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DuPont expands materials research

BS Reporter  |  Chennai/ Hyderabad 

DuPont Knowledge Centre (DKC) here, set up by US-based scientific products and services company DuPont, is expanding its materials research and development (R&D) activity to cater to the needs of businesses that serve safety and protection, construction, transportation and packaging markets.

“This is the first step in expanded materials research at DKC and is part of our Rs 150-crore expansion programme announced earlier,” DuPont South Asia president Balvinder Singh Kalsi said, adding the new activity would help product application work in India, Asean countries and other emerging markets in the region.

DuPont has so far invested Rs 150 crore in DKC and announced that it would double that investment in the next 2-3 years. DKC focuses on R&D in biotechnology, engineering and materials sectors and envisages to have 600 scientists, engineers and employees once it is fully functional.

DKC has 250 scientists and engineers on its rolls. In the past one year of its operations, it has filed 3 patent applications

“The goal is to help us better understand the unique market needs here and develop solutions tailored to these needs,” DuPont executive vice president Mark Vergnano told mediapersons, adding, “this is the first time that DuPont has all these facilities in one location.”

According to Vergnano, India is among the top 10 markets of DuPont and will be its top 5 in the next few years. “Currently, DuPont’s annual sales in India amount to $500 million and we want to double that very quickly,” he said.

DKC materials R&D plans include setting up local application development facilities comprising a testing lab for ballistic range, helmet press and stab testing equipment. It has applied for necessary government approvals for the testing labs.

DKC director, Homi C Bhedwar, said the lab would help DuPont customers test new applications using the company’s ‘Kevlar’ protective fibre that would meet local needs for newer, low-cost, light weight and innovative solutions for ballistic applications in India.

He said a tyre and rubber programme would also be launched to support the Kevlar performance material applications in tyre and those segments for automobile and mining centres. It was already in talks with tyres manufacturers like Ceat and Apollo.

The other R&D plans include development of light-weight high-performance composites for the mass transportation industry, local packaging solutions that address agriculture, industrial and medical packaging needs and development of energy-efficient sustainable solutions for the building and construction industry.

First Published: Wed, February 03 2010. 00:42 IST