Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Tuesday, Aug 23, 2005
TI to invest Rs 120 cr in capacity expansion Seeks Korean tech for door frames
Chennai , Aug. 22
TUBE Investments of India proposes to invest Rs 120 crore in expanding capacity of its tubes business. This comes on the heels of a Rs 12-crore investment in R&D for adopting the `dual phasing' technology for tubular applications and further (undisclosed) investments in buying technology from a Korean company for `hydroforming' of door frames.
The company's Managing Director, Mr A. Sarin, told Business Line today that the capacity of its two tube plants, including the export-oriented one, would increase from 58,000 tonnes a year to over 1 lakh tonnes. The expansion programme would be completed over a period of 12-16 months.
Capacity of the export-oriented unit is to be trebled to 36,000 tonnes.
The company expects business to grow, not only riding the buoyancy in the economy, but also because of the two new technologies under its belt.
Hydroforming is shaping metal by keeping it on a die and applying water pressure. This obviates the need for heating, which is otherwise necessary for forming metal. Heating distorts chemical properties. Besides, hydroforming is more cost-effective, because it helps save on the heating costs.
TI has accessed this technology from a Korean company for making door frames. TI produces door frames for both Maruti and Hyundai.
As regards the `dual phase' technology, it is a technology that reconciles the trade-off between strength and lightness of steel. You want steel stronger, you put more carbon in it, but more carbon makes it more brittle. `Dual phasing' process adds carbon without affecting the malleable properties of steel.
Although `dual phase' steel sheets are produced by a number of global steel majors, the problem is in using the sheets for making tubes. This is because, when you weld the edges of a strip to make a tube, all the positive effects of dual phasing is lost down the weld-line.
Engineers at TI solved the problem by first making tubes and then `dual phasing' it. These tubes are lighter, but stronger and therefore could find favour with vehicle manufacturers.
This adoption of technology was done in-house. It cost the company Rs 12 crore.
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