With lightweight vehicles triggering off economies in fuel usage, and related spin-offs in terms of lower emissions, all the component manufacturers have been extending their lightweight agenda in association with vehicle manufacturers and
their Tier 2 and Tier 3 supply chain partners. To promote this initiative, Pune-based Helvoet Rubber & Plastic Technology, a 100% subsidiary of the Helvoet Group, manufactures a wide range of plastic components with substantial reduction in weight.

IMG_1515Speaking to Auto Components India, Avinash Kapoor, Director – Operations, Helvoet said, “We manufacture functional plastic components that are made from engineering polymers. We make parts for fuel systems, braking, engine cooling and automotive electricals. Our biggest customers are Continental, Delphi, Bosch, Mahle Behr, Tata Toyo Radiators, WABCO and Lucas
TVS. Currently we export around 40% and our biggest customer is Continental China, where we supply 3.5 million fuel pump parts
annually, followed by Continental Europe.”

Weight Reduction
The plastics component manufacturer is also working on metal to plastic replacements. “We are currently doing a lot of work
towards weight reduction; it is our main strength where we help our customers reduce weight by substituting metal to plastic parts. At present, we have developed plastic thermostat housing for one of our OEMs; earlier it was aluminium and now we have developed the same in plastic. By doing this we reduce the weight by around 40% and enhance efficiency. Similarly, for the
turbocharger we have developed a fully plastic turbocharger vacuum actuator, which reduces the weight by around 150 gm. So far we have developed engine control module (ECM) mounting brackets, clutch servo parts and oil strainer bracket in plastics,” reveals Kapoor. In the domestic market, Helvoet is currently working with Continental, WABCO and Delphi, and production
towards the new programme is expected to commence next year.
These new products will help the company to grow by 15% in the domestic market next year. Having supplied over 200 million fuel
pump chamber components over the past 20 years, Helvoet claims to be the leader in both market and innovation. It has brought
some industry unique molding and finishing technologies that has helped its customers continually meet and exceed their  customer’s expectations. Combined with molding, Helvoet also offers finishing services such as lapping, grinding, and various other secondary processes that can assist in fine tuning the design.

IMG_1509On the technology side, for all the FDM parts developed for Continental, Bosch and Delphi the company has prepared its own expertise to do the tooling and molds in-house. Earlier, it was getting the molds from China but from last year it has started its own tooling in-house for the automotive plastic components. In molding, to manufacture plastic radiators and charger intercooler tanks, Helvoet has developed a technology for negative compensation in the mold itself to avoid warpage. In bigger parts, warpage plays a major role where it causes dimensional distortion in a molded product after it is ejected from the mold at the end of the injection molding process. To avoid this, the new design will provide some compensation in the mold so that the part comes out clean, without warpage.

Elaborating on the current projects, Kapoor said, “To Bosch Europe we have developed 3 components for fuel delivery module
(FDM) according to their drawings and have completed our tooling recently. The order was confirmed by mid 2013 and recently we have sent some pilot lots, where the SOP is towards the end of this year. Totally, there are some 5 part codes and the highest volume is 250,000 annually. With the help of these export programmes, our exports will grow by 50% by end of this year.”
For advancing productivity, the component manufacturer is constantly improving the shop floor and using robots for pick and place, but wherever volumes are high it employs smarter machines which have good consistency and productivity.
Going forward, the company is also planning to do sub-assemblies for thermostat housing and other products for which it has got
some enquires from global system manufacturers. The company started way back in 1958 as Philip’s high technology plastic division; in 2005 Helvoet bought the company and continued manufacturing plastic components for audio systems. Currently around 80% of its capacity is utilised for the automotive division and the remaining 20% goes to other industries, and exports.

Expansion Plans
“We are going to concentrate on fuel system parts in a major way and towards this we are planning our investments. For the entire FDM, currently we manufacture 7 to 8 parts and are looking to add a few more in the coming year. Presently, we use around 40 tonne of engineering polymers per month with plans to add molding machines, vibration welding and also some post machining operations in the coming months. With the help of these additional machines we can increase our capacity by 15-20%.
And we also plan to add parts for EGR and vacuum pumps since system manufacturers are looking to localise these products,” concludes Kapoor.


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