
Can you elaborate on the challenges faced by the ICF in manufacturing Train 18?
It’s actually just 18 months as we received the
Does Train 18 require a special signalling and track system to run above 180
Obviously, for a train to run at a speed higher than 160
Is ICF facing issues like dearth of skilled staff and lack of enthusiasm amongst the employees?
It is not true that ICF lacks skilled employees; at least I have not seen anything like this. On the contrary, I have always maintained that the staff had good capability and competence and added to that a sort of chutzpah to do something new. My job was to provide the leadership and
From being a coach factory which earlier relied on foreign technology to becoming a manufacturing unit which is self-reliant and indigenous, what sort of changes have you seen in the working of ICF in recent years?
ICF has come a long way since its inception in 1955. It has manufactured more than 58,000 coaches of a staggering 700 variants, a world record of rare distinction of having manufactured the highest number of carriages under one roof in the world. ICF keeps innovating and improving the quality, aesthetics and comfort level of public travelling in the coaches. More importantly, ICF is adopting a green approach so that coaches manufactured are environment-friendly. In fact, all our coaches are manufactured with green energy unlike other factories, as we are a unique carbon negative organisation.
Where do you see ICF Chennai in two years
Train 18 is a game-changer in many ways and we would be manufacturing a large number of Train 18 and its clones. Other products that we would deliver by the end of two years should be standard gauge metro coaches and should be well on way to receiving the first aluminium-bodied train set and preparing its indigenous manufacture. Summing up, ICF should become a great train factory making 3,600 to 4,000 coaches by then with an improved quality and many variants. This year we are well on our way to make a 33 percent jump in production from an already world record level of 2,503 coaches in 2017-18.
What measures have you taken to improve quality in terms of aesthetics and longevity of products?
We go to the best sources for quality products for manufacturing of coaches. We periodically check the quality of products and weed out poor suppliers. The staff of vendors is also trained at the ICF. As an instance, the welders are qualified and certified by the Advanced Welding Training Centre of ICF. Fortunately, most of the inputs are available domestically and through Make in India efforts, we also consult global leaders to get the best parts for the coaches. The skill set of the employees is also upgraded duly keeping abreast of the latest technologies, which help in not only improving quality but also reducing costs.
Will ICF turn its focus on manufacturing fast speed coaches or will it restrict itself to producing only LHB carriages?
ICF has to cater to all class of
(The interview appears in Metro Rail News January 2019 edition)
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