The story


The “Sri Lanka Rubber Industry Master Plan 2017-2026, A National Agenda for Rubber Industry Development” was released by the Sri Lanka Rubber Secretariat, Ministry of Plantation Industries in February 2017. The targeted growth of 200% in export earnings is expected from the rubber industry by 2025 moving the industry upwards to become a 15% contributor to National export earnings. While Sri Lanka’s current market share of the global rubber product market is 0.27%, the target is to increase this to 0.55% by year 2025. The ambitious plan will only be achieved by earning a higher value addition per unit of rubber processed. One key strategy for the industry to be able to achieve this goal is to enhance the industry’s technical capabilities to produce high value-added products. To assist the Private sector to achieve this target, one of the key projects earmarked in the Master Plan is Project 20: Finite Element Analysis & Simulation Centre It is a unique coincidence that Dr. Sisira Ranatunga’s (whose doctoral thesis was related to use of FEAS in industry) proposal seeking Government funding, to set up a Finite Element Analysis and Simulation Centre via the Plastics &Rubber Institute of Sri Lanka (PRISL), came in at a crucial moment when the Government was considering the upgrading of technologies in the industrial sector. This Proposal was considered as very timely and the Ministry of Plantation Industries extended their fullest cooperation to get this Project approved through the Rubber Research Institute, who also gave their unstinted support. Finite Element Analysis and Simulation (FEAS) is a powerful, fast, state of the art analytical tool, used in modern product design & simulation. This tool numerically analyzes and optimizes product design rapidly. FEAS is capable of analyzing and simulating the performance of thousands of design variations for a product to determine the best fit to purpose and material use. Responding rapidly to changing market needs is achieved by eliminating the need for developing and testing a large number of proto-types.This will be available on a fee-for-service basis to the industry.

The Management structure of the Centre

Rubber Research Institute of Sri Lanka (RRISL) which functions under the management of Rubber Research Board (RRB) as the only government institute mandated to carry out research and development (R&D) for the betterment of the local rubber industry, has received Rs.50 Million, from the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL), to establish the “Finite Element Analysis and Simulation centre’’ (FEAS Centre), as the 20th Project of the National Rubber Master Plan A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been entered into by the RRISL of the Ministry of Plantation Industries and the Plastics and Rubber Institute of Sri Lanka (PRISL), to manage the operations of the FEAS Centre supported by the Sri Lanka Association of Manufacturers and Exporters of Rubber Products (SLAMERP) Project objectives include setting up of the above Project and developing necessary skills on the use of FEAS for modelling and simulation of rubber products and other items enabling Sri Lanka to increase value addition of natural and synthetic rubber to compete effectively in the global market, and to become a Centre of Excellence in providing FEAS services to the Sri Lankan Manufacturers as well as overseas customers.
A joint collaborative Project with the Public Sector (RRB) and the Private Sector (PRISL) will be established to carry out the initial phase. The ownership of the FEAS Centre would be with the RRB, under the Ministry of Plantation Industries (MPI) and PRISL/SLAMERP will be responsible for the management of the operations. The operational costs of the Centre will have to be borne initially by the Private Sector Industry and the wholehearted support and cooperation from all stake holders will be a critical factor till the Centre becomes self-sufficient.

Why is the private sector participation critical during the start of the operations of the Centre?

This is the first time a private sector proposal to upgrade their design and development facilities has been accepted for financing by the Government, in the history of the Rubber Industry in Sri Lanka. Hence it has been an occasion where all stakeholders considered this proposal worthy of acceptance. The role played by PRISL and SLAMERP providing funding for the initial Project Report preparation is another key factor to drive it forward. The funding required for the equipment to the value of Rs. 50 Million has been granted from the Treasury and the equipment have already been purchased. A Memorandum of Understanding between the Rubber Research Institute and the Plastics and Rubber Institute of Sri Lanka has been prepared to manage the operations of the Centre. This Project will be managed as a Public-Private sector entity.
The operational expenses for the first year would be about Rs.10.5 million which has to be found by the Private sector. A partnership scheme has been proposed to the private sector Companies to become; Platinum, (Rs. 1Million) Gold (Rs.750, 000) Silver (Rs.500, 000) and Bronze (Rs.250, 000) partners to obtain the operational costs for the initial phase. They stand to gain substantial benefits for their investment over a period of one and half years.
Hence it is our earnest appeal to all leading industrialists in the Rubber and Plastics Sector to consider becoming worthy partners of this Project of national importance. If the Private Sector is not able to raise the required funds, this very valuable equipment will idle and become obsolete missing a golden opportunity afforded to the private sector. The funding from the private sector is required to recruit and train the engineers, programmers and the draughtsman till it becomes sustainable on its own. This Project will also provide training to undergraduates in the Universities to create a bank of knowledge in the FEAS skills.

    Invitation to Private Sector Entrepreneurs to join as Pioneer Partners to support this unique Project of the Ministry of Plantation Industries’ Rubber Research Institute of Sri Lanka and Plastics and Rubber Institute of Sri Lanka in a Public-Private sector Partnership, to facilitate the upgrading and development of the Sri Lankan Rubber Products Industry to compete successfully in the International markets


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