Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Future is Light, Hindustan Magnesium Products is born.

We are all part of the "rising fuel price" conversation at some point or another which is an issue we often like to argue about & blame politicians and taxes. However, the fact remains that the fossil fuel resources in this world are limited resources which would at some point of time get depleted and as we approach that scenario, we will be faced with paying higher and higher prices for our consumption. Although a lot of research is being done in exploring alternative fuel systems, the biggest challenge is replacing the same in transportation systems. Nuclear energy offers a promising alternative for electricity generation, however its usage in vehicles is far from reality. Alternative fuel systems like hydrogen, fuel cells, solar would be a viable option in transportation systems, however they will need lighter vehicles to propel. Imagine yourself carrying a metal suitcase with your luggage vs carrying the newer plastic ones. You obviously would spend less energy carrying the latter. The need for lighter transportation systems is imperative & alternatives are limited but promising. Amongst them are carbon fibre structures, magnesium alloy castings, high strength plastics etc. Magnesium offers the highest strength to weight ratio with its weight almost 2/3rd of Aluminum.
A couple of years back, when my friend Bala ( who is more of a techie & quite an engineering genius ) approached me with this concept of setting up a magnesium based foundry, the concept looked appealing. However, there were a lot of challenges including technical & financial. The technical challenges were huge since the know how of casting magnesium is held by only a few companies in the world & is not available off the shelf. Mg is an extremely fussy material to handle in molten stage since it oxidizes almost instantaneously when exposed to atmosphere & reacts violently with water. It can even cause an explosion, however when casted under specific parameters, it offers itself to casting. Now to recognize those parameters for aerospace  & other complex components is a challenge which many companies have taken years to acquire. However, with Bala we managed to cast mg within a year. In the process, we established new processes & techniques which are extremely innovative & due for patent registration. The financial challenges were also as much since the amount of research done required huge inflow of capital.
With the advent of 2011, our concept has finally turned into reality with the registration of Hindustan Magnesium Products Pvt Ltd ( www.hindustanmagnesium.com ) as a corporate entity and an order from ISRO to kickstart the new year.
Hindustan Magnesium Products would contribute to a new era of light weight engineering technology catering to industry segments like aerospace, space, defense, automotive, consumer & industrial machinery. Our mission is to make a lighter world.

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