The unit will use the facility to carry out in-house designing and manufacturing of components using GFRP and CFRP composites
Minister of state (independent charge) for ayush & minister of state for defence Shripad Naik, on August 13 inaugurated the new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility for composite materials, environmental testing & finishing, established at the Navi Mumbai Unit of Navratna Defence PSU Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL). CMD, BEL, Gowtama M V, director (other units), Nataraj Krishnappa, director (finance), Koshy Alexander, director (HR), Shivakumaran K M, GM (NAMU), Umesh Chandra, senior officers of BEL and representatives of R&DE (E), DRDO, were present on the occasion.
The new facility is expected to turnaround the fortunes of BEL’s Navi Mumbai unit, which has traditionally been in the business of manufacturing shelters and masts and overhauling of hydraulic systems of T-72 tanks. It would boost the unit’s manufacturing and testing capabilities in composites, a new area which has been identified by BEL for diversification. The unit will use the facility to carry out in-house designing and manufacturing of components using GFRP (Glass Fibre Reinforced Polymer) and CFRP (Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer) composites for various Naval applications, submarines, aircraft and shelters.
Inaugurating the new facility, the minister Shripad Naik said that the new facility would enable BEL to develop composites which were lighter yet stronger and posed no environmental hazard. He added that these new products would cater to the requirements of ship builders, metro, etc. He extended all help to BEL, which had taken an innovative step by foraying into the area of composites. CMD, BEL, Gowtama M V said that the revival story of the unit was worth emulating. He added that BEL would like to be a supply chain partner for all platform manufacturers of the country, including PSUs such as MDL, GRSE, etc.
BEL-NAMU has already executed composites projects such as Radome for 12.86 meter Doppler Weather Radar and GFRP Pressurised Missile Container for the Akash Missile System. Besides, the unit has designed a CFRP shelter for defence applications, Composite Mast, Composite Canister for QRSAM, Climatic Control Light Weight Composite Enclosure, Composite Stave Assembly to mount sonar sensors, etc.
Composites consist of two or more distinct materials, which are combined to improve the directional strength properties of individual parts. Composites have many advantages including weight saving (without compromising on other properties), leading to fuel saving, increase in payload and increase in performance, good corrosion resistance, low thermal expansions, high strength to weight ratio and better aesthetic finish besides many other benefits.