India’s Trusted Strategic-Material Partner Boosts Defence Indigenization - MIDHANI

By Editor 2021

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During the pandemic, customers approached MIDHANI for indigenisation of critical products & materials which were imported. MIDHANI has achieved success in supplying the products to customers. Based on this, MIDHANI has decided to focus more on indigenous development & manufacturing of products for defence, space & energy sector, said Dr. S K Jha, Chairman and Managing Director, Mishra Dhatu Nigam Limited (MIDHANI). In an interview with Aeromag, he explains the company’s business and operations.

MIDHANI has been India’s Strategic Material Partner to Defence, Space and Energy sectors. How successful has been the company in achieving its visions and what are the major achievements over these years?

Since the inception of the company, MIDHANI has been focusing on producing special grade of steel, Nickel-based alloys, Cobalt-based alloys & Titanium alloys to meet the requirement of strategic sectors. In more than four decades of its existence, MIDHANI has met the objective of self-reliance of special material in the country with a great amount of success. Over the years MIDHANI has become a trusted Strategic Material Partner for critical programs and sectors of the country such as Missiles (Agni, Prithvi, Akash, Trishul, Nag), Aerospace (MiG, Su-30MKI , LCA, Kaveri engine), Army (T-72/T-90, Mi-17 helicopter armouring), Indian Navy, Space launch programme (PSLV /GSLV/ GSLV-mk3, Gaganyaan, Mangalyaan) and Nuclear energy (Fast breeder reactor, PHWRs).

Some of the major developments in recent time are :

  • Steel armour and Composite armour for Mi-17 Helicopter
  • Bullet proof morcha for defence forces & state police
  • Light weight Bullet proof jacket; Bhabha Kavach for defence forces & state police
  • Armoured bus for defence forces & state police
  • Titanium Casting for naval application & space application
  • Isothermally forged titanium alloy high pressure compressor discs for compressor of Aero engines for military aircraft 

How does MIDHANI support the indigenization efforts in the defence sector? What are the company’s activities with regard to Atmanirbhar Bharat?

Entire product range of materials produced by MIDHANI reflects the indigenisation efforts in defense application, space, battle tank, aero engine. Some of the major indigenisation initiatives of critical components/products are high-pressure compressor disc for aero engine, heavy valve body casting for naval application, spider casting for VSSC, rolled homogenous armour steel for penetration test of missiles, high strength precipitation hardening stainless steels for aerospace applications etc.

Details of major alloys developed by MIDHANI for Atma Nirbhar Bharat are given below-

 

Sector

Alloys Developed

Application Area

Defence

High strength low alloy steels

Air hardening armour steels

Special Titanium alloys

Naval steels

High saturation magnetic alloys

Nickel base alloys

Gun barrels of Howitzer & Arjun Tank

Armour 

Piping and heat exchangers

Structural forgings

Missile control systems

Components for Nirbhay Missile

Space

Ultra-High Strength Steel

Nickel base Super Alloys

Cobalt base Super Alloys

Motor Casing of Satellite Launch Vehicles (PSLV, GSLV)

Semi Cryo-Engine parts  

High Strength Fasteners

Aeronautical

High strength beta Titanium alloys

Carburizing steel

Air frame structures, Landing gear & Compressor disc

Helicopter transmission assembly

Energy

Super alloys

Hot Erosion Resistance alloys

AUSC power applications, & Reactivity control mechanism

Thermal power applications

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Could you talk about the MIDHANI’s export operations and its highlights?

In the initial years, MIDHANI was focused on indigenous customers as export orders were sporadic. Since 2017-18, dedicated efforts have been placed on exports. Today, MIDHANI exports to around 10 countries in US, Europe & Asia Pacific geographies. This year, export of around Rs 20 Cr. from armour products, superalloy, special steel & titanium alloy material is targeted.

Could you shed more light onto MIDHANI’s plan to set up aluminium plant in Nellore? How crucial is the project to the country?  

High-end aluminium alloy manufacturing facility (Greenfield project) through Joint Venture (50:50 JV with NALCO) is being setup at Nellore AP. Utkarsha Aluminium Dhatu Nigam Limited has been registered at Hyderabad.

The average imports of all types of Aluminium (Flat Rolled Products) in India during last five years are about 300K TPA. Presently, there is no such integrated facility available in India and most of the requirements of the materials are met through imports every year. The project is proposed for self-reliance, technology enhancement & import substitution of critical strategic materials Aluminium alloys, which is in line with national vision of building ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.

How did the Covid-19 pandemic affect the operations and business of MIDHANI? What are focus areas and aims to be achieved in the post-pandemic times?

CoVID-19 lockdown has affected the final inspection, certification and shipment of materials in the month of March 2020. However, despite this, MIDHANI has achieved sales turnover of Rs 713 Cr. in FY 2019-20 Vs Rs 711 Cr. in FY 2018-19. There was a disruption in production activities for about 45 days in the first quarter of FY 2020-21. Subsequently, the normal production activities resumed with effect from May 2020. To facilitate safe working environment, several safety & health measures were introduced in MIDHANI. 

During the pandemic, customers approached MIDHANI for indigenisation of critical products & materials which were imported. MIDHANI has achieved success in supplying the products to customers. Based on this, MIDHANI has decided to focus more on indigenous development & manufacturing of products for defence, space & energy sector.

What all capabilities of MIDHANI will be showcased at Aero India 2021?  

MIDHANI would be showcasing indigenous products / components / parts manufactured such as Composite armour for Mi-17 Helicopter, High-pressure compressor disc used in aircraft engine, Special Castings for VSSC, Fasteners for aerospace applications etc. In addition, MIDHANI’ material used in critical part / component of spacecraft & missiles such as flaps, wings, rudder, tanks, motor casing, nozzle, gas turbine parts will also be showcased. Also, special forging -high pressure compressor disc forging, high pressure turbine disc forging will be displayed.

What are the details of ongoing / future projects?

  • MIDHANI is currently in the expansion & diversification mode. In that direction, following projects have been undertaken.
  • Wide Plate Mill - A state-of-the-art 3 m Wide Plate Mill for rolling wide plates of various alloys
  • Spring - Spring Manufacturing Facility for manufacturing of springs for Indian Railways 
  • Armour - A world class Armour Manufacturing Facility capable of manufacturing steel armour & ceramic armour products for personnel armouring and vehicle armouring at Rohtak
  • Titanium Casting with Hipping (300 Kg. Skull Melting Furnace) to manufacture products for space, aerospace & defence applications

Can you share details of MoU to be signed at Aero India 2021?

Following are the details of major MoU to be signed at Aero India 2021.

Carbon fibre prepeg manufacturing : Develop & manufacture duly certified prepregs and associated products for aircraft structural applications in collaboration with HAL

Tungsten powder manufacturing: MIDHANI has been working on exploring various options to venture into tungsten business for the last 5-6 years. This mutually beneficial Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between DMRL and MIDHANI would help in establishing the indigenous manufacturing capability to produce high purity tungsten metal and eventually to achieve self-reliance in tungsten metal for the defence requirements.  

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