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“As far as global standing of India in the aerospace sector manufacturing is concerned, it is not even 2% and a lot needs to be done in every area”- S M Vaidya

Aerospace Manufacturing “Encouraging production of aerospace grade raw material in India”

Mar 16, 2017

…says S M Vaidya, Executive Vice President & Business Head, Godrej Aerospace, Godrej & Boyce Mfg Co Ltd, in an interaction with Megha Roy. While discussing the challenges faced across the aerospace sector today, he touches upon the initiatives taken by the company to meet the global standards. Excerpts…

Over the last decade, there has been a remarkable growth in the civil and defence aerospace fields, and today, the aerospace sector has become a major potential area for manufacturing activities in India. How do you look at the progress in this area, considering the ‘Make in India’ initiative?

The government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, as far as the aerospace and defence sectors are concerned, has certainly gathered momentum with the defence offsets, and Indian companies having proved themselves as trusted partners in civil aviation for quality and delivery.

Some of the challenges constraining the growth of Indian aerospace industry include lack of raw materials being manufactured in India, which meet global aerospace standards, non-availability of requisite machines and tooling, as well as absence of certification bodies, agencies for aerospace of international standards, etc. Therefore, currently the projects available to Indian manufacturers are low on technology and most of them are for structural assemblies and parts. This is a good start and larger volumes will be essential for getting the return on investment.

Many initiatives have also been announced to encourage the production of aerospace grade raw material in India, simplifying the procedure for their approval and encouraging the machine tool industry to produce the state-of-the-art machines. However, the concern continues for the availability of standards, specifications and inspection authorities.

Godrej has invested substantially in developing its aerospace expertise and has also been working with ISRO, DRDO, BrahMos, etc. Can you brief us on the current activities of Godrej Aerospace in the areas of building engines, providing maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services, and supplying replaceable components known as line-replaceable units (LRUs)?

Today, Godrej Aerospace has three separate manufacturing facilities, for defence, domestic space programme and civil aviation - with rubber & composites processing being the latest addition to our current capabilities. All these three units are almost independent of each other and have fullyintegrated manufacturing facilities to serve respective areas. In Civil aviation, our focus is on aircraft engine, smaller structural assemblies and Line Replaceable Unit (LRU) like valve, regulators, actuators & pumps. Substantial progress has been made with global primes and we have just made a beginning of our contribution in the area of rubber and composite. Some LRU parts will have future opportunities for repair and overhaul.

These days, there are many newer materials/alloys used across industrial verticals, particularly aerospace for lightweight applications. Can you highlight such materials or applications developed on this front by Godrej Aerospace?

Our company is involved in developing newer light weight alloys, both metallic as well as non metallic. We have launched a number of projects to understand these alloys for manufacturing technology in machining, metal joining, metal forming, heat treatment and specialised chemical process.

What measures and regulative norms have been undertaken by your company to meet the global quality & technology standards? Can you brief us on some of them?

As far as the global quality requirements are concerned, Godrej Aerospace has already obtained all the necessary certifications from authorities for AS9100, Nadcap and many customer specific approvals on most of the programs. We have achieved merit status on our special processing demonstrating maturity with these standards. Signing long-term contracts and winning repeat orders from global primes is a proof of customers’ trust in the capabilities of Godrej Aerospace.

On the technology front, Godrej Aerospace has developed more than two dozen technologies in manufacturing for unique applications. Today, we are focussing on developing technology for forming of high temperature alloys like inconel, titanium and specialised steel.

What is the current size of the aircraft maintenance market in India? How is the potential in the coming years?

The current size of the aircraft maintenance is about US $ 500+ million and is likely to double in the next few years.

Can you brief us on the technology/solutions from Godrej Aerospace for the Mangalyaan Mission? What are the future project plans?

Godrej Aerospace participated in all three systems of Mangalyaan mission – liquid engine for launch vehicle, thruster and mould for antenna reflector on the Mangalyaan itself and ground-based communication system for two-way communication from ground to Mangalyaan and back.

Lastly, according to you, where do you see India standing today amidst the global market in the aerospace sector?

As far as global standing of India in the aerospace sector manufacturing is concerned, it is not even 2% and a lot needs to be done in every area, right from conceptualisation, design, project management, setting up qualification facilities, prototyping, manufacturing every detailed part to sub systems and final product. Subsequently, the focus shall be on its upgrades, modification to suit future requirement, project management capabilities, risk mitigation plan, overcoming bureaucratic decision-making process, financial liberty and autonomy to R&D labs. In addition, another important area is the public-private partnership & the competition from private industries to PSUs. ☐

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