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Hero Motocorp has created a sprawling new research and development facility on the outskirts on Jaipur and are calling it their Centre of Innovation and Technology. The facility is ocated on nearly 250 acres and even boasts of a test track to help with their product development. Hero designed this facility to bring all their R&D facilities under one consolidated roof, and is a huge leap forward from the 3 acre R&D facility in Dharuhera.
The facility was built with an investment of 850 crore and features all the technology and equipment needed to develop a new vehicle from the ground up. The process of manufacturing a new vehicle generally begins with doing consumer surveys. Once the customer feedback is received and collated, the new product can be conceptualised and put on to a drawing board. The facility has dedicated studios for designing new products including technology to create 1:1 clay models of the design. The next step in the process is to take an artist’s design and make it into a working design, such that it can withstand real world conditions. Simulation softwares allow engineers to see how the parts would fare in real world. Once the parts are designed for real world use, working prototypes need to be created. The facility has the provision to fabricate both metal and plastic parts, which allows them to build everything that would essentially go into a motorcycle — right from the frame, the engine components, gearboxes, panels, wheels and fairings.
An essential part of the development process is testing. Individual parts and the assembled prototypes have to be put through stress tests and vibration tests to see how durable they would be once they hit the roads. The Hero CIT facility has all the technology to conduct performance, durability and NVH tests. The facility also has an Electromagnetic Compatibility Lab, something not many facilities around the world can boast of, to test how the bike reacts to electromagnetic surges around it and what sort of electromagnetic field it creates itself. This is crucial to make sure electronics won’t fail in the real world and is also required while vehicles are being homologated.
Of the 247 acres, 100 acres are dedicated to their new test tracks. The tracks cover around 16km with 45 different surfaces so bikes can be tested thoroughly. Right from high speed tracks, cornering tracks to bumpy roads and rain tracks.
The CIT also tries to do its part for the environment. Around 3 acres of rooftop area is utilised for growing vegetables. There are 22 ponds scattered across the property to harvest rainwater. A cooling system that utilises the water in these ponds has been developed to reduce the air-conditioning load.
The CIT currently has around 500 engineers working together, and this number would increase to 600 by the end of the next year. New products take about three to four years to develop from scratch and it will take at least so long to see a product completely developed at this new facility. However, many existing R&D projects have been transferred from the old facility to the new one and will continue to be developed here now.