The Aditya Birla Group launched its Research and Development Centre at Taloja in Navi Mumbai on Saturday.
The centre is part of the recently-launched Aditya Birla Science and Technology Company (ABSTC), which has been set up at an investment of over Rs 250 crore.
ABSTC will serve as a central hub for the group's global R&D network and will include the R&D facilities of Novelis and Colombian Tech in North America, the epoxy resin R&D centre in Thailand and the pulp laboratories of Domsjo in Sweden.
“The business payoffs of the R&D efforts have already started to kick in,” said Mr Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman, Aditya Birla Group, inaugurating the R&D centre.
“The most obvious ones include innovative designs and control systems to increase yield, improve quality, achieve higher efficiency and raise capacities. They have also been key in creating consumer products such as Kara, environment friendly urea, innovative metal alloys, particulate aluminium matrix nano-composites, fibre cement blends and geo-polymers.”
“Hindalco, Grasim and Aditya Birla Nuvo are the major shareholders of this company along with UltraTech Cement,” said Dr Luca Fontana, CEO, ABSTC.
The R&D centre has a capacity to accommodate 450 scientists and engineers. However, the present headcount is 100. Nearly half of them have a doctoral degree. The R&D centre has filed 60 patents as on date.
“The R&D centre does not have a revenue model as of now,” said Mr Birla. “However, it will provide analytical testing services; modelling and simulation services; provide contract research and licence patents to non-competing businesses,” said Dr Fontana.
Within the group, any R&D initiative will be funded by an AV Birla group company which will receive a royalty-free patent in return.
The patent will be jointly held by the group company, and ABSTC. However, ABSTC would be free to license the patent to non-competing businesses.
ABSTC has plans to file patents in all countries where it has an R&D centre and in those markets where the companies sell their products.
The reserach and development showpiece is equipped to develop new processes and designs, and create new products and applications.
It consists of a process engineering and sciences lab, a science and technology lab, an analytical lab for testing and a knowledge centre with access to the latest books, periodicals, journals and research papers required.