This is a small jot down of an edifying experience that I received @TML,Pune.
I have classified the whole experience in "Events" & "My Reaction".
The Events are moments that exactly happened while "My Reaction" depicts my personal opinion which indeed is subjective and not global.
There was a lot to be written. I tried to keep it short and avoided few technical details which are not supposed to be revealed. Sorry for that.
Hope you all like it. Event
:Few weeks ago, we got a mail which asked our voluntary particpation in a quiz contest.
Yeah, I did it for fun but days after that I got a pleasant surprise. It was another mail stating that I am one of the winners of the contest and as an accolade
I would be awarded with a fully sponsored trip to TML Pune. My Reaction
: I was like am I born to to experience this?? Event
:Cutting short, we reached the plant on a saturday. thanks a ton to the organizing team to make such comfortable and convenient arrangements - be it food, accomodation, airport transfers - every minute thing was taken care of.
After a warm welcome at the entry gate , we were proceeded as per the itenary. We were taken in open guest vehicles so that we can have a 360 degree view of the plant.
it was green, clean and damn organized. Wide roads, fountains, ponds, gardens. My Reaction
: They are fooling us. This is not a manufacturing plant. Its a Resort!!! Event
: @Design Studio
: This estabilishment was protected like the Pandora was protected by aliens in Avatar
.Fair enough, coz leaked designs means you lose the match in very first over.
It was huge and technologically well equipped. The whole focus of the trip was indeed how Zest was evolved, so we were explained the same. We interacted with their team which comprised of team members aged 23 years to the Head of Design aged 50 +.
Sketches, Clay models, 3d modelling, Softwares, Interior Components,Fabrics, Infotainment systems - Designs of all were shown and the philosophy behind it was also explained to us. My Reaction
: I under-estimated these guys man. And India does have TALENTED designers !!! Event
: @NVH Lab
: Technically, it is known as Anechoic Chamber where you test the noise,vibration and harshness of the vehicle. Never seen this kinda thing before.
The engineers explained how Zest was taken care for customer satisfactory NVH levels. And now its a reality. From reviews and personal experience, I indeed found it super true.
The walls of the lab was made of special materials to absorb the sound and then they had instruments/software to measure the movements and sound decibels of the engine. My Reaction
: Now this is called ENGINEERING. How much does this costs? I want to have one in my house for watching cricket matches without hearing my wife's noise? Event
: @Environment Chamber
: This had a summer and a winter chamber. Zest is tested for smooth functioning, Temperature range: -40 to +55 degrees Celsius. Wow!.
They showed us what all parameters are monitored when the car is subjected to a temperature stress. My Reaction
: I can take my Zest to Thar or to Siachen. my body may malfucntion but my car will NOT!. Event
: @Crash Lab
: As the name suggests, the vehicles are crash tested here. This is the most advanced crash test facility in the country built indigeneously.
We were not shown a live demo but the recorded videos. Crash test is an expensive affair. Rough estimate would be 2-2.5 crores per crash test!!!!!!!!!!
From what I saw, you can safely assume that Zest is a very safe car if not the safest. But we must admire this testing. A total of 25 + crash tests were conducted for Zest. My Reaction
: I never thought of safety this way. It is the most Important Factor. Now I want to put airbags on my bike too. Event
: @Assembly Line
: I was waiting for this. A thoughtful harmony of machines and humans makes these cars. They particulary showcased the assembly of Zest. With all components ready, the robots assembles the car in 50-60 seconds !!!
The measurement process, the painting shop, the welding shop, the fitment line, etc. - Everything was witnessed. Do you remember, ages ago, Merc in India was called Tata Benz. Because Merc cars had partnership with Tata and their cars were painted in this shop!.
You will be impressed how the whole car is made. And for Zest they have a different process and machines.
Even to measure the panel gaps and the tolerances , computerized instruments were used especially for Zest.
This car indeed showcases the hard work put by the TATA guys.
There was small stage set where all color variants of Zest were put up. The Sky grey looked smashing! My Reaction
: I am not gonna degrade any car from now. So much is done to bring it in real. And we simply overlook it. We have the freedom of speech & expression which is mandatory of course.
But guys do it with a bit of humility please. Event
: @Test Track
: Before coming to plant, I had already taken a test ride of Zest. So I was not expecting much for me in this section of the tour.
But this became the USP of the tour for me.
After a small presentation, we were taken to the test track where few Zests were parked. They all were petrol XT and all in blue.
And with sun rays reflecting from them, they looked glamorously gorgeous!
There was a curvilinear path for testing with a circle in the end to make our way back. We all were given a chance to test drive the vehicle.
We were 2-3 people in each car, excluding the Tata Motors Expert Driver/Tester who always sat along with the driver. After we all took a test drive, he gave us a demo of what the car is capable of - in terms of handiling, braking and drivability.
And guys, this was demo was UNFORGETABLE.
I was on just besides the driver seat. He took a quick pick up and raced the car. We were in 140s kmph in no time. He took a turn around that circle at around 100+ kmph.
And mind you it was not that big of a turn. the circle radius was just 30 meters.We witness ABS
coming into action.
there was bit of a body roll and a very slight bit of under steer which the expert himself admitted. What honesty!
He told us what the car is equipped with and it lacks on what all front.
We reached 120 + again. And then he just put on the brakes harshly. For those couple of seconds I though I am gone!!!
but there I was safe in the cocoon called Zest. It had an amazing control. Note that to control such incidents you do require skills but a major chunk is left to the machine you are driving.
And Zest simply handles this effectively. I was immensely impressed. In fact, to the levels that I started adoring the car.
And then we repeated the braking incident again. Man !!!! What the heck !! That was amazing. Kudos to Tata Engineers.
This was far better than a roller coaster ride. So enthralling and so educative it was. Woohooooo !!!! My Reaction
: I am now eligible for auditions of Fast and Furious 7 !!! If not for the drivers role at least the co-pilot ? Note
: There would be lot of things/processes/accuracies/tests implemented in the cars of other companies as well. I have never visited their plants. But am sure they would be having these kinda stuff in their creations as well.
but the point is TATA cars,especially the Zest has it too. And that is what is important to know.
I am so grateful to the organizers of this event. It was chanceless.
The other good part of the trip was , our whole group was talking about cars and automobiles throughout.
For a change, it was so interesting and involving. I loved every bit of it. Event
: After a good 8 hours at the plant we were taken to a lake house. Yeah this was really a Resort/Club.
Had a small snack-party and then we participated in a small conference. It had the whole group important people including the Design Head,Customer Experience head,Directors and other big shots.
They answered all kinda questions from silly to serious and cynical to critical.
I thoroughly relished the experience. My Reaction
: TATA - am expecting a lot from you in forthcoming years. Hope your improvement graph continues towards the Rising Sun.
Couple of hours later, I was back in my world- banging my head on debugging, coredumps, status reports, blah blah.