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Kalam commissions India`s first carbon fibre factory

India`s first carbon fibre manufacturing facility to produce light weight material for use in sectors as diverse as aerospace to infrastructure was commissioned here today.



Vadodara: India`s first carbon fibre
manufacturing facility to produce light weight material for
use in sectors as diverse as aerospace to infrastructure was
commissioned here today.

Former President A P J Abdul Kalam inaugurated the carbon
fibre plant set up by Kemrock Industries at their sprawling
premises on the outskirts of this bustling industrial
township.

The Rs 250 crore facility begins manufacture of carbon
fibre under technology transfer from the National Aerospace
Laboratory (NAL) that had developed the ultra-light material
for the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).

The NAL, a constituent of the Council of Scientific
and Industrial Research (CSIR), will get upto five per cent of
the turnover of this facility as royalty for the next seven
years.

"We are also discussing about having a notional equity in
the company as this is a strategic sector enterprise," Samir
Brahmachari, Director General of CSIR, told reporters here.

Kemrock Industries` Chairman and Managing Director
Kalpesh Patel said the facility`s 400 tonne per annum output
will primarily service the domestic aerospace needs, including
that of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

The LCA, developed by HAL, uses 45 per cent carbon fibre
in its airframe and the country`s air force has placed an
order of supplying 20 such aircraft with HAL.

Carbon fibre is a unique material as it is stronger than
steel, lighter than aluminium and corrosion resistant.

Such qualities make it the best bet for manufacture of
critical equipment like satellites, missiles, aircraft and
rockets.

"Carbon fibre can also be used for manufacture of sports
goods, wind turbines, windmill blades," said A R Upadhya,
Director of NAL.

Patel said in-house production of carbon fibre was the
first step towards establishing a self-sufficient domestic
capability to produce composite products for aerospace,
defence and wind energy markets.

"The carbon fibre capability will be a strategic fit to
our existing operations, augmenting our resin production,
technical fabric capability and moulding ability," he said.
Patel said that Kemrock expects to supply 1500 tonnes of
carbon fibre to the strategic sector over the next four years.

He said the company will manufacture carbon fibre
composites and prepegs for advanced composites applications
which would serve defence, aerospace, wind energy,
transportation and infrastructure sectors.

Patel said the second phase of the carbon fibre facility
with an additional 400 tonnes capacity per annum will be
commissioned within the next four months.

Kalam, as Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister in the
late 1990s, had suggested indigenous development of carbon
fibre.

The global composite industry is estimated at about USD
85 billion with North America and Europe accounting for about
three quarters of its total market value.

The Asia-Pacific region represents about 20 per cent of
the market and projections suggest that Asia will be leading
the growth in global composites industry.

PTI

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