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Sri Lanka: Rubber industry gets Rs.50 m high tech facility next month

The rubber industry will receive a boost with the establishment of a public private high tech venture with seed funding from the Government of Rs.50 million to provide computer simulation to design advanced rubber products in Sri Lanka next month.

The Finite Element Analysis Simulation Centre is a high tech establishment created under the Rubber Master Plan with the aim of providing the rubber industry the ability to engage in computer simulation to design advanced rubber products within the country.

This would enable the industry to carry out their functions at a low cost and with speed.

Officials involved at the Ministry stated that the centre would be opened by mid July and that it would help the private sector to develop products like high end tyres faster.

The ability to change the design is available in addition to the space to create prototypes as well, it was pointed out.

Currently, the industry would receive orders and designs from their overseas partners since this technology was not previously available they would have to manufacture prototypes outside the country.

Under the present system they would be able to receive designs from overseas, change them and use the simulator to help them create rubber products that would cut down on costs and time.

Sri Lanka’s main competitors were Malaysia, Japan and China where these technologies were available and with whom they had to compete. Competing nations would take about two weeks whereas Sri Lankan manufacturers would spend about three months for the same product.

But now with computer simulation the rubber industry which is currently carrying out trials on the simulator would be able to deploy the full facility within a year, officials said.

Phase I of the project to commence work cost the Government Rs.50 million with the equipment costing a total of Rs.30 million for computer software and hardware.

The total cost of the entire project that would be completed in three phases would be approximately Rs.200 million. The centre, officials said would be a fee levying institution so as to ensure that the facility could be maintained with the earnings made from the use of it and through private sector funding.

Moreover, the centre would require further laboratory equipment, manufacturing equipment for machinery to conduct trials, it was noted.

Private sector staff could use the facility for computer simulation and the creation of prototypes themselves.

At present there are only two companies in the country that have a computer simulation technology on a small scale that provide the high end engineering to manufacture value added rubber products.

(SD) 

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