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CMERI bid to promote small, medium-scale industries

Ambar Singh Roy

Durgapur , Sept. 21

THE Durgapur-based Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI), a national mechanical research institute established in 1958 under the aegis of the Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), is padding up for a new role.

With the Department of Science & Technology according its approval for the setting up of a Science & Technology Entrepreneurs Park (STEP) at CMERI, the institute is now working on plans to facilitate and promote small and medium-sized entrepreneurs in and around the industrial township, to begin with. If the initiative is successful, it will be replicated at CMERI's outreach centre at Ludhiana.

Stating this in an interview with Business Line, Dr Gopal P. Sinha, Director of CMERI, said that modalities for setting up the proposed STEP were being discussed with CSIR and it was expected to become operational within the next six months. CMERI would focus on grooming entrepreneurs in areas where it had strengths in developing cutting-edge technologies. These were manufacturing, robotics, rapid prototyping & tooling and farm machinery and post-harvest technology, among others.

Dr Sinha said that the institute had, over the years, developed several technologies in the mechanical engineering space that had the potential to substantially reduce the country's dependence on foreign collaborations. However, on account of the lack of appropriate marketing expertise, these developed technologies and innovations rarely found actual application in industry.

In this context, he mentioned the instance of the Sonalika tractor that has been developed entirely at CMERI and the technology transferred to a Punjab-based tractor manufacturer in the private sector. Now, 1,000-1,500 Sonalika tractors are manufactured every month. To help meet the growing demand for cricket balls, the institute has developed a cricket ball stitching machine and has transferred the technology to a Jalandhar-based firm on non-exclusive basis. CMERI's "customers" include The Centre's Department of Ocean Development, Sports Goods Exports Promotion Council and Technology Missions on Oilseeds, Pulses and Maizes.

"In the next three years, we shall come up with cost-effective technologies for the manufacture of engineering and automotive components and all these innovations will be industry requirement-driven," Dr Sinha said, and added that a conference would be held in Delhi in February next year.

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