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Rane Brake eyeing commercial aviation

Our Bureau

Chennai , Aug. 24

RIDING on the success of securing the approval for aircraft brakes for Kiran Mk I aircraft, Rane Brake Linings Ltd has set its sights on the growing commercial aircraft industry.

The `type certification' received by Rane Brake is not just about business from the makers of the jet trainer — Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) — but what it would lead to.

While Rane Brake's President, Mr P.S. Rao, said that "it is a long way away," the target is to get a slice of commercial aircraft business. Kiran Mk I is only a milestone.

The certification was formally handed over on Wednesday to Mr Rao by Mr J. K. Sharma, Chief Executive of the Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification/ CEMILAC (Rane has already supplied some 24,000 brake pads to HAL.)

Mr Rao did not guess the potential business from the `aerospace market' but said that it would develop substantially. Mr Sharma said that it took Rane Brake a "remarkably short time" of two years for developing brake pads for Kiran Mk I. He added that the products were till now being imported from Russia, leading to over-reliance on one source. In that context, he welcomed Rane's efforts to step in for import substitution.

Other officials observed that making aircraft brake pads is a technological challenge, as the pads have to withstand extremely high temperatures while braking. They said that the indigenous pads wear off lesser, and are cheaper and asbestos-free unlike imported pads.

Rane Brake, a domestic market leader, has been a late entrant into the export market and overseas business today accounts for only 3 per cent of its Rs 140-crore turnover. But Mr Rao is confident that it would cross 5 per cent in the current year. The company exports railway brake blocks to Sri Lanka and Australia. It is developing commercial vehicles disc pads for the European market.

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