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NSR containers built in Divinycell save weight and total cost of ownership

News International-French

22 Aug 2014

The company is ready to revolutionize the concept of lightweight and high-strength containers, using composite material instead of metal for the construction.

N.S. Rama Rao Body Works (NSR) in Chennai, India, is one of the country’s leading manufacturers of road tankers for various applications such as petroleum, chemical and water. NSR also produces special purpose vehicles and containers for transportation of goods. Over the years, NSR has gained a reputation of bringing new ideas and solutions to benefit their customers. Now, with help from DIAB and CCG, NSR is ready to revolutionize the concept of lightweight and high-strength containers, using composite material instead of metal for the construction.

Trucking business under pressure
India has the second largest road network in the world (3.83 million km) and roads are the dominant mode of transportation in India today. They carry almost 90 percent of the country's passenger traffic and 65 percent of its freight. India Truck Industry has played a major role in the Indian trade and commerce for decades. Currently, there are more than 1,300 trucks per million people.

Trucks can accept goods in smaller quantities, reaching rural and hill areas. They also require less time than the rail for loading and unloading of goods. However, the trucking business is highly affected by rising fuel prices and lorry operators do their best to lower their operating costs. One way is to invest in low weight trucks and containers and products offering Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) benefits. Switching to composites

N.S. Rama Rao Body Works (NSR) in Chennai is one of India's leading manufacturers of commercial vehicles. Established in 1963 and with over 350 highly qualified employees, the company has built over 58 types of vehicles ranging from fuel and milk tankers to tippers and special purpose vehicles.

NSR also has long experience from building truck containers. Traditionally, these are built with aluminum and stainless steel to avoid corrosion and assure longer life. However, to reduce the weight of the container and thus the vehicle's fuel consumption, NSR was very keen on converting from metal to sandwich composite containers.

Lower weight, lower TCO
Being new to composite use, NSR asked DIAB's Composites Consulting Group (CCG) to provide onsite support and training to develop the product, from mould manufacturing to container production. Two types of containers are currently being made: one for dry goods and one for refrigerated products. The containers are manufactured separately and then fitted onto the chassis, unlike metal containers that are built directly on the chassis.

NSR uses Divinycell as core material for the new containers and as a result of this, they are able to lower the weight of their 5.5 m container by more than 50 percent, from 2 tons to 990 kg. This, of course, largely increases both vehicle mileage and payload. NSR Refrigerated Composite Containers also provide better insulation properties, which reduces unit running time and consequently energy costs.