Writing a new chapter in the industrial development of the State, Autokast Limited, a ferrous foundry manufacturing unit in the public sector at SN Puram, near Cherthala, is all set to handover the first batch of Casnub bogies to Indian Railways.
V. Anil Kumar, managing director, Autokast, said Casnub bogies would be dispatched by mid-February. “An inspection by Lucknow-based Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) of the Union Ministry of Railways is scheduled for the second week of February. Once the inspection is completed, two bogies will be sent to the North Western Railway,” Mr. Kumar said.
Earlier RDSO accorded Class ‘A’ Foundry status to Autokast. Following this, the company participated in a bidding process and bagged a pilot order for manufacturing five Casnub bogies for goods trains in 2019. “Rest three bogies will be given in a time-bound manner. By successfully delivering the initial order, Autokast is ready to receive subsequent orders and step up the production,” Mr. Kumar said.
In the initial years, Autokast plans to manufacture at least 5% of the bogies needed. Each Casnub bogie costs around ₹2 lakh.
Autokast, once listed for privatisation, has made a remarkable turnaround with the present Left Democratic Front government injecting money into the company. It helped the company to modernise the unit. Apart from manufacturing Casnub bogies, it has recently received an order from Maruti Suzuki for supplying brake drums. Autokast will supply 25,000 units per month for ₹1.43 crore. Another order for 126 tonne of castings per month was received from a company in Tamil Nadu.
“We are awaiting final approval to start the mass production of brake drums for Maruti Suzuki. The revival of Autokast can be attributed to government funding, installation of modern machinery, and a change in the marketing strategy. With the production touching 400 tonnes, we reached the break-even point in December 2020. Our next target is to achieve 500 tonnes in March 2021,” the managing director added.
In a bid to reduce electricity cost and become more competitive, a two-megawatt solar plant is being set up at the unit at a cost of ₹10 crore. Besides, an electric vehicle charging station set up on the unit premises will be thrown open to the public on February 7.
The unit, which was established in 1984, employs 370 permanent and 180 temporary staff.