Belgaum-based automotive component manufacturer Aequs has won an order for supply of 100,000 units of titanium parts for new Airbus A 320 planes.
This is the first time that such a large order has been placed for titanium parts in India and Aequs will be machining 120 tonnes of titanium every year for it. The order is spread across a 5- to 7-year period after which it may be further extended.
Thanks to this new business, Aequs is gunning for a revenue of US$ 300 million by 2020 from the current US$ 100 million that it generates.
“We have just started developing the titanium parts and it will take one year to productionise them. Based on our strengths and capabilities, we have won this order. We will make about 200-300 different titanium parts so that it will be a complete package,” Aravind Melligeri, chairman and CEO, Aequs (pictured below), told Autocar Professional in an exclusive interaction. The company has a global presence in Europe and a manufacturing facility in Houston, USA as well and imports the entire titanium raw material.
Titanium components are the parts which connect the Airbus engine to its wings. They are better known as ‘pile on fittings’ as they take the engine and plug it to the wings. Since 2009, Aequs has been supplying parts to Airbus directly but the latest order is significant as it is an order for large parts.
The supplier, which is engaged in precision machining, sheet metal fabrication, assembly, special processing and forging for aero structures has invested heavily in the aerospace sector by building a Special Economic Zone at Belgaum with a global team of 100 engineers for new product development.
Aequs initially started out as Quest Global in engineering design and then expanded into automotive manufacturing in 2006-07. It was rebranded to form Aequs in 2014. “We had an existing customer base in automotive design, so we asked them to give some parts to us and we manufactured them for a US customer. It was a heavy truck engine component for Dana Corp and then Bosch also gave us some components to produce so that gave us a feel for manufacturing. But our long-term goal was to get into aerospace,” says Melligeri.
Meanwhile, Airbus which was scouting for a supplier in India found Aequs a capable organisation.
Interestingly, Aequs has a joint venture with Magellan Aerospace for providing surface treatment solutions in India, a JV with Saab AB of Sweden for build-to-print assemblies for commercial and defence aircraft as well as another JV with Auburt & Duval SA and Setforge Societe Nouvelle SAS for developing aero structural parts, landing gear and braking system components.
In addition, Aequs brought in technical expats to build up its team expertise. It has a workforce of 1,500 across 16 plants in Belgaum spread over a 250-acre SEZ. The auto division accounts for 10 percent of the company’s revenue currently with customers being Bosch, Eaton and Honeywell Aerospace among others.