Murugappa Group’s abrasives and industrial ceramics maker Carborundum Universal Ltd (CUMI) has entered into a collaboration with ideaForge Technology, a leading drone maker in the country, to jointly develop what the company calls ‘cutting-edge nanomaterial reinforced composite parts’ for drones. 

Nanomaterial-reinforced composite materials (such as graphene-reinforced polymers) hold the promise of transforming structural parts for aerospace applications.  

They offer several improvements in physical properties over standard composite materials which can include higher mechanical strength, greater toughness and stiffness, better electrical and thermal conductivity, superior fire retardancy and higher barrier to moisture and gases, said a company statement.  

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ideaForge Technology, a vertically integrated company equipped with an in-house product development centre, design, develop, engineer, and manufacture unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). ideaForge appears to have the largest operational deployment of indigenous UAVs across India, with an ideaForge-manufactured drone taking off every five minutes on average for surveillance and mapping applications as of March 31, 2023.  

“ideaForge has done pioneering work in advancing drone technologies and building its position as the leader in the Indian unmanned aerial vehicles market. I am confident that with the deep expertise we have built in the field of materials, this partnership will bring some significant synergies and shape the next generation of drone technologies,” said Subbu Venkatachalam, Head of Marketing, Carborundum Universal Ltd. 

“The use of nanomaterial reinforced composites in drones offers several exciting possibilities such as higher specific modulus or strength and is likely to shape the future of airframe and related structural components of drones,” said Sunil Jha, Sr Director of Engineering, ideaForge Technology. 

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The use of the appropriate nanomaterials can also help build drones that are smaller, lighter, stronger, and more durable, among others. 

The Rs. 4650 crore CUMI’s composites facility develops composite technology for UAVs including CFRP tubes, panels, landing gears, and customised composite structural parts for drones. Its dedicated dust-proof facility to manufacture CFRP parts for UAVs has process capabilities such as vacuum infusion and vacuum bagging, resin transfer moulding (RTM), pultrusion, and filament winding, among others, added the statement.