Pune: City-based Bharat Forge Ltd (BFL), a global major in the auto-components sector, is setting up an Rs350 crore Centre for Advanced Manufacturing at Baramati in Pune district. The plant will have a forging capacity of 30,000 tonnes a year, will manufacture one lakh-machined crankshafts and engage 1,200 workers.
The plant, according to the company, is scheduled to start commercial production in April 2008, and may target a turnover of Rs350 crore in the first 18 months.
BFL chairman, Baba Kalyani, pointed out that China built its own civil aviation industry by using the offset programme and technology flows that came with it, over 15 to 20 years. With global aviation majors Boeing and Airbus looking to source components from India, Bharat Forge is getting ready to join the list of vendors.
To start off, Bharat Forge will manufacture structured parts and landing gear. Aerospace engine parts will come next.
The Baramati plant will also have one of the world's largest closed die manufacturing capacities with an 80-tonne hammer, which can produce pieces that weigh 2.5 tonnes each and are 4.5 metres long. This will boost capabilities by as much as eight times.
Apart from aerospace, the new plant will also make forged parts for the marine, locomotive and the power sectors. The company's entry into the non-automotive space is also a way of insulating it from the downturns in the automotive market.
According to Kalyani, the aerospace sector is a lucrative niche segment for globally there are only four or five players. Bharat Forge has an edge, Kalyani said, being cost-competitive. As in its automotive business, the company is also looking at acquisitions to take this business global over the next five years.
Until the domestic market matures, Kalyani said that he expects 80 per cent of the business to accrue through exports to North America and Europe.