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Alphacraft to make gravity and low pressure die castings

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Coimbatore-based die castings solution provider Alphacraft is expanding into the manufacture of aluminum gravity die castings to cater to new customers like Emco Wheaton of the UK and Minimax of Germany. According to M Ramesh, managing director, a new facility is being set up in the existing premises at a cost of Rs 1.5 crore and commercial production will commence before the second quarter of this fiscal.

It also plans to invest another Rs 4 crore to increase high pressure die casting manufacturing capacity. The core business is manufacture of pressure die casting dies and prototype dies; capacity is now to be increased to 140 dies per year from the existing eighty. And, as a backward integration, the company will now make gravity die castings.

On the domestic front, Maruti has approved of Alphacraft’s facility and evinced interest in sourcing both low pressure and high pressure die cast dies. Exports are taking off in a big way and the company is developing die cast dies for Emco Wheaton (to make components for petrol tankers) and also Alcoa of the US. A recent development is Alphacraft’s certification by John Deere’s global sourcing team for sourcing 12 different dies. What is of note is that sourcing dies and moulds from India is about 35 percent cost competitive compared to Europe and the US.

Alphacraft designs dies that can be handled both in a sophisticated as well as units with basic manufacturing facilities. “For the last eight years we have not had any report on die cracking,” says Ramesh. Not only are quality standards high on the shopfloor, but the company does not compromise on material — it has been using imported die steel from Austria, Sweden and Japan. In-built stresses that are garnered by the die during its manufacturing process are relieved systematically and at every stage of manufacturing. And the heat treatment process is maintained adhering to stringent requirements through vacuum heat treatment process.

Alphacraft has been quite an innovator and it was among the first in the country to procure design and manufacturing aid softwares including ProE and the prohibitively expensive simulation software Magma. Today, it packs a punch with software like EMX (mould base design), DiEdifice (for runner and gate design), Delcam (high speed manufacturing) that enable it to offer total solutions from art to part using 3-D design. They all help make even the first product right first-time, adhering to specifications thereby minimising time and wastage.

“For the last four years not a single try-out has failed,” says a pleased Ramesh. The company's existing clientele includes Bajaj Auto, JKM Daerim, Hero Honda, HMSI, John Deere, Siemens, Sundaram Clayton and TVS Motor Company. In value terms, the revenue from manufacturing dies and components is the same for Alphacraft which reported a turnover of Rs 15 crore in 2005-06 with 55 percent coming from exports.
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