India’s Mahindra Aerospace inaugurated a 270,000-sq-ft aerostructures manufacturing plant last week at the Narsapura Industrial Estate near Bangalore. The plant opening accompanied an announcement by Mahindra that it signed a technology partnership agreement with Spanish Tier 1 supplier Aernnova Group, the first for Aernnova with an Indian aerostructures manufacturer.
The facility can make large, complex sheet-metal parts using CNC routing, stretch-forming, bladder press, heat treatment and other specialized equipment. The plant also features five-axis CNC machining, a fully automated surface treatment line, priming and painting capabilities for parts and assemblies and nearly 110,000 sq ft of space for the manufacture of major airframe assemblies and subassemblies.
The new plant cost about $25 million to build and carries the capacity to yield about $40 million in revenue per year at peak capacity. The company first plans to make small parts and subassemblies, then gradually advance to larger, more complex assemblies.
Now pursuing industry-standard AS9100C and Nadcap (National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program) accreditations, Mahindra has begun to hire skilled aerospace sheet-metal, special processing and assembly workers, and expects to generate “significant” employment as operations accelerate over the next five to seven years.
The company expects to get its Nadcap certification early next year. Plans call for Aernnova to lead the certification effort.
“We’re already doing packages as the process allows us to move toward the certification,” Mahindra Aerospace executive director and global CEO Arvind Mehra told AIN. Nadcap helps suppliers gain tighter controls within processes, a requirement of OEMs.
In 2010, Mahindra acquired a majority stake in Australian general aviation aircraft maker GippsAero (formerly Gippsland Aeronautics) and sheet-metal components manufacturer Aerostaff Australia. Mahindra has integrated its Australian and Indian teams to develop the new factory in India.
“This [facility] offers sourcing flexibility and efficiency from two geographies and also cuts costs given India’s low-cost labor base,” said Mehra. “It will give us a capability to discharge offsets and provide cost advantage to exporters.”