The loss making public sector entity, Kerala Automobiles Limited has taken a slew of initiatives to revive its fortunes. As part of that endeavour, the Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala based enterprise is contemplating on foraying into the uncharterred terrains, from a mere three-wheeler (auto rickshaw) manufacturer. The company has embarked on a new project to produce electric vehicles (battery operated vehicles) besides etablishing a Skill Development Research Centre. What is more, KAL has also won the contract from Indian Space Research Organisation for the supply of aerospace components worth Rs 1.5 crore. KAL will make these parts and supply to the various centres of ISRO.
Battery operated vehicles
KAL will maker battery operated vehicles such as 4,6,8 and 14-seaters. These vehicles will be put into use at archeological, cultural and heritage destinations. The company is targeting tour operators to sell these vehicles, according to E Abdul Latheef, Managing Director of KAL.
The official further said that the project was in the finishing stages. ‘We are contemplating on forging alliance with a Chennai-based private firm’, Latheef said and added that by 2015, a state of the art Skill Development Research Centre will come in place for training the youth in the automobile engineering. ‘We admit students with a basic diploma or degree and they will be adequately trained in automobile engineering”.
KAL has five active directors: Kochucherukan Babu, Abdul Latheef Ebrahimkutty, Mohamed Puthen Veedan, Parackal Cellakutty Kassim and Jinadev Mukkonparampil Krishnan.
Established in 1978 as a Government of Kerala undertaking, the plant is located 16 kilometers south of Thiruvananthapuram in a tiny village called Aralumoodu, in Neyyattinkara taluk. KAL manufactures three-wheelers (diesel, petrol and CNG) suitable for passengers and goods traffic in the brand name of KERALA and are considered as most Eco-friendly vehicles.
The present product range comprises of autorickshaw (three and six-seaters), pickup, delivery van, three-wheeler tipper of diesel version and Pollution free CNG fitted Auto and Load carriers. The work force in the technical and Management cadres are working hand in hand for the progress of the KAL. The ancillary units developed by the Company around the factory complex provide livelihood for hundreds of families. Since the start of production in 1984, KAL has manufactured and marketed more than 85,000 three-wheelers. KAL has distinguished itself as a force to reckon with in the Indian automotive horizon. The company has also exported a number of three-wheelers to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Sudan, Botswana, Nigeria, South Africa and Guatemala (Central America). the Company could turn the corner for the first time in 1993-94 and continued to keep the same trend at a higher level. The acceptability of KAL three-wheelers in the third world countries speaks for its utility and quality. KAL is also manufacturing sophisticated components to be used in space programmes of VSSC/ISRO.
KAL is getting all kind of support from the Government of Kerala, without which it would not have been possible to achieve the present level of promising state of affairs. KAL is awarded with ISO 9001:2000 Certification envisaging total quality management (TQM).
KAL’s state-of-the-art plant is equipped with the most modern CNC machines to ensure dimensional accuracy of each component. The facility has state of the art testing facilities to maintain vigorous quality control at every stage. The corroboration of the high quality standards achieved by KAL stemps from the fact that the firm it supplies critical components to the Indian Space Research Organisation, for the country’s ambitious space programme.
At every stage of manufacturing, maintaining highest quality is the hallmark of KAL. This has been made possible using equipment such as Universal Testing Machines, Dynamometers, Exhaust Analyser, Digital Height Master, Ultrasonic Crack Detector, Eddy Current Tester etc. Quality assurance achieved through satisfied quality control methods has eventually helped the firm to achieve ISO 9001:2000 Certification.
KAL’s Product Engineering Department has the computerised design systems and testing equipment, which maintains global standards. The seasoned engineers have transformed the basic Italian reference to the latest evaluation of the design leading to fuel efficient Eco-friendly KAL three-wheelers ensuring stimulating quality system. The work of various new models are in progress of which, models likely to be launched immediately are four-stroke petrol, jumbo, the multi-purpose three-wheeler vehicles with a higher load carrying capacity.