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Automotive Product Finder Magazine | BS VI presents big opportunities for sintered components
BS VI presents big opportunities for sintered components
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BS-VI requires stringent controls on tailpipe emissions for carbon dioxide (CO2), CO, HC, and NOx. For this, sensors are added before and after catalytic converters. The powder metallurgy (PM) sintering process is perfectly suited for mass production of these components due to its productivity advantages at all stages over the forging process, says Jignesh Raval, Managing Director, Sintercom India Ltd, which presently holds a market share of around 6 per cent of the Indian sintered market. In this exclusive interview with Rakesh Rao, Jignesh Raval explains advantages of PM sintering process and how implementation of stricter emission and fuel efficiency norms is leading to growth in demand for sintered components.
How do you evaluate the journey of Sintercom since its inception in 2010?
Sintercom India was established in 2010 with a vision to improve the material yield using advance sintering technology and to increase in the sintered component leverage in a vehicle upto 10 kg. Since the inception, the company has been focused on conversion of existing components manufactured from forging route to sintered process. The company has been very much successful in doing so.
We can proudly say that out of the additional 1.5 kg sintered parts per vehicle added in the auto segment since 2010, we have contributed to conversion of at least 800 gm. We started our journey with manufacture of stainless steel sintered hego boss and today we are the leaders in the industry for manufacturing of sintered synchro hubs. We have focused our approach on powertrain components and we continue to do so. We have made steady progress on our strategic priorities of improved capacity utilisation and manpower productivity, expanding product range.
Sintercom presently holds a market share of around 6 per cent of the Indian sintered market.
Is the demand trend for sintered components same across vehicle segments?
Significant expansion has been witnessed in the powder metallurgy (PM) sintering industry in Europe and North America due to implementation of stricter emission and fuel efficiency norms in the past. A similar momentum is being seen in India as well.
The key drivers for the sintering industry are net-shape parts provide 15-20 per cent better yield; sintered parts are lighter in weight; uses 18-20 per cent less energy (as no melting and re-shaping is carried out during the process); and has lower carbon footprint as the process steps are up to 65 per cent fewer than forging, thus reducing handling and logistical consumption requirements significantly.
The overall demand trend in more or less similar except in 2W and 3W the parts required are lesser due to smaller engines as compared to PV or CV.
What are the advantages offered by sintering technology over other conventional processes (like forging)?
Sintering is considered as a green-machining process, whereas conventional metal-forming processes such as forging and casting are considered polluting processes. The sintering process in itself is a green technology. The raw material for the sintered products is manufactured from metal scrap. There is lesser scrap generation and the components are produced net shaped. Further, the process of manufacturing/sintering is environment friendly and does not generate carbon dioxide from the furnace. These furnaces are electric furnaces and use nitrogen gas for the desired composition.
Sintercom has been focusing on medium to high-density sintered products. What is the rationale behind this strategy?
If you look at the range of components required in automotive industry, you have a wide range of components starting from smaller bushes to larger gears. The standard range of components in terms of density is below 6.9 density. In this segment, many players are into the segment and the products are also more or less commodity products requiring lesser complex technologies. We, as Sintercom, have been established with a vision of manufacturing medium to high strength products with a density of 6.9 to 7.3 density. In this segment, most of the products are complex calling for various innovative solutions and also the competition is less. Also, we want to provide various innovative solutions to our customers.
You have been associated with the automotive industry for last 26 years. According to you, what are key trends in the automotive industry? How will these trends impact the development of auto components?
Over the years, the automotive industry in India has evolved by leaps and bounds as almost all major companies are present in the country. India has now become a hub for auto makers to set up their plants for manufacturing vehicles intended for domestic and international markets. The key factors contributing to the growth of the industry is innovation in the processes, products and solutions to the customer, cost effectiveness and building right capacities. Over the years to come, auto sector is expecting a big growth potential. In order to cater to this growth, the auto component suppliers should be ready with capacity both operational and financial. Further, they will not be able to earn higher margins if they do not bring in innovations in their processes and products. The auto components industry needs to bring in the financial prudence in their system in order to survive and grow further.
With BS VI norms coming into force by 2020, what kind of opportunities are you looking at?
Transitioning to BS VI norms requires significant engine technology changes, including improvement in engine combustion and calibration, increased injection and cylinder pressure, NOx and particulate matter after-treatment solutions, and adopting electronic controls.
This presents tremendous opportunities for increasing use of PM sintered components in vehicles and opens avenues for industry growth due to reasons such as multiplication in exhaust system sensors; fuel-efficient engines and lightweight powertrains; and better NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness).
BS-VI requires stringent controls on tailpipe emissions for carbon dioxide (CO2), CO, HC, and NOx, in both test and running conditions. This will be achieved by addition of sensors before and after catalytic converters. The PM sintering process is perfectly suited for mass production of these components due to its productivity advantages at all stages over the forging process.
To achieve stricter emission reduction targets, not only in exhaust systems but also in engines and powertrains, measures will be undertaken to achieve superior combustion and better efficiency.
Along with reduction in pollutant emissions, BS VI implementation will require reduction in NVH generated from vehicles. As the PM sintering process produces components with 90-95 per cent of full density of the material, the components have voids or porosity which absorb noise generated by vibrations and other reasons better than forged components.
How is the association with Austria’s MIBA helping Sintercom?
Sintercom entered into a joint venture with Miba Group in 2011, one of the global leaders in sintering technology. Miba Sinter is close to Euro 400 million globally. Miba Sinter is one of the leaders globally on development of various high strength sintered components. Miba has over five decades of experience in this industry and also have very strong R&D team and R&D facility. We have tech transfer agreement with them which enables us to access to their latest technologies and develop the same in India to the local OEMs here. This helps us to bring the latest technologies of sintered industry into the Indian market.
What are your growth plans?
We plan to increase the capacity on the compaction press and the sintering process phase-wise. In the current year, we have increased the sintering furnace capacity from 1,980 MT per annum to 3,600 MT per annum.
Currently, the product portfolio of the company includes various components related to PV segment. However, as part of our strategy, we do not wish to limit the same to PV segment but to expand the same to non-automotive segment such as consumer goods, off road equipment, etc. We see plenty of demand in consumer goods. We would be expanding into the same in near future. Further in next 4-5 years, we are looking at expanding our technology to metal injection molding and thus expand into medical equipment and aerospace.
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