Companies

30 companies to manufacture ‘counter Covid-19 products’ with DRDO technology

M Ramesh Chennai | Updated on April 11, 2020

According to the Directorate of Industry Interface and Technology Management, the technologies transferred to for this purpose are off-shoots of those developed by the organisation for defence purposes

At least 30 companies will manufacture a range of ‘counter Covid-19' products with technology provided by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). These are non-medicine products, such as ventilators, sanitisers, PPE, face shield and isolation shelters.

Notable among them is the Bengaluru-based PSU, Bharat Electronics Ltd, which will produce 30,000 ventilators. Dr Mayank Dwivedi, Director, Directorate of Industry Interface and Technology Management, which is a part of DRDO, told BusinessLine that the technologies transferred to for this purpose are off-shoots of those developed by the organisation for defence purposes. (DRDO transfers such technologies to the industry regularly; in this case, they happen to be for counter Covid-19 products.)

For instance, the know-how for ventilators comes from the on-board Oxygen generator technology developed under the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) program.

All these technology agreements were put together in about ten days, Dr Dwivedi said. “To hasten the process of manufacture, DRDO has chosen to deal with industries who have been already working with us,” he said.

A good example of that is a Pune-based company called Raksha Polycoats, has been working with DRDO and ISRO for decades, making products like high altitude pulmonary odema (HAPO) bags and submarine escape suit for DRDO and products for satellite recovery systems for ISRO. Abjijit Sarkar, Managing Director of Raksha Polycoats told BusinessLine that the company would produce isolation shelters—basically, small, 10x10x9 feet rooms made out of metal frames and a special fabric. The company has capacity to make 500 shelters a month; production is to start next week. Raksha Polycoats is one of the two companies have DRDO has given technology to produce isolation shelters; the other one is Accurate Savan Defence, also based in Pune.

Hyderabad-based start-up, iMake, has been into the business of rapid prototyping since 2016. Interestingly, this company makes products, often using 3D printing, for the film industry. K Sudheer, one of the partners of iMake, said the company has made products such as jewellry worn by heroines in films. Now iMake is one of the five companies that have undertaken to produce visor-based face shields to be worn by health workers. (The others are Modern Manufacturers, Chandigarh, Kirat Mechanical Engineering, Chandigarh, Wipro 3D, Bengaluru, and Global Healthcare, Delhi.)

“Yesterday (Friday) we delivered 10,000 pieces,” Sudheer said. Because of its 3D printing, rapid prototyping expertise, iMake could come up with 14 versions of the products for DRDO to select from.

The company will produce 12,000 pieces a day; Sudheer said the capacity could be easily doubled if required.

Mumbai-based Setco is one of the companies that have undertaken to make sealants to seal seams in personal protection equipment (PPE). Yogesh Solanki of the company said that while the product was ready, there were problems in procuring raw materials and transporting them, during the lockdown phase. He said that the company could be producing “hundreds of tonnes” of the product once the “small, small problems” are removed.

Dr Dwivedi said that all these products are “world class” and also have huge export potential too.

Published on April 11, 2020

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