DSM working with Ashok Leyland to build full composite coaches

S. Shanker Mumbai | Updated on March 08, 2011


Swiss resin maker DSM is working with Ashok Leyland to build 500 totally composite material coaches.

DSM already supplies resins to Leyland and Tata Motors, besides other auto majors.

It is part of Leyland's global initiative where even the chassis would be of composites [such as carbon fibre and FRP], said Dr Michael Effing, President, DSM Composite Resins.

“DSM offers innovative advanced materials that were competing with metals and steel,” Dr Effing said.

As such body panels of Mercedes S Class and many BMW models were made of composites. In Europe, 80 per cent of the material that went into trucks were composite in nature. In India, the use was about 10 per cent and is expected to go up to 30 per cent.

The increased emphasis on fuel consumption would propel the composite market forward, though initially it would be 15-20 per cent more expensive than the traditional materials used. Electric cars too use composites to a great extent and it was expected to go up substantially as the numbers rose, he said.

In the telecommunication space, GTL has sought 1,000 towers for Southeast Asia after commissioning 15 in Nepal. Unlike steel, composite towers, being far lighter can be transported on difficult terrain, besides being cost-effective in the long run with near zero maintenance.

DSM is also in negotiations for setting up a desalination plant totally made of composite material. Mr Ajay Partwardhan, Business Director, DSM, said metro-rail coaches were an opportunity. The Indian joint venture with Kemrock would be making coaches for the Amsterdam metro.

In rail coaches, about 35 per cent of the material that went into the front cabin, interiors and toilets were composites. DSM's client list includes Bombardier, Alstrom and Integral Coach Factory, though Kemrock would now pitch in as a coach builder.

The use of composites is widespread. A 25-room school capable of housing 400 children can be erected in 15 days. For underdeveloped countries, A 20:80 per cent blend of steel and composite material is offered.

Published on March 08, 2011

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