Emerging Entrepreneurs

‘Seal’ing a victory

LN Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on March 22, 2016

R. SUNDARAM Founder & Chief Executive, Aerospace Engineers

BL23_R_SUNDARAM





After completing his diploma in polymer science and rubber technology, R Sundaram worked for a few years before returning to his home town Salem to start his own venture — Elastomeric Engineers. This was way back in 1988.

The company, which is engaged in the manufacture of aeronautical rubber products, supplied gaskets to BHEL in the initial years of operation.

The break, Sundaram recalls, came about in 1993-94 after attending an aviation seminar. “The thrust was on indigenisation of components for aircraft; since I was engaged in manufacture of aeronautical rubber products, I decided to focus on manufacturing import substitute components,” he says.

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) shared technical and component details for making of cockpit rubber seal. This seal is a critical component as it has to maintain the cabin pressure while the aircraft is airborne, and hold it for a minimum of 14 seconds as the aircraft touches the ground. It was being imported from the UK. “After two years of struggle, we developed base rubber compound, the cockpit rubber seal for SuryaKiran, and ours incidentally has been certified as holding the cabin pressure for 65 seconds,” says Sundaram.

“Around this time we realised that we needed a unit for manufacture of precision aeronautical components.” Thus was born Aerospace Engineers.

“Then came the unforgettable day in my life, when in 2001, Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma conducted the initial test flight with the “Salem wallah” ( that's how they used to refer me in the early days) seal on SuryaKiran aircraft. It was around 11 am. We had all assembled near the aircraft in Bangalore. When Sharma came to pilot, he was told that the cockpit rubber seal was made by a Salem-based company.

“He called me over, asked my nativity, then said “my flight will take 50 minutes. I am going to your area (above Krishnagiri forest). Will be right back. Stay put”. My joy knew no bounds as we watched the aircraft take off and land 50 minutes later.”

From then on, there was no looking back. Today, all Indian aircraft, all fighter aircraft, be it MIG 21, MIG 27, fly with Aerospace cockpit seal. Sundaram is now not only contemplating making the unit a private company but is gearing up to set up a second facility at Hosur.

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

Published on March 22, 2016
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor