JEC Group have brought together the international community of composites leaders and executives in our Composites Circle as an unique networking opportunity to meet with both peers and future partners.
Valeth Hightech Composites is the product of the determination of a tenacious entrepreneur, Peter Valeth. In scarcely twenty years, he has managed to build a considerable reputation for his medium-sized company, notably in the defence industry. These days, he is setting his sights on another objective - this time closer to his centres of interest: succeeding in the boating and light aircraft industries.
(Published on July 2006 – JEC Magazine #26)
Located south of Chennai (just an hour away) in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Valeth Hightech Composites was created in 1990. It now has 80-plus employees and more than two million dollars in turnover.
A wealth of experience
The company, which is ISO 9001: 2000- certified, has established itself as a leading manufacturer of advanced composite products and high-temperature textiles.
These products are used extensively in the aerospace, defence, petrochemicals, steel, marine, effluent treatment, and insulation sectors, among others. The quality of its products has won over many prestigious and quality-conscious customers to the company, such as the Indian Defence Services, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), the Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), the Indian Air Force, the Indian Navy, and more. Last May in New Delhi, the Minister of Science and Technology presented Peter Valeth with a national award for successful industrialisation of a technology.
Comprehensive production capabilitie
From the beginning, the company has been investing continuously in order to acquire comprehensive production capabilities and to master many different processes, including autoclave moulding, filament winding, hydraulic press moulding, resin infusion, vacuum-assisted RTM, prepreg plant, controlled ovens, machining, glass-fibre twisting & doubling, glass cloth weaving, and high silica fabric processing. This last activity has given the company a choice position in a market where demand is strong.
It is true that the range of products manufactured in the plant at Kelambakkam has expanded considerably over time as the company acquired expertise in many areas - Valeth Hightech is capable of turning out pipes & fittings, sleepers, storage tanks, doors, or silica composite billets. But it is in the aerospace and defence sector that the company has drawn attention, with its silica phenolic composite products, filament-wound carbon composite propeller shafts, filament-wound glass-epoxy composite shells for warheads, silica phenolic ablative liner for a rocket motor tube and nozzle assembly, shell assembly and FRP internals for deep sea probes, and matched-diemoulded FRP radomes.
The other side of such diversity is that the company is not structured for producing very large series, but rather to respond to a variety of bids, preferably in niche markets.
Now that his company has its foothold and its turnover is growing, Peter Valeth has set two new, more “playful” objectives for himself, one in the boating industry and the other in light aircraft. Valeth High Tech Composites already has the production plant and qualified employees needed to take up these challenges.
In boatbuilding, Peter Valeth has designed a line of versatile speedboats for various uses - yachting, passenger transport and coast-guarding, among others. The concept is based on a monohull craft that is capable of reaching speeds of about 45 knots.
Following an initial experience in this area with the fabrication of a small pleasure river craft, Mr. Valeth has launched the construction of a mould for a 12-metre hull. If the project shows promise, he is not ruling out the possibility of opening up a production site further south in the Cochin area.
The other project dear to his heart is one for a light two-seater private aircraft, with a body all in composite. The prototype is being made under the guidance of the National Aerospace Laboratories in Bangalore.
These projects are proof of Peter Valeth’s entrepreneurial streak, which helps to keep his company safe from many a risk.