Auto component maker Sundaram-Clayton (SCL), a TVS group company, has gone into pilot-mode magnesium die-casting production at its Padi plant here.

It's a 1,000-tonne a year capacity unit. It is expected to go fully commercial in 2013.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, C. N. Prasad, Group President and Chief Executive Officer, said the plant would cater to the requirements of passenger car manufacturers.

With car makers focussing on bringing out lighter weight vehicles, SCL thought it fit to look at hi-tech areas such as magnesium die-casting. To a question, he said the company was still negotiating with passenger car makers for supplier arrangement.

Mr. Prasad said the upcoming facility at Oragadam near here would go on stream in April next year. While civil works had already been completed, installations would commence at the 12,000-tonne a year capacity plant in January. The plant involved an investment of around Rs.85 crore, he said.

SCL (Sales: Rs.820 crore in 2010-11), he said, was exploring opportunities for setting up a unit outside India. Though it “is still at an exploratory stage,” the thinking on an overseas plant must be read in tandem with the fact that 30 per cent of its revenue comprises exports.

The company, it may be mentioned, supplies to illustrious names such as Cummins, Daimler and Volvo across their global locations.

Mr. Prasad said the economic health of the U.S. and European countries “are causing concerns”. However, SCL wasn't hit by these as it supplied parts to vehicles which were ‘essential models'. In this context, the CEO said that growth and manufacturing excellence would go together and “enhance our ability to serve demanding customers”. This would, in turn, help us secure more business, he added. SCLhad won the Platinum title in the manufacturing excellence award co-instituted by Frost & Sullivan.

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