2012 Lightweighting Special: Pune firm enables lightweighting gains for CV majors

One of the latest products is a full-plastic floor-mounted accelerator pedal.

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 31 May 2012 Views icon4398 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
A relatively small company, housed in a by-lane in Karve Nagar, Pune is playing the role of a catalyst in the weight loss plans of large Indian commercial vehicle (CV) makers. One of the latest products, that is an example of plastic replacing metal parts in a vehicle, is a full-plastic floor-mounted accelerator pedal. Made by Williams Controls, it is being tested in a small commercial vehicle (SCV) by a commercial vehicle major. We learn it could be for a Tata SCV.

“On the lightweighting front, we have been working on change of material from steel to aluminium to plastics as appropriate,” says ShailendraGoswami, CMD, Pushkaraj Group.

His next target is to offer plastic air inlet manifolds for CVs. Given the high stress factor in a CV engine, the challenge of increasing plastic content is more than cars. “Statistically, in the West, 50 percent of the inlet manifolds in cars are only in aluminium, 80 percent of fuel tanks are made of plastic," Goswami points out.

He shares a long list of plastic components ranging from air inlet manifold, rocker arm, battery case to fuel tank that he is sourcing, or in talks to source for Indian OEMs, from foreign suppliers.

Goswami, an engineer, who worked at Kirloskar Oil Engines before turning entrepreneur, points out that a plastic component is relatively easier to be used in a stationary engine, but it has to meet more stringent tests for application in commercial vehicle engines. It’s worth it since a plastic part “can cut weight by 60 percent compared to a traditional all-aluminium part”. He and his son, Pushkar (also an engineer) are scouting many markets to find such solutions. What next? “The futuristic applications for plastics will include parts like conrods and crank shafts followed by engine blocks”! That, perhaps, is too futuristic for India now.

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