Tarmak007 -- A bold blog on Indian defence: INDIA SHINING | NAL to unveil desi lab scale autoclave for IIT-K | Product to mitigate imports | MIT, VSSC ready with orders

Thursday, August 29, 2013

INDIA SHINING | NAL to unveil desi lab scale autoclave for IIT-K | Product to mitigate imports | MIT, VSSC ready with orders

By Anantha Krishnan M
Express News Service
Bangalore: Scripting a new chapter in the much-debated Pubic Private Partnership (PPP) in aerospace and defence, the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), a wing of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Bangalore, is ready to unveil a product that will propel educational R&D in India. The first indigenous lab scale autoclave for aerospace applications is ready to be shipped out of NAL to the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT-K). While the design of the autoclave is by NAL, the mechanical systems have come from UCE, Mumbai and the control systems from Datasol, Bangalore.
During a visit to NAL's Center for Societal Missions and Special Technologies (CSMST), Dr G N Dayananda, chief scientist, told Express that the Lab Scale Autoclave is being built at nearly half the cost of imported ones. Manipal Institute of Technology and Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, will also get these autoclaves soon.
“The first lab scale autoclave will be unveiled during the autoclave user’s meet at NAL on September 3. A large autoclave order (4-m diameter and 13.5-m length) has been bagged against stiff competition from established European and American firms, after due technical qualification,” Dr Dayananda said.
According to Dr K Sham Sunder, Honorary Managing Director, NALTech, the efforts of Indian scientists in developing a desi lab scale autoclave should mitigate the imports, if not totally stop, saving precious foreign exchange. “We will deliver the next one in nine months and our expertise have forced the foreign vendors to substantially reduce their prices. The successful operation of this PPP model must pave the way for more such initiatives, exploiting the inherent technological strengths of our public sector and efficient marketing and production capabilities of the private sector,” Dr Sham, a seasoned campaigner with India's Tejas programme, said.
Due to the embargoes on import in the early 80S, NAL had developed a large aerospace autoclave for Tejas within the lab. “We also took up the challenge later to develop much bigger autoclaves for Tejas and today they have become the work horse at Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. One of the autoclaves with NAL is presently the largest state-of-art autoclave in the Indian aerospace sector,” says G M Kamalakannan, a principal scientist with CSMST.
“The technology developed is not the type that can be transferred for example like a chemical compound, as the autoclave requirements in terms of size and performance are customer specific, requiring suitable multidisciplinary design adaptations. The PPP model was the best-suited for us and the selection of the partners was mainly based on their competence, cost effectiveness and willingness to function harmoniously as a team. The lab scale autoclave being supplied to IIT-K will set the tone for India's foray into a complex technology in aerospace,” says J Ramaswamy Setty, a senior scientist with CSMST.

What are autoclaves

Advanced Carbon Fibre Composites (CFC) are extensively used in modern fighter aircraft, to minimise the weight and for improved performance. Of late, even civil aircraft, such as Boeing-787 (Dreamliner), have used composites extensively in their airframes. Composite parts for aircraft applications have to be cured in a controlled environment which need to follow certain pressure, temperature and vacuum cycles, to achieve the requisite properties. Autoclaves designed and developed to aerospace standards serve such a purpose.
Copyright@The New Indian Express

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