India’s state-owned metals firm National Aluminium Company (Nalco) is planning to establish a new technology division in order to better position itself to take advantage of increasing demand from the country’s tech sector.
In an interview with a domestic financial media outlet, Nalco’s chairman and managing director Tapan Kumar Chand said his company plans to collaborate with overseas suppliers to develop home-grown technology to meet the needs of domestic buyers for complex aluminium solutions.
“We will induct the best of the brains. We will go to the IITs. In addition, we will be making a global advertisement with the aim of roping in some of the best NRI technocrats looking for opportunities back home,” explained Chand.
Once the team is assembled, Chand says the team will develop the necessary technology, which will be brought to life by domestic equipment manufacturers. The end result will be a manufacturing unit with a size to be determined by demand for such products.
“Unlike the steel sector, Indian aluminium sector has done very little towards indigenisation of technology and equipment,” said Chand. “Therefore, the industry has to depend on imports — be it for processing of alumina or for smelters. Nalco has now made a plan to create a design and engineering division, because this is one of the priority areas for the company. We also want to do a ‘Make in India’ in the technology space.”
Chand said the project’s engineers would study technologies around the globe, but particularly in Australia and Brazil, as Nalco currently operates technical and technological collaborations in those locales. The project has already passed muster with the Nalco board of directors and awaits approval by the Mines Ministry. The Ministry’s Jawaharlal Nehru Aluminium Research Development and Design Centre is among the several state institutes that have signed on to collaborate with the project.