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A collaborative virtual workshop on advanced technology and smart manufacturing for the rubber product industry

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The Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Association of Manufacturers and Exporters of Rubber Products (SLAMERP) and Plastic and Rubber Institute of Sri Lanka (PRISL) organized a two (2)-day virtual workshop on advanced technology and smart manufacturing to upgrade the knowledge of the industry on technological advancements in the global rubber industry by obtaining the services of local and international technical experts on 18th & 19th December, 2020. This was the third such workshop organized as a follow up to the past workshops in 2018 and 2019 on product Innovation, technology and R&D for the Sri Lankan tyre manufacturing industry.

Rubber product   industry is known to be a technology-intensive industry which changes rapidly. This requires trained skilled personnel who have the knowledge and experience on modern machinery and equipment, mature processing technology and high level of product development to keep in line with the global market trends.

In order to sustain and grow in the international market, the tyre industry has to constantly upgrade their production processes, adapt and improve their products, invest in R & D, innovations, comply with standards and required certifications, new technology and laboratory testing available in the world. Therefore, it has become very important that the industry is updated on state-of-art technology, smart manufacturing, IOT automation, etc. in order to improve operational efficiency. This revolution is moving manufacturers from mass production to mass customization through a digital supply network

The EDB works very closely with the industry and is constantly in dialogue with them to identify and address the sector needs to keep in line with global requirements.

Although the other sectors are affected badly due to the covid pandemic, Rubber Gloves sector has shown increase in demand in the international as well as in local market.

Given the importance of the above, The EDB implemented several programmes for the rubber industry in the recent past, including a system development programme to obtain ISO-14001 and 50001 certifications, a technical training and exposure programme at Tun Abdul Razake Research Centre (TARRC)-UK, and Hevea Academy of Malaysia, The Malaysian Rubber Board, and market exposure programmes in the EU countries.

In addition, the EDB in collaboration with SLAMERP and PRISL organized a two-day second workshop from 25th to 26th July, 2019, on tyre Compounding and tyre technology to upgrade the knowledge of the tyre manufacturers/exporters by obtaining the services of international technical experts from India. The first and second collaborative tyre workshops were conducted successfully with the participation of over 100 technical personnel of leading tyre manufacturing and exporting companies in Sri Lanka. 

Considering the knowledge gained by the previous workshops and on the request made by the technical personnel of rubber products manufacturing companies in Sri Lanka, the EDB organized this third workshop to upgrade the knowledge of the rubber industry on technological advancements and smart manufacturing in the rubber industry in collaboration with SLAMERP and the PRISL.

The content of the workshop was focused on smart energy monitoring, IOT-built industry automation, big-data processing systems and applications (visual interpretation of large-scale data), condition-base monitoring for maintenance, 3D/4D-printing, finite element analysis and modelling, virtual product designs and testing, and product failure prediction.

These public-private collaborative efforts are very well targeted and benefit the rubber industry immensely. This will also contribute towards increasing export revenue to achieve the national export target of US$ 28Bn in 2022.