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Large SMC parts

Tata AutoComp manufactures composites which are an innovative replacement for conventional materials such as steel, aluminium and plastics for a wide range of automotive applications like class-A external body panels, structural parts and NVH parts. General advantages of composites are:

Weight savings up to 25 per cent over sheet metal
Cost savings in parts and tooling; up to 65 per cent over sheet metal in tooling
Cost savings in overall programme through faster tooling and development time
Cost and assembly time savings through superior part integration
Corrosion / dent resistance
Better acoustic behaviour through improved NVH properties
Styling freedom

Current major products include:

Bumpers for Man Truck and Tata LCV (Ace and Magic) and Winger
Engine hoods for Tata's HCVs/ LCVs and Ashok Leyland's trucks
Fender cum foot steps for Man Trucks
Fenders for Tata's HCVs
Panels for Tata's LCV (Winger model) and panels, engine hoods and fender cum foot steps for Man Trucks
Fenders for Tata's HCVs
Hoods and side panels for John Deere Tractors
Front hood for New Holland Fiat Tractors
Front mask and bottom cover for Punjab Tractors
BMC for Visteon and Lumax (headlamp manufacturer)

All the new generation heavy commercial vehicles including Man Trucks and World Truck of Tata Motors have preferred SMC as solution for their external trim parts. We are also a potential supplier for all new entrants in HCV, like Volvo Trucks and Ashok Leyland Avia Programmes.

Sheet moulded composites (SMC)
SMC is a thermosetting polymer reinforced with fibre (usually glass fibre), manufactured in the form of a sheet. Suitable fillers are added to SMC at the compounding stage to obtain specific properties and the material can be specifically formulated for applications like class-A surfaces or high-temperature applications. An additional advantage of SMC is its suitability for online painting with sheet metal components due to a coefficient of thermal expansion that is very close to that of steel.

Bulk moulded composites (BMC): BMC, used to make small and intricate parts, is similar to SMC in its composition but instead of a sheet it is manufactured in dough form.

Long fibre thermoplastic (LFT): LFT is a thermoplastic polymer reinforced with fibre longer than 1mm (usually glass fibre longer than 20mm). It is a state-of-the-art material developed in Germany barely ten years ago by Menzolit Fibron GmbH, Tata AutoComp's technology partners, and Dieffenbacher. Tata AutoComp is working closely with Menzolit Fibron and Dieffenbacher to develop value-added applications of LFT in both class-A body panels and structural parts. LFT has the additional advantages of faster cycle times (less than 60s) and the ability to be recycled 100 per cent online for almost zero process wastage.

Engineering capabilities

A team of Tata AutoComp engineers trained at Menzolit-Fibron, Germany, offers a range of design and development capabilities, including:

Concept design
Product development and validation
Rapid prototyping
Tooling design and development

The company's software capabilities include CATIA V4, Nastran, Ansys. It also offers a facility for raw material development and formulation for a variety of customer needs.

Manufacturing facilities

The Tata AutoComp plant near Pune, India, ensures quality through conformance to standards such as QS 9000 and ISO 9001 and the use of techniques such as 5S, Kaizen and Kanban. It uses a wide range of equipment for the moulding of SMC, including:

SMC compression moulding CNC hydraulic presses
Computer controlled Schmidte and Heinzmann make SMC compounding machine
BMC compounding machine
Non-IBR steam generators
Screw type air compressors

It also has modern testing equipment to assure the quality of the final product, including:

Glass content / filler content testing
Burning test to check fibre orientation / flow
Air entrapment testing
Thickening behaviour testing
Specific gravity testing
Moisture content testing
Heat ageing
Surface weight testing
Paint adhesion testing

The presses are CNC-controlled and have 20-micron accuracy - JIS-1, and parallelism control class-A finish.

Manufacturing Unit :
Tata AutoComp Systems Limited Composites Division

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Large SMC parts  
 
Sheet metal components  
       
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