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.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 25, 2005)
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