Almost all of us get awed by the looks of a car, the way it silently cruises on the road and also enjoy the feeling which the perfect stick gear shift affords, little do most of us know that most of the parts that operate silently in a car or the feeling that they provide to the driver and passengers comes through via proper lubrication of parts that operate silently while in contact with each other.
We spoke with Mr. Frank Werner, Head of Automotive Business Unit for Klüber Lubrication. Kluber has been manufacturing speciality lubricants for the automotive industry for about 80 years and has roughly 12% share of worldwide markets of speciality automotive lubricants and is a part of Freudenberg Group. Solving the mystery for me, Frank explained that speciality lubricants are different from ordinary lubricants in a sense that while engine oil requires changing from time to time, most of speciality lubricants do not, and last a lifetime.
Klüber has global presence and has operations in European and American subcontinent countries like Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Mexico, USA, Brazil etc. While in Asia, the company has facilities in China, India, Japan and Korea. The Mysore plant in India has an R&D facility that also develops products using raw materials that are available locally and meets the needs of local customers and meet specific requirements.
The company has specialised product portfolio of over 200 special products which are designed in-house while maintaining a very close ear to the customer and listening to their needs. Most of the products are developed keeping in mind the requirements of OEMs, Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers. According to Frank, the strategy of the company is regionalisation with focus on local needs of OEMs and suppliers. Freudenberg Group has a turnover of about 7.04 billion Euros of which Rs 400 crore share is from Freudenberg Chemical Speciality (FCS).
Some of the OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers that use Klüber products include Minda, Motherson, Maruti Suzuki and Volkswagen. When asked about the strategy for future, Frank said, Klüber has growth plans and we approach the industry at all levels (OEM, Teir1, Tier 2 etc.) simultaneously and try to indentify situations where certain developments are happening and see if Klüber product can provide a solution that fits the need or identify situations for changing lifetime needs that the customers might have and develop products that can meet them more closely.
In case of automotive speciality lubricants, noise dampening and top-quality haptics are the key qualities for car interiors. Klüber Lubrication launched water-based bonded coatings Klüberflex 100-0 N and Klübertop TP 22, 27, 31-1310 A-B (series) at the AutoExpo 2016 and displayed effect of speciality lubricants through various working models at the stall.