The EDB, with the assistance of the Sri Lanka High Commission in UK, organised a Technical Training and Exposure Program for the Rubber Products Sector, at Tun Abdul Razake Research Center (TARRC), UK from 13 to 16 June for 11 representatives (technically qualified) from leading companies manufacturing and exporting rubber products including an officer from the Rubber Research Institute in Sri Lanka.
The companies participated were Global Rubber Industries Ltd., Elastomeric Engineering Co. Ltd., Textrip Ltd., Camso Loadstar Ltd., Ansell Lanka Ltd., Jafferjee Brothers Exports Ltd., Samson Rubber Industries Ltd., Marangoni Industrial Tyres Lanka Ltd., Eu-Retec Ltd. and Dipped Products PLC.
All representatives of the program were able to learn thermoplastic elastomers/vulcanizates, nano technology applications, advanced tyre testing methods, association of materials, reverse engineering and engineering design including mathematical modelling.
The objectives of this training/exposure program were to gain an understanding of the modern technology advancements in rubber technology, acquire practical experience in the use of rubber product testing using advanced equipment, and initiate interest in research and development of rubber technology and its applications.
Tun Abdul Razake Research Center (TARRC) – (Rubber Consultants) is a UK-based research and promotion centre of the Malaysian Rubber Board. TARRC provides rubber-based R&D, consultancy and laboratory services relating to elastomeric and polymer technology.
Rubber Consultants is the consultancy unit at TARRC and its scientific and engineering excellence is focused towards the advancement of the rubber industry through compounding and processing, materials and product development, engineering design, evaluation and testing and production technology.
They are experts in elastomeric and polymer technology with access to TARRC’s expertise and extensive facilities and have over 30 years of experience with a large and varied client base that includes a wide spectrum of industries. They also offer a broad selection of analytical testing – rubber testing including synthetic polymer testing, and some of the most competitive tyre testing facilities in the world including testing rigs for trucks and passenger tyres are all carried out in-house.
The rubber products sector in Sri Lanka is the fourth largest export earning sector and has established a reputation for quality and reliability. This industry is known to be a technology intensive industry and requires trained skilled personnel who have the experience on modern machinery and equipment, mature processing technology and high level of product development to keep in line with the global market trends such as growing importance of sustainability concepts and cost effective production processes.
An export of rubber products was $ 889 m, $ 761 m, and $ 768 m respectively in 2014, 2015 and 2016. There has been an increase in 2016, recording an increase of 0.91% over the previous year. The main export markets are USA, Germany, Belgium, Canada and Italy of which USA accounts for 32% ($ 245 m) of the total exports. The United Kingdom was imported the value added rubber products from Sri Lanka in 2016 to the value of $ 29 m.
In order to sustain and grow in the international market, the industry has to constantly upgrade the production processes, adapt and improve their products, invest in R&D, innovation, comply with standards and required certifications, new elastomeric and polymer technology, laboratory testing available in the world, etc.
EDB has implemented several types of programs to assist the industry and two such initiatives are the System Development Program to obtain ISO 14001(EMS) and 50001(EnMS) which is being implemented at present and a Financial Assistance Scheme to obtain relevant certifications/testing which are not available in Sri Lanka was implemented in the year 2015.