Aluminum on top in India's growing car industry
The first thing an Indian car buyer tends to do is switch on the air conditioning and hope the car cools down instantly. "We have to design heat exchange evaporators to cool down fast," says Ravi Chidambar, CEO of Tata Toyo Radiator Ltd.
As a mechanical engineer, who did a postgraduate course specializing in heat power and thermal engineering, Chidambar is passionate about heat exchange systems. And about the role of aluminum in them.
In addition to light weight and good thermal conductivity, he considers the amenability of aluminum to various layering of alloys as advantage.
Design flexibility is an important attribute
“A heat exchange designer gets better and better with evolution and experience,” says Ravi Chidambar. “Solutions cannot be found in textbooks. They are application-based. You learn and improve with practice, and after several trials comes the final product.”
An automotive vehicle has 20 to 25 heat exchangers. Tata Toyo Radiator Ltd. makes about one-third of these, with more in the pipeline.
“The challenge (for aluminum solutions suppliers) will be to develop lighter but stronger grades, better alloys and better material and keep improving, because customers want thinner and yet stronger aluminum,” he says.