The Composites Technology Park was established during 2002 at Bangalore by the Government of India, Department of Science & Technology, under its Technology Mission on Composites, with the support of the State Government of Karnataka at total estimated cost of about US dollars 3.00 million, inclusive of cost of land (7-acres), plant and machinery etc.
The Composites Technology Park is well equipped with state of art facilities, including a
Technology Business Incubator, a Computer Aided Design Centre with specialized software
application packages, a Materials Analysis and Testing Laboratory, Polymer Glass Fibre Development & Training Centre, a Bamboo-Composites Development and Training Centre, a Coir-Composites Development and Training Centre plus several supporting facilities for tooling, moulding, fabrication and testing of composite products.
The Composites Technology Park is engaged in the design and
development of eco-friendly, light-weight and cost-effective composite product by drawing upon the knowledge and experience gained in the aerospace and defence R&D centres which are already located in the City for applications in the non-aerospace industrial and socio-economic sectors such as housing, building construction, transportation, energy and other infrastructure
development projects and programmes.
Taking note of the emergence of composite materials in recent times as the wonder, man-made materials of future and the competence that has been developed on design and development of advanced composite parts and components for aerospace and defence applications, particularly in
the R&D centres based at Bangalore, the Government of India, Department of Science &
Technology, New Delhi, had approved the establishment of Composites Technology Park as a unique national facility and the first of its kind in India at
Bangalore. Bangalore, the State’s capital, is already well-known throughout the world as the IT and Knowledge City of India, with more than 300 IT companies, both foreign and domestic, employing about nearly 200,000 professionals and exporting goods and services of over US$10 billions annually.
The main focus of activities in The Composites Technology Park
include: design and development of composite products based on
glass fibres and natural fibres, such as, bamboo, coir, jute etc., technology transfer, business incubation, entrepreneur development, training and demonstration and other associated activities.
The park sources the jute from Bengal, coir from Coimbatore and bamboo from Mizoram. By using an indigenous technology, it converts these materials into stylish products that can be used in urban well-to-do homes.
So far, nearly 200 number of polymer composite and natural fibre (bamboo and coir) composite products have been developed for applications in housing, building construction, transportation, energy and other infrastructure development projects which are of high priority to our country. It is worth mentioning here that the technology of design and manufacture of
FRP/composite doors and door frames has been patented.
The natural fibre based composite products that have been developed at the Technology Park include:
Bamboo-composite and coir-composite door shutters, door frames, roofing panels (to replace asbestos and tin sheets), wall panels, floor panels etc. This eco-friendly, cost-effective natural fibre
composite products have tremendous scope of applications to build low-cost houses and toilet units for the millions of homeless people not only in India but in most other developing countries in the Asia and Africa. These prefabricated structures can also be used to build schools, health centres and other community-oriented buildings in the backward, remote and rural areas.
Another application for the natural fibre composite products is in the area of disaster management, and emergency shelters could be erected at sites to rehabilitate people rendered homeless on
account of floods, earthquakes, fires and other disasters.
The technology is also capable of creating self-supporting small industries at the local levels with minimal machinery and tools and investments and of generating employment for millions of people in the developing countries.
The ’Composite Technology Park’ has shown how the mere concern over environmental issues can be transformed into a working reality that actually addresses the problem and provides a solution.
Composites, the wonder material with lightweight, high strength-to-weight ratio and stiffness properties have come a long way in replacing the conventional materials like metals, woods etc. The composite technology of a matrix reinforced with man-made fibres such as glass, Kevlar, carbon etc. after meeting the challenges of aerospace sector have cascaded down for catering to industrial and domestic applications. The composites offer some significant advantages to metals in many structural applications due to the flexibility of selecting various combinations of fiber reinforcement and resin matrix. It has been observed that a weight saving of over 27% is attainable in most of the structures.
Due to their lightweight coupled with high strength, composites can replace wooden & heavy metallic parts in transportation (automobiles & railways) thus directly contributing to energy savings. The usage of composites for bio-medical applications can be a boon to the patients for reducing the drudgery of carrying heavy weight.
Composites bestowed with unique advantages drew attention from the developed world towards
novel applications. The consumption of composites increased manifold in the last two decades especially in industrial & consumer applications. The Western Europe, USA & Japan enjoy major share of the world market of composites. While the usage of composites has been substantial in the advanced countries and newly developed economies, their application in India is yet to be fully exploited for large-scale end-use pattern. Purely for comparison, the per capita consumption of
composites in USA & China today stand at 5.6 Kgs. & 1.5 Kgs. respectively vis-à-vis that of 35
gms. in India.
While a rich expertise exists in a few national centres of excellence especially for aerospace
sector for limited consumption, the knowledge-flow to the industry has not come up to the desired level. The developmental efforts for finding newer composites for existing & novel applications assume an area of top priority. Assessing the status of composite industry in India, it was felt that there was an ardent requirement of a serious effort to boost the usage of composites through indigenous design capability, product development & testing. Any major penetration seemed unlikely unless it was taken up as a mission mode project with commitment from the Government.
To promote the usage of composites as an advanced performance material, Technology Development & Commercialization Mission on Advanced Composites was launched by the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India. Based on the earlier initiatives by Technology Information, Forecasting & Assessment Council (TIFAC) in promoting composite applications, the implementation of the Mission-mode programme was assigned to TIFAC. The
programme has been an attempt to enhance the utilisation & application of composites as an important performance material in various sectors on a technology incubation mode by improved
laboratory-industry-user linkages towards development &
commercialisation. Identifying this as a unique challenge towards developing marketable & sustainable products utilising the core
competence of India, TIFAC directed concerted efforts in the planning & management of the
Advanced Composites Mission programme.