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SLIIT Partners PRI to bring rubber research to international standards

Business News: The Plastics and Rubber Institute of Sri Lanka (PRI) recently entered into a partnership with the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) for the institute’s graduates and undergraduates to be a part of their Finite Element Analysis and Simulation Center (FEAS Center). The Center was established by PRI, to support the industry with the facility to do analysis especially in the area of Finite Elements (FE).

The Plastics and Rubber industry has a clear requirement of FE Analysis particularly in their dealings with foreign customers. In establishing the center, the Government granted Rs 50 Million as seed money, helping to equip it with state-of-the-art software and required hardware so that the industry would have a modern facility that allows industry players to analyse conceptual designs for structural strength, heat transfer, build 3D conceptual designs, handle plastic injection moulding simulations and build prototypes. Some industry players have also got on board providing sponsorships for the Center, in lieu of the opportunity of using it for their analysis requirements.

Kaushal Rajapaksa, President of the Plastics & Rubber Institute of Sri Lanka says, “The FEASC Centre which is funded by the Government of Sri Lanka to the value of 50 million to purchase the software and it is the first Public/Private partnership venture established under the Rubber Master Plan 2030. Now it is fully operational, helping the industries including SMEs to carry out their product development work in an innovative and cost effective manner that enabled them to be in par with other international companies. We have entered into MoUs with many companies in Sri Lanka and carried out many projects which have proven successful for the industrialists. The MoU which we have signed with SLIIT is unique due to the potential synergies we can mutually develop to assist the industry.”

With the infrastructure now in place, the FEAS Center needs technical expertise in order to be on par with international standards. This is where SLIIT comes in with its academic and industry knowledge and experience. The university will provide the required expertise to develop numerical models, design and manufacture of prototypes and performance testing of popular rubber/plastics /composites products at the facility. Technical support will be provided for new designs, moulds, and machinery along with training on virtual technology applications.

“In a partnership like we have entered into with PRI, it is important to understand the vision and ethos of SLIIT, which is to be strongly rooted in the value system of Sri Lanka. We also develop curricula in consultation with various industries in Sri Lanka to ensure that our degrees are relevant in today’s commerce. Therefore, when our students are involved in research, we ensure that it is not merely an academic exercise but one that brings economic value. All our partnerships in the R & D sphere are win-win formulas for both students and industry and we look forward to making another success with the FEAS Center,” says Professor Lalith Gamage, CEO of SLIIT.

The university with its capable in-house academics from its faculty of engineering, coupled with industry and academic experiences has the ability to grow this technology in all possible directions. The active involvement of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research will give the ultimate benefits for industry players who will be using the Center for their Analysis needs to deep dive into their problems in a scientific approach.

The Bentley CAE Research Unit, in Faculty of Engineering which was first established to support Bentley Motors Ltd, UK for their analysis and simulations needs is taking a leading role in this partnership by providing the analysis and measurements support in international standards using the state of the art technology, methodologies and equipment essentially used in high tech international companies. This will essentially act as a knowledge transfer partnership for local industries to uplift their products to compete with international companies.

PRI and SLIIT will conduct joint certificate courses at the Center while university students will be given the opportunity to conduct their postgraduate and undergraduate projects on industry problems at the facility. The FEAS Center will also benefit from receiving development assistance from foreign partners such as Bentley Motors Ltd, Loughborough University, etc., who are currently working with SLIIT. The two institutes will also provide assistance to the Industrial Development Board (IDB) of Sri Lanka, to support research requirements of small companies, whenever necessary.

Photo Caption; Mr Kaushal Rajapakse, President of PRI (left) and Prof Lalith Gamage, Vice Chancellor of SLIIT (right) greeting to each other after signing the MOU.