The second phase of CAFE II norms, which kicks in from April 1, 2022 and are designed to cut carbon emissions from new cars to 113 grams per kilometre, are likely to give a boost to demand for sintered components. OEMs, in their quest to lightweight vehicles and enhance fuel economy, are expected to benefit from powder metallurgy or sintering technology.
According to Jignesh Raval, Managing Director, Sintercom, upcoming regulatory norms including CAFE II, will drive demand towards sintered technology, as forgings do not perform as well in terms of reducing NVH levels. "We will be investing around Rs 50-52 crore over the next three years, "said Raval.
So how will sintering help? To briefly put it, OEMs are needed to introduce VVT / VCT technology as engine efficiency has a lot to do with the timing of the exhaust and intake valves. If these valves can be managed and timed properly from the VVT/VCT then the engine does not require as much fuel and eventually there will be improvement in the mileage and therefore subsequent reduction in carbon emissions.
At present, the Indian automotive industry uses 4kg of sintered components per car as compared to 12-16kg per car in the US and Europe. This means there is considerable potential for the sintered components market to grow in India.
What is sintering?
Sintering is a heat treatment commonly used to increase the strength and structural integrity of a given material. The temperature used for sintering is below the melting point of the major constituent of the powder metallurgy material. After compaction, the neighbouring powder particles are held together by cold welds, which give the compact sufficient ‘green strength’ to be handled. At sintering temperature, diffusion processes cause necks to form and grow at these contact points by which a powder compact is transformed to a strong, dense ceramic body upon heating. The key advantages of sintering includes that it allows making complex products having high strength and precision and relatively cost efficient in comparison to other processes.
In 2011, Sintercom inked a strategic JV and technology transfer with Miba Sinter, which invested in Sintercom to become a co-promoter by taking a 26 percent stake, which has recently been hiked to 30 percent.
Covid has pushed back certain projects
As per Raval the ongoing pandemic has delayed some of Sintercom’s programmes. For instance, PSA’s Generation-3 mass balancer assembly programme, scheduled to commence in October-November 2021, is now slated for June-July 2022. This programme will help open up new business opportunities for Sintercom in Europe. .
The Pune-based Sintercom specialises in manufacture of medium to high-density sintered components for engines, powertrain, exhaust systems and sensor components. In India, Sintercom is a supplier to Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra & Mahindra, FCA, Tata Motors, Hyundai Motor India, Bajaj Auto and Suzuki Motorcycle India. Its supplier clientele includes Schaeffler, Eaton, BorgWarner and Sango.