Precision engineering and manufacturing company Aequs Aerospace (Hall 2B E170) has come a long way since the last Paris Air Show in 2017. Having charted a road map to 2025, the company's growth plans are ambitious.
“Broadly they include a focus on machining, a tripling of present work, expansion of capacity, the introduction of new products, and identifying new packages for the 226-T helicopter to be manufactured in India,” Aravind Melligeri, chairman and CEO, told AIN.
Technology transfer through global strategic alliances and an ecosystem in India that has an integrated supply chain—providing machining, forging, surface treatment, and aero assemblies in a single location—has reduced timelines of deliveries. Having new machining capability and become the largest such supplier in the country, Melligeri said, “This makes us a one-stop shop solution, bringing confidence to the customer. We want to grow faster as the opportunity grows [globally].” Aequs is believed to be adding more than 100,000 hours of work capacity.
Airbus contracted Aequs Aerospace to supply more than 100,000 titanium machined parts for the A320neo program. These parts are being assembled onto the engine pylon structure. “Delivery of titanium requires long lead times. We have to plan for the future,” said Melligeri.
Aequs is presently delivering the engine casing for a new helicopter to Safran Helicopter Engines for the Bell 505, a government official told AIN.
Melligeri is clear that a "Make in India" tag no longer means low quality, especially for key customers such as Airbus, Boeing, and Collins Aerospace. “We did not build our Special Economic Zone [in South India] for offsets. Offsets are a byproduct of our [core] work,” he said. For instance, Aequs sees itself playing a major role in the C-295 transport aircraft. Price negotiations have concluded with Tata Advanced Systems in a joint venture with Airbus for 62 C-295s for the Indian Air Force, and 16 will be assembled domestically with a 30 percent local content.
On-time deliveries are essential. Cost reduction initiatives by aircraft OEMs have compelled Tier 1 manufacturers to seek low-cost solutions in geographic locations far from home. With the risk of delivery backlogs owing to long transit times, he said, “We cannot afford to miss a single deadline." To ensure timely delivery, Aequs introduced a differentiated delivery model it claims has already benefitted customers, employing forward stocking to leverage a global-local approach. Aequs manufactures the parts in India and stocks them at its offshore locations that become the contract bearers for the parts. This ensures parts are closer to the customer, and the Aequs representative for the customer is in the same time zone as the customer.
Aequs Aerospace generates $100 million in sales with more than 3,000 employees in India, the U.S., and France and has seen a compound annual growth rate of more than 50 percent year-on-year for five years.