Kai Mentel is Managing Director of the HÜBNER Group since 2022. He has been with HÜBNER since the beginning of his apprenticeship as an industrial clerk in 2005. In his first years of his career as a project manager in sales, he also completed his studies in business administration simultaneously. He was responsible for the introduction of a key account management structure at HÜBNER. His subsequent positions included the global management of sales activities in the business division Mobility Rail. From 2018, he and his team at HÜBNER established the After Sales & Service unit, which he has headed since its creation.
In 2021, he became head of the business division Mobility Rail, which is the HÜBNER Group’s highest-revenue business division.
In a recent interaction with Metro Rail Today, Kai Mentel shared his views on HUBNER's contribution in Rail & Metro sectors and efforts in expanding their footprints in India.
After various stations at HÜBNER, I became head of the business division Mobility Rail in 2021, which is highest-revenue business division within the HUBNER Group. Together with my colleagues Uwe Bittroff, Ingolf Cedra and Claus Schäfer, I have been Managing Director of the HÜBNER Group since autumn 2022.
For HÜBNER, India is a location with great manufacturing potential for the mobility markets in India itself as well as in the Asia-Pacific region as a whole. The new “Namma Factory” makes it possible for HÜBNER to operate more effictively, more flexibly and with shorter delivery routes in India’s growing market. With local production at the new location, we are not only meeting localization requirements and reliably serving the needs of our customers, we are also strengthening the entire global production network of the HÜBNER Group.
In “Namma Factory”, HÜBNER will primarily produce gangway systems for rail vehicles. With its products, HÜBNER is represented in renowned projects throughout the subcontinent. Ongoing major projects include the metros in the Indian capital Delhi and in the financial metropolis of Mumbai, as well as the metro in the Australian city of Sydney.
In addition, a total of 540 gangway systems will be delivered to Indian Railways for the Vande Bharat Express (Train 18) by autumn 2023. Alstom has also ordered a total of around 400 gangway systems from HUBNER India for the new RRTS regional express train and the metro projects Pune, Kanpur & Agra and Bhopal & Indore.
Another HUBNER India customer is the local manufacturer BEML, which will purchase a total of 800 gangway systems for metro lines 2 and 7 in Mumbai by 2025. For the metro in Bengaluru (Bangalore), whose trains are being built by the world’s largest manufacturer CRRC, HÜBNER is producing 135 gangway systems, plus 70 gangway halves. With other words: We are working with all local and global OEMs as well as the operators.
In line with our strategy, we are focusing on proximity to our customers in India. We want to manufacture in India for India. And, as the HÜBNER Group, we aim to strengthen local know-how and to expand local engineering expertise.
To fulfil the increasing local content requirements and the needs of the local customers best, we ware building up local engineering expertise in India. While the number of employees was approximately 50 in mid-2021, it rose to around 125 by the end of 2022. The plan is to gradually increase the number of employees to a total of around 175. At HÜBNER, we are proud to be the worldwide leader in gangway systems for rail vehicles and buses, as well as a supplier of solutions for chassis technology, cockpit display solutions, and door sealing and safety profiles. In 2022 we supplied more than 20,000 gangway systems for rail vehicles.
We want to manufacture in India for India. With local production at the new location, we are not only meeting localization requirements and reliably serving the needs of our customers, we are also strengthening the entire global production network of the HÜBNER Group. For HÜBNER, India is a location with great manufacturing potential for the mobility markets in India itself as well as in the Asia-Pacific region as a whole.
As HUBNER Group, we aim to strengthen local know-how and to expand local engineering expertise. It is part of our business philosophy to use the existing know-how within our local and global functions to support all our sites globally. With this approach we ensure that we serve and support our customers with the expected HÜBNER quality standard.
HÜBNER’s Indian subsidiary HUBNER Interface Systems India Pvt. Ltd. (HIN) moved from its previous location in Dabaspete and commenced operations at the new plant in Malonagathihalli, Nelamangala Taluk near Bengaluru (Bangalore). With a plant that has been precisely tailored to our needs, we can now run production more independently of supplies from other HÜBNER Group sites and flexibly adjust capacities for our local customers as required.