Getting tanks battle ready

N Raghavan virtually went broke after delivering his first order — supplying elements on a job paintings basis to an organization that at last supplied them to the Army. "I had to buy all the components in bulk for which I needed a huge amount of capital. But I didn’t have enough money and had to take a loan," he says. Worse still, the maiden supply wasn’t profitable.
"The first order was a heavy loss for me," he remembers. Raghavan had to borrow from pals and kin to stay Amar Metering Pumps, his fledgling venture, operating. He quickly realised that getting orders immediately from the ‘Ordnance Factories’ of the Defence Ministry was the one way out to sustain his industry.

Amar, which started operations on a rented premises on Patel Road in the city with 5 machines in 1975, controlled to win direct orders for supply of ‘pre-heating and cooling methods’ for main combat tanks. But executing the order was no simple task. The system had 400 elements with 64 sub-assemblies and they all had to paintings perfectly.


The system is used to start the engine of a combat tank in prime altitude forward areas such as Jammu and Kashmir and the North-East. "The system heats up the whole battle tank," Raghavan explains. Soon after he earned some profits in its first direct order supplying 100 sets of such methods, the one competitor for him in the industry, who was founded in Kolkata, withdrew from the race. "Thereafter, the entire orders started coming to us," he says.


Raghavan’s stints in the then Telco (Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company) for a decade from the mid-1950s to mid-1960s and later at city-based textile machinery primary LMW (Lakshmi Machine Works) from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s stood him in excellent stead after he began his industry. These stints made him adept at dealing with highly difficult paintings that concerned precision engineering.


"I picked up my engineering skills in Telco. Kurt Pfleuger, a German, was my boss there. He was a tough taskmaster, but he was also very fair," Raghavan says. "I learnt discipline and work culture from him. Since he was impressed by my work, he recommended me for an advanced training methodology and tool room programme conducted in Germany in 1961," he reminisces. The programme helped him deepen his wisdom in engineering. His elder son Manoj Kumar joined the company in 1991 whilst his younger son Anand followed in 1996. But their access hasn’t made the 83-year-old Raghavan, who passed out of the Defence Ministry’s Machine Tool Prototype Factory (MTPF) Training School at Ambernath close to Mumbai in 1955, hold up his boots. He is a normal at the shop ground of the venture he has nurtured for more than four a long time and inspects the elements that are being made even now. With the preliminary orders getting Amar a robust foothold in the defence elements industry, it has began making engine oil pumps, air vendors and oil priming pumps utilized in combat tanks now. "These products were being imported earlier. But since our prices were highly competitive, we won the order," Manoj Kumar says. The elements are made for battlefield prerequisites that are extreme — they've to survive the searing 50 degree Celsius heat of the deserts in Rajasthan in addition to minus 40 degree Celsius weather in the Himalayas. "It took us five years to develop the DC motor for the pre-heating reduction gear," Anand says. The corporate uses special aluminum alloy for the elements as they weigh much less. "There is strict weight control for all the components. They have to pass an array of tests," he says. With the union executive saying bold plans for increasing indigenisation in defence production, Amar is now planning to diversify. "We want to produce a wider range of products. We have the capacity," Raghavan says with a grin.


Getting tanks battle ready Getting tanks battle ready Reviewed by kailash soni on February 14, 2018 Rating: 5
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