CSIR News

 

VOL 53 NO 11, 15 JUNE 2003

ISSN : 0409-7467

 

 
CBRI appointed Consultant for Delhi Metro Rail Project

 

INTERNATIONAL Metro Civil Contractor (IMCC), New Delhi, has appointed the Central Building Research Institute (CBRI), Roorkee, to advise them on repairs and retrofitting of buildings situated above or near the central line of underground tunnels and in the vicinity of deep excavation for Metro stations, being done in Hauj Qazi area for operation of Delhi Metro Rails. The work consists of study of distress in the buildings in an area of 450x600 m, numbering 3000+ and suggesting repairs to ensure stability of these buildings while the tunneling and de‑watering is in progress. The predicted settlements of ground are expected to be 15 to 65 mm. As such the existing old building stock is expected to undergo extensive stress, endangering their safety. CBRI shall also assist IMCC for preparing contingency plan to combat any emergency during the course of underground activity.

 

 

Layout plan of Chawri Bazar

           

 

 

Work in progress in Hauj Qazi area for Delhi Metro Rails

 

This job is complex and challenging as the buildings in the specified zone range from single to four storey and are un‑engineered in every engineering sense. The survey revealed that the buildings do not have any defined system of building construction and foundations. Variety of construction materials, e.g. bricks, stones, wooden joists, planks and rolled steel sections, stone slabs, etc. are seen as one goes from ground to the upper floors, with least concern about the structural safety aspects. Many buildings are in dilapidated condition. It was also observed that even before the actual underground construction activity, the buildings had all kinds of distress, i.e. cracking in floors and walls, sinking of floors and walls, tilting of buildings at the lane inter section. Regular monitoring of all the suspected cracks, settlements and vulnerable locations is being done by fixing mechanical gages and regular visit to the buildings.

IMCC shall pay Rs 2.654 million to CBRI for these specialized scientific inputs.

 

 

NAL's Trisonic Wind Tunnel completes 30,000 blowdowns

 

ONE may wonder as to how would India's aerospace programmes have evolved if we didn't have the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), Bangalore's, extraordinary 1.2m´1.2m trisonic wind tunnel?

 

When this question was posed to colleagues at NAL, the answers ranged from the matter‑of‑fact (“look, there are a dozen supersonic wind tunnels worldwide, and managers of Indian aerospace programmes could easily have used any of these tunnels instead”), the guarded (“NAL's trisonic tunnel has certainly proved to be a very powerful catalytic influence”) the effusive (“NAL's trisonic tunnel truly laid the foundations for India's remarkable, and now burgeoning, aerospace programmes and successes”) to the blunt (“if NAL hadn't built the tunnel, someone else would have had to build it instead!”).

 

Happily, this question need only remain a subject of speculation because the NAL trisonic wind tunnel is already around – actually, has been around for 34 years – and it has just completed its 30,000th blowdown.

 

        A view of the wind tunnel at NAL

 

So this is really the moment to celebrate the wonderful run of an outstanding national facility. The celebration took place on 30 April 2003. The function, capably compered by Dr G. K. Suryanarayana (“Suri”) opened with the invocation by Mr H. S. Subramanya; this was followed by a very comprehensive and well‑structured exposition on the tunnel's history, successes and future expansion plans by Mr V. Kanagarajan, Head, NTAF. Dr B. R. Pai, Director, paid a warm tribute to the trisonic tunnel and the “many stalwarts of the wind tunnel community” who had assembled to join the celebrations.

 

Dr T. G. Pai, Distinguished Scientist, ADA, was one of the speakers on behalf of the tunnel's user community: “I am one of the tunnel's satisfied customers; the LCA programme has been a great beneficiary”, he said. Dr Pai also expressed his satisfaction at the very good comparisons obtained between the tunnel and LCA flight data. Mr Paneerselvan, speaking on behalf of DRDO establishments, graciously acknowleded both the design and testing support that he received from NAL's wind tunnel teams. Mr K. S. Raman, Deputy Head, NTAF, proposed the vote of thanks.

 

The participants then moved to the tunnel complex to witness the 30,000th blowdown, initiated by Dr B. R. Pai. “Even as we walked across, the roar of the LCA TD‑1 and TD‑2 aircraft flying in tandem echoed through the skies. As we looked upwards, it felt nice to note that NAL's great wind tunnel too had contributed amply to LCA's spectacular success”, says Dr Srinivas Bhogle, the contributor of this news item.

 

 

 

NAL‑built Radome for Doppler Weather Radar of ISRO‑ISTRAC performing admirably

 

THE National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), Bangalore – in particular its erstwhile FRP Pilot Plant – has been building radomes (domes that house radar equipment) for over 25 years now. These radomes have been installed at a dozen different locations in the country – many of them near the Indian coastline – and continue to perform well.

 

So when ISRO‑ISTRAC approached NAL a few years ago with the proposal to build yet another radome, to house its Doppler weather radar, NAL readily accepted the project even though it was clear that the project would involve a considerable technical challenge. First, the radome was really big, with a diameter of 12.88 m. Even NAL hadn't built something as large as that before! Second, this was the first time that the radome would be truly spherical ‑‑‑ because it would employ curved panels.

 

NAL-built radome for Doppler Weather Radar of ISRO

 

Among the first task was to decide about the number of panels (a combination of hexagonal and pentagonal panels) to build such a large radome. The team concerned with  the antenna's field (EM) performance wanted to see as few panels as possible, while the team actually responsible for fabrication of the panels was more comfortable with a greater number of small panels so that individual panels were not uncomfortably large to build. The fact that the radome was to house a rather large (about 9 m diameter) antenna reflector was also a factor to be considered while resolving the conundrum. Eventually it was decided to build a radome with about 150 panels.

 

The second vexing question was about the thickness of individual panels. Teams involved in structural analysis and integrity obviously wanted sufficiently thick and strong panels that would withstand the different loads, including those caused by cyclones and high speed winds. The team fabricating the panels preferred relatively thin panels because thin panels meant fewer lay‑ups and less effort. The team calculating the optimal EM performance cautioned that panel thickness was intimately linked to performance and that the panel thickness can only be chosen from a small number of pre‑determined values.

 

Fabricating the curved sandwitch panels itself constituted a significant challenge and required the team at the FRP Division to come up with several innovative technological solutions (some based on the team's experience in fabricating Hansa aircraft). As the fabrication progressed, and the radome was assembled piece by piece around the antenna reflector, excitement mounted. Finally, only one top (pentagonal) piece of the curved jigsaw puzzle remained to be fitted. Would the last panel fit right? It did! It was an impeccable fit, much to the delight of the NAL teams looking anxiously upwards.

 

This of course wasn't the end of the adventure. There were many months of testing, hampered by several factors including unseasonal rains, and perhaps a petulant sandalwood tree, on LRDE's testing site. Then it took a while before the radome could be shipped to its permanent home at Sriharikota and successfully installed atop a huge building housing the testing and observation facility.

 

The radome went up in May 2002 and has performed admirably during its first year. In fact, so admirably that NAL was asked if it could build three more radomes—this time with fewer (66), and therefore, larger individual panels. NAL agreed, of course. After being in the business for so long you don't shy away from the next adventure

 

 

                                                                        - Dr Srinivas Bhogle

 

 
Technology transferred, Sponsored Projects taken up and Technical Services rendered by CECRI

 

THE technology transferred, sponsored projects taken up and the technical services rendered by the Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI), Karaikudi, during January‑February 2003, include:

 

Technology Transfer

Sponsored Projects

Technical Services

 

 

NAL signs MoU with Sangeeth Group to develop Wind Turbine

THE National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), Bangalore and Sangeeth Group of Companies, Pogalur, Coimbatore District, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 26 March 2003 that, as Dr J. J. Isaac, Head, Wind Energy Programme explained, could result in a very happy consequence for both the parties. The Sangeeth Group, following a tie‑up with the helicopter manufacturing giant Carter, set up a wind farm site at Nagerkovil some years ago. Some wind turbine blades in this farm have now been damaged leading to a disruption in the Group's operations. Under the MoU, NAL has offered to undertake a complete aerodynamic, material and structural analysis of the existing  rotor blades, design and manufacture of  two fresh (improved) fibre glass turbine blades and hand them over to Sangeeth Group with the appropriate moulds, instrumentation and documentation. The Sangeeth Group gains because there is a promise of resuming full‑capacity wind farm operations and because of the prospect of completely indigenizing their wind mill manufacture (the Group has already indigenized all wind mill component manufacture except the rotor blades).<%‑2> NAL gains because the Sangeeth Group will offer a splendid test bed for sophisticated experiments in wind energy. But basically it is a challenging exercise because, as Dr R. M. V. G. K. Rao, Head, FRP Division, pointed out, “these rotor blades are huge and sufficiently complex. So designing and building them is going to be no cake walk<%0>”

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Fifth Indo-German Seminar on Chemical Modification of Surfaces and Electro‑catalysis

 

THE fifth Indo‑German Seminar on Chemical Modification of Surfaces and Electro‑catalysis was held at the Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI), Karaikudi, during 29‑31 January 2003.

 

Speaking on the occasion, Dr M. Raghavan, Indian Coordinator and Director, CECRI, explained the relevance of the seminar to the on‑going activities of CECRI, which pertain to electro‑catalysis, fuel cells, functionalized electrodes, sensors, etc., and also emphasized the need for such bilateral collaborative research efforts especially with advanced nations like Germany. He expressed confidence that this seminar would lead to a strong rapport between the scientists and laboratories of the two countries and pave way for closer interactions.

 

Fifth Indo-German Seminar on Chemical Modification of Surfaces and Electro-catalysis in progress

 

 

Dr V. Yegnaraman, Convener and Head, Electrodics and Electro‑catalysis Division of CECRI, welcomed the delegates and briefed about the salient features of the seminar, which was organized under the sponsorship of Indian National Science Academy (INSA), New Delhi and the German Research Organisation (DFG).

 

Dr Andreas Bund, German Coordinator and Professor from Dresden University of Technology, while offering felicitations pointed out the underlying importance of the theme chosen for this seminar and its relevance to basic and applied research. He called upon the electrochemists to focus on areas like new materials, fuel cells and sensors, and expressed his strong desire to further the interactions between the two nations in the area of electrochemical science and technology.

 

Dr P. Thirunavukkarasu, Scientist and Head, Seminar and Training Section of CECRI, proposed the vote of thanks.

 

The seminar had three technical sessions, in which 22 invited lectures were delivered by German and Indian experts. A poster session was also organized in which 14 technical papers were presented and discussed. The posters exhibited some of the current research activities of CECRI pertaining to the theme of the seminar and also facilitated one‑to‑one interactions between the authors and delegates.

 

A discussion meeting was arranged on the concluding day in which the German delegates and heads of all divisions and sections of CECRI participated. Dr M. Raghavan, initiated the discussions and pointed out the strong knowledgebase available in India and Germany in the area of electrochemical science and technology and also recalled the long association between the two countries. He fervently hoped that the bilateral interactions would be further strengthened and more collaborative projects would emerge. This was followed by presentations by the CECRI scientists who explained briefly the activities pursued in their divisions/sections. Subsequently, the German delegates spoke about their research activities and indicated the areas in which collaborative efforts could be explored.

 

 

International Symposium on Advances in Electrochemical Science and Technology (ISAEST‑VII)

 

ORGANIZED by the Society for Advancement of Electrochemical Science and Technology (SAEST) in collaboration with the Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI), Karaikudi, the Seventh International Symposium on Advances in Electrochemical Science and Technology (ISAEST‑VII) was recently held in Chennai.

 

Prof. V. N. Rajasekharan Pillai, Director, N AAC- Bangalore, delivering his address at ISAEST-VII

 

The inaugural function was presided over by Shri M. Manickam, Managing Director, M/s Sakthi Sugars Ltd and President of the Society. Prof. V. N. Rajasekharan Pillai, Director, National Assessment and Accreditation Council, Bangalore was the Chief Guest. Dr R. M. Krishnan, Vice President, SAEST, welcomed the gathering. Dr P. Jayakrishnan, Chairman, Membership Committee and Souvenir Committee, read out the messages received on the occasion. Inaugurating the symposium, Dr M. Raghavan, Director, CECRI, highlighted the role played by electrochemists in developing eco‑friendly technologies and indicated the expected future trends in electrochemistry. Prof. Rajasekharan Pillai stressed the need for active participation of younger generation in this field. He also declared open the Electrochemical Industries Fair at the conference. Shri Ramachandra, Vice President, M/s Amara Raja Batteries, Tirupati, released the souvenir and abstracts of the presentations at the symposium. Prof. Doron Aurbach, Bar Ilan University, Israel, released the proceedings of full text of papers presented at the symposium.  Mr Steven Eckert, M/s Bitrode Corporation, USA, released the CD on the proceedings.

 

Shri S. Ramachandra, M/s Amara Raja Batteries, Tirupati;  Shri K. N. Sankara Narayanan, Managing Director, M/s Senka Carbon Private Ltd, Chennai; Shri S. Vijayarajan, Managing Director, M/s Supertech Battery Components P. Ltd, Bangalore; and Shri M. V. Murugappan, Executive Chairman, M/s Carborundum Universal Ltd, Chennai; offered felicitations. Earlier, Shri G. Govindarajan, Scientist‑in‑charge, CECRI Madras unit, briefed about the firms participating in the industrial fair. Dr R. Pattabiraman, Scientist, CECRI, and Secretary, SAEST, proposed the vote of thanks.

 

Internationally renowned experts from India and overseas participated and 45 invited lectures were delivered in nine disciplines: Basic Electrochemistry, Corrosion Science and Engineering, Electrochemical Power Sources, Electrochemicals and Electrometallurgy, Industrial Metal Finishing, Devices and Software, New Materials in Electrochemical Systems, Solid State Electrochemistry and Electrochemistry and Environment.

 

Attended by 226 delegates hailing from industries, research organizations and academic institutions from India, 46 delegates from South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Italy, Poland, Canada, USA, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and New Zealand, the symposium had 20 technical sessions.  Seventy‑nine research papers were presented as oral presentations and 221 papers were presented as posters.

 

The last session, on Electrochemicals, was dedicated to late Dr H. V. K. Udupa, former Director of CECRI, President of SAEST and one of the founder members of SAEST. A function was arranged to offer tributes to Prof. Udupa.  Prof. K. I. Vasu, former Director of CECRI and former President of SAEST, presided over. Dr V. K. Venkatesan and Dr K. S. Udupa, retd. Scientists of CECRI and former Vice President and Secretary of SAEST spoke on the occasion. A brochure `Tributes to Dr H. V. K. Udupa' was also released on the occasion.

 

The Industries Fair was well participated by 12 industrial outfits and research institutes including CECRI, who  displayed their new products and equipment.

 

 

Leather Research‑Industry Get‑together: 2003

 

THE Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI), Chennai, organized the thrity‑seventh Leather Research – Industry Get‑together (LERIG), during 27‑30 January 2003. The theme of the LERIG was `Global Benchmarks for Leather Sector'. The get‑together was inaugurated by Prof. V.S. Ramamurthy, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology; Dr S. Ramachandran, Chairman of CLRI Research Council, presided over the inaugural function.

 

Welcoming the delegates, Dr T. Ramasami, Director, CLRI, spoke about the important role played by LERIGs in providing a platform for interaction among all the stake holders of the leather sector.

 

Dr D. Kebschull, Director, IGEP, expressed that LERIG should work for the growth of Indian leather industry which generates incomes for about 2.5 million people in this country.

 

Mr Rafeeq Ahmed, President, Farida Group, focused on the growing Chinese syndrome across all sectors including leather. There is a need to develop altogether a different approach to face the competition from China. Cluster development and outsourcing may be the possible options. It is equally important to strengthen the Indian finished leather sector which has established itself the best name in the global market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inaugural function of Leather Research Industry Get-together (LERIG-2003) : 

Left : View of the dais Å Prof. V.S. Ramamurthy, Secretary, DST (middle) inaugurated

Right: A section of the audience

 

 

Mr Mohd. Hashim, Chairman, K.H. Group, dealt with the environmental issues, particularly relevant to Tamil Nadu. The state's leather industry contributes close to 40% of India's exports and it has invested Rs 1300 million to establish effluent treatment facilities in 631 tanneries through CETPs and 140 tanneries through ETPs. It is the only state, which is able to meet effluent discharge norms except TDS. The norm for TDS is very complex and TN industry is able to bring down the TDS level to 6000ppm. But it is not found to be acceptable to TNPCB who is insisting on RO system and in this the industry in TN needs help, Mr Hashim added.

 

Dr S. Ramachandran in his presidential address cautioned that there is no need to chase China. Instead, it is necessary to develop our own strategy for development. Environmental aspects should be built into cost systems, he opined.

 

In his inaugural address, Prof. V.S. Ramamurthy endorsed the view expressed by Dr Ramachandran that India should develop its own strategy based on the economic and social realities. He complimented CLRI for building a synergy between research, industry and government, and also presented mementoes to the award‑winners of Mod Europe colours and designs.

 

Shri G. Swaminathan proposed a vote of thanks.

 

The get‑together comprised a theme session, seven technical sessions, two platform presentations (by M/s Srushti and M/s Alphasys), a round table on Environment and Social Audit and a poster session, besides the valedictory function. `B.M. Das Memorial Lecture' was also arranged as part of the get‑together.

 

 

 

 

View of the exposition of leather goods held during LERIG-2003

 

 

B.M. Das Memorial Lecture

 

The lecture on `Market Intelligence — A prerequisite to developing countries for creating a healthy and successful competition' was delivered by Mr Karsten Schutt, M.D. Diechmann Group, Germany. The session was presided over by Dr G. Thyagarajan, former Director of CLRI.

 

In his opening remarks, Dr Thyagarajan paid rich tributes to Prof. B. M. Das who dreamt the glory of leather research in India. While speaking on the topic of the lecture, i.e., `Market intelligence', Dr Thyagarajan emphasized the importance of `Market Research' and the potential opportunities in European Union.

 

Mr  K. Schutt began his lecture with a brief profile of his company. Diechmann, he said, markets 90 million pairs of footwear annually through 2000 retail outlets spread across Europe. Supplies are sourced from Asia (60%) and Europe (40%). The major supplying countries from Asia are Vietnam, China, India and from Europe, Italy, Spain, Rumania. The two important factors responsible for the success of footwear industry in Asian countries such as China, Vietnam are: Development of Footwear Industry Clusters, and Intensive micro‑level market intelligence. The cluster approach has significantly contributed to the growth of the footwear industry. Availability of components, materials, labour coupled with best infrastructure has enabled the industry to improve its competitive strength in terms of cost, delivery and access to the services. Networking of all facilities has provided a unique advantage for the growth.

 

The market‑specific information strengthens the ability of the company. This may cover composition of human population, identification of target groups, economic scenario, familiarity with trade formalities, participation in the fairs, etc. It is also necessary to recognize the emerging market requirements from the angles of environment and social issues, Mr Schutt concluded.

 

 

Theme Session : Benchmarks on Resource Productivity

 

Chairing the session, Shri Mohan Srinivas urged for developing India‑specific strategy and emphasized the need for proper utilization of raw material and for making efforts towards `zero water tanning'.

 

Dr T. Ramasami made an elaborate presentation on the concept of productivity and related issues. The focus was on tangible and nontangible factors. The integrated value of resource inputs would appropriately represent utilization. The target for unit value gain is set as US $ 3.5 per sq. ft of leather and money cycle value as over 4 times a year.

 

Shri Audiseshaiah spoke on Benchmarks for Finance and Infrastructure Productivity. He presented an analysis of the various aspects pertaining to physical infrastructure—industrial parks, roads, power, etc. and enabling infrastructure – clearances, labour laws, shipping, custom/excise, etc. Making a comparison between India and China, he opined that on all fronts, China scored much higher than India except in R&D. In the case of R&D, Chinese industry spent 0.3% of production value whereas in India, it is done by CLRI, FDDI, etc. The cost of export finance is relatively low in most Asian countries as compared to India. The suggestions made by him include special economic zones, setting up of shoe cities, improvement of ports, realistic labour laws, etc.

 

Shri Ramesh Subramaniam dealt the issue of labour productivity. He wondered as to why the technology has not penetrated into the raw material grading and pricing. The challenges of the leather industry are falling demand, over capacity, price competetion, innovation and retail sourcing. The focus areas are strategic sourcing and new technology. Labour productivity could be enhanced through training, special purpose machines, effective planning. According to him the future course of action should have increased transparency, employment of specialists, share data across factories, etc. Mapping up of resources was also emphasized.

 

The issues concerning the environmental, social and employment of qualified technologists also came for discussion.

 

Session I: Resource Audit – Chemicals

 

The session commenced with a lecture by Dr Gerhard Wolf, BASF, Germany, on `Ecological aspects of leather finishing'. Dr Wolf gave a comprehensive view of the aspects of finishing and stressed the need to identify effluent quality and residual monomers in leather and chemical manufacturing processes. Environmental concerns relating to chemicals in finishing include heavy metals, alkyl‑tin compounds, alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEO), emission of volatile organic compounds (VOC), N‑methylpyrrolidone (NMP), residual formaldehyde and hazardous crosslinkers.

 

In the area of pigments there is a need to replace pigments like lead chromate and bismuth vanadate. Ecological pigment preparation requires that they are free of VOC, solvent emissions, NMP, APEO, formaldehyde and heavy metal content. Replacement of heavy metal pigments by organic pigments has been possible.

 

Leathers coming into contact with polyurethane can be contaminated with alkyl tin compounds. TBT‑free polyurethanes are now available in the market. APEO are effective surfactants which perform well as emulsifiers. The ban on APEO varies from country to country. Chemical houses need to supply APEO‑free acrylic blinders and pigments. VOC emission from finishing has been kept under control in recent years through product and process modifications. Low VOC finishing based on water‑based compounds and modifications to the application technology are being developed. The use of NMP has been banned through a Proposition by the State of California since 2001. NMP finds use in finishing as co‑emulsifier and solubilizer. It is today possible to reduce NMP content to below 0.5%. Optimization studies carried out by BASF indicate that VOC can be brought down to below 70 g/m2 from around 200 today.

 

Developments over the years can be grouped under short‑term and long‑term projects. Short‑term projects include low VOC systems, intelligent crosslinking agents, application equipment optimization and identifying harmful substances. Long‑term projects could be to adopt powder coating and crosslinking via UV curing, explained Dr Wolf.

 

Mr Tim Amos of Stahl India Ltd presented a brief overview of how leather processing would be in the year 2003 and beyond, in India. Leather, he said, has moved away from being the first choice for shoes, garments and accessories. Chemical manufacturers are looking for specifications and performance, fashion content, applications of production technology and the environment. Also, better performance demands for various leather products are increasing day by day. Waterproofness, breathability, flame retardancy, stretch and recovery, alcohol resistance and oil (grease/sweat) resistance are being demanded. Specifications vary with product type, while no typical specifications exist for furniture leathers, adhesion, rub fastness, etc. are being considered important. Shoe upper leathers require stringent testing for water repellency. The customer expects his products to remain new forever. Fashion and comfort parameters are important even in products like walking shoes, gloves, etc.

 

High performance products include PU‑based coat resins, water‑based topcoats, high quality pigments and cross‑linkers.

 

Upgradation today is key to business. To combine fashion with upgradtion gives market niche. Cationic finishes, opaque binders and polymatte tops to maintain softness and flexibility are being considered in today's world. Changes in application technologies like use of roller coats for base, top coats and to bring out various effects and designs on leathers are on the anvil. Other improvements include HVLP spray guns, embossing, automation, tannery layouts and training of personnel.

 

Mr Amos stressed on the need to build on the strengths of India. It is essential to make such types of leathers which can be delivered on time. Aggressive marketing and selling at profitable rates are needed. Tanners, suppliers and end users need to work together. Finally, the world will not come to the tanner but he needs to go to them, and must respect the environment, Mr Amos stressed.

 

Dr J. Raghava Rao, CLRI, stressed the importance of controlling total dissolved solids in leather processing. He opined that the do‑undo cycles in tanning involving pickling and basification is responsible for the high pollution load. He presented the outcome of a research work carried out by CLRI on two environment benign products – Ecosyn and Ecochrome. Ecosyn is based on an organo polymeric matrix and provides a possibility to avoid pickling during tanning. Ecochrome is a chrome syntan with an organo polymeric matrix. The ideal conditions for tanning as optimized by the institute were presented and reductions in BOD, COD, total solids, chlorides and sulphates were discussed. While chrome exhaustion improved from 70 to 94%, a 90% reduction in chlorides and 85% reduction in total dissolved solids is possible through the use of these products. The use of these products resulted in improved fullness and lighter shades. There was also a possibility to decrease the offer of post‑tanning chemicals and in turn a saving to the tune of Rs 1600 per tonne of leather processed through the use of these syntans.

 

The Chairman, Dr T. Ramasami in his concluding remarks emphasized the need to avoid both bulk chemicals and performance chemicals which cause extensive pollution. He stressed that the chemical companies need to develop products which do not come under the ecobans without affecting the performance. Dangers associated from minor compounds like TBT is considered serious by western world, while reduction of TDS at source was important to the tanners in India. There is a need to work on reduction of pollution and pollutants from leather chemicals, he added.

 

Session 2: Trade Practices

 

In his opening remarks, the Chairman of this session, Dr D. Kebshull indicated the need for creating a conducive atmosphere for business by the government. While the government is insisting that ecological and social issues should not be linked to trade, the leading companies like Diechmann, Nike have set their own agenda for business.

 

Shri Venkataraman traced the history of Indian economic policy and also that of WTO. He dealt with the issue of wage structure. Restructuring of companies, SSI units becoming holding companies, popularization of brand names are some of the suggestions offered by him to strengthen the Indian leather sector.

 

Shri Sunil Rallan spoke on Global Trade Practices and the new shifting paradigm. The focus was on internal and external threats. Lack of infrastructure, irrational tax policies, irrational labour laws, inspector raj are some of the internal constraints. China factor is the major external threat.

 

Shri G.K. Devarajan suggested that Indian industry should set its own standards in terms of transparency, understanding and respecting customers, ethical trade practices, etc.

There was a brief discussion on Technical Barriers to trade and level playing field. The need for looking into inward and correcting the constraints was stressed.

 

Session 3 was a platform presentation by Srushti.

 

Session 4: System Productivity

 

Dr S. Ramachander spoke on Total System Productivity. It is appropriate, he pointed out, to look at productivity from broader sense and not just from input and output ratios. This is particularly critical since large portion of Indian Leather Industry is in the hands of entrepreneurs as family business. He dealt with the issues of adding value to the company, facets of strategy, developing strategy, effective innovation, etc. His focus was on doing things faster, doing things differently and doing different things.

 

Shri A. Sahasranaman made an analysis of System Productivity from the angles of firm, industry, country and at global level. He suggested an action plan covering: Raw Materials – collection/handling systems and standardization of trade practices; Inputs – outsourcing and vendor development; Finance – closer interaction with banks; Legal Compliances – Environment and OSH aspects; Image – brand promotion by firm; HRM & D – attract and retain talents; Roads and Ports – link clusters with ports.

 

Shri Mohan Srinivas presented his own company's experience on bench marking system for leather garment industry. He covered the aspects: social auditing, material sourcing, vendor development and human resources.

 

The session discussed how to disseminate the best practices to the large section of industry which needs expertise. In the concluding remarks, the Chairman, Shri Rafeeq Ahmed emphasized the need for new ideas for the existing managements.

 

Session 5: People Productivity

 

The session commenced with the remarks by the chairman, Shri Shafeeq Ahmed who said that the people productivity should be looked in terms of direct output from the people involved in all aspects of manufacture and marketing.

 

Shri Timo Niklas Salminen gave a brief overview of the definitions involved in measuring people productivity. The operating environment for defining people productivity varies and industries can be classified as industrial age organizations and information age organizations. Industrial age organizations are characterized by specialized functional skills, most often inefficiencies, hand‑offs and slow response processes. They worked with the customer and suppliers at arms length. Information age organizations on the other hand tend to integrate processes that cut across business functions, combine specialization with speed, efficiency and quality. IT enables information age organizations to go global, enormous savings in cost, quality improvements and quick response time. They offer customized products with no additional costs.

 

Innovation is required in anticipating future needs of customers, devising new products and service offerings and also in continuous upgradation.

 

Organizations are turning in for improvements through several measures including JIT and relationship marketing. New success factors include strategic relationships, developing a reputation for trust, integrity, environmental and social accountability, developing new products and servicing quickly and globally. Continuous improvement and educated and motivated manpower are the other elements of success.

 

He defined people productivity as reward to stakeholder/contribution by stakeholders. Enterprise and its stakeholders form a sort of ecosystem with dynamic two‑way linkage.

A balanced scorecard is essential in managing change. This includes financial, customer, internal‑business process, learning and growth perspectives. Altogether, balanced scorecard translates vision and strategy into objectives and measures across a balanced set of perspectives.

Shri Snehdeep Aggarwal called for a change in mindset. First amongst the tanners – who need to set their minds for higher productivity and quality. The next, among the policy makers to enable global competitiveness. There is a need to learn from how the practitioners of trade outside India work instead of considering them as rivals. A mindset to adopt from the best available globally is required to improve people productivity.

 

Shri Raja Chidambaram discussed the Performance Management as a system comprising planning, performing, measuring and improving. The various factors involved in costing, quality measurements, flexibility measurements and time were highlighted. He said that the approach plan to measure people productivity is to align productivity with business goals and strategies. An integration of productivity with ISO and ERP is also essential. He concluded by saying that it is not sufficient to benchmark oneself with the best in one's own trade but the global best in all trades. A characteristic example of Motorola who benchmarked their manufacturing lead time against that of `Domino Pizza' (who ensured delivery in the said time or else gave the product free to the customer) was given.

 

The Co‑chairman Shri Subramanian summed up the presentations made by the three speakers and emphasized the need to benchmark people productivity against the global best not just in leather but in other industries as well.

 

Session 6: Resource Audit – Machines and Materials

 

The Chairman of the Session Shri Satheesh Jadav in his presentation focused the importance of raw material production. He explained through a film how the animals are fattened and taken care of for good quality meat and hide production in Europe, and suggested such a system for buffalo – calf fattening and meat production, which is suitable in Indian context.

Shri Uma Chander spoke on the importance of leather soles and their growing market, and also described cost‑efficient production systems for a country like India.

 

Shri Vipin Seth gave an overview of footwear component industry in India and its recent growth, including exports to countries like Bangladesh, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.

 

The audience was also informed about the proposal for establishment of Component Parks in Noida and Chennai.

 

Session 7 was a presentation by M/s Aphasys

 

Session 8: Environmental Practices

 

Following the opening remarks by Dr H.P. Germann, the session had presentation on `Major integrated environmental system for relocation of 540 tanneries in Kolkata City' by Dr S Rajamani, `Utilization of total dissolved solids by tannery effluent irrigation' by Dr CA Money, `Solid wastes – A challenge for European tanners' by Mr H Munz, and `Facts on tannery effluents' by Mr Herbert Ernekl.

 

Recommendations

 

The important observations/recommendations made include:

 

Unit value realization >3.5$/sq.ft

Capacity utilization in factories>75%

Cutting value from leathers>>70%

The ratio of value gained to cost of material >2

Money cycle time >4‑8 (varyingwith the nature of subsegment, viz. finished leather, footwear, leather garments and leather goods

 

 

NEERI Foundation Day

 

THE National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur, celebrated its forty‑fourth Foundation Day on 8 April 2003. Prof. S.J. Arceivala, former Director, NEERI and former Chairman Emeritus, Montgomery Watson Consultant India, was the Chief Guest. In his keynote address on 'Indian Environment', Prof. Arceivala emphasized the importance of motivation for the success of any project through capacity building and community empowerment. He stressed the need for decentralization of wastewater treatment and disposal of municipal solid waste and said that this needs to be examined thoroughly. The three important areas in which NEERI  will have to play an important role in future, according to him, are Water, Wastewater and Health. Prof. Arceivala in his concluding remarks made some important forecasts and said that air pollution will become a thing of the past in metro cities, with cars being operated on fuel cells, two‑ & three‑wheelers running on battery and public transport operating on CNG. He further said that in future genetically engineered microbes will be used to speed up the process of biodegradation.

 

 

 

 

Prof. S.J. Arceivala, former Director, NEERI, deivering the keynote address; and Prof. V.K. Gaur, Distinguished Professor, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore and other visitors at CSIR Diamond Jubilee Exhibition organized at the Foundation Day of NEERI

 

Earlier, Dr R.N. Singh, Director, NEERI, in his welcome address gave an overview of NEERI's work. He said that the institute's work was basically of two types. First being the societal mission when the industry was given cost‑effective technologies for optimal production and environmental conservation. Another direction of work of NEERI was based on innovations in environmental technologies. NEERI, Dr Singh added, has expanded its focus from use of chemical processes to biochemical processes. From protecting the environment, the stress has shifted to conservation of environment and eco development. Dr Singh gave an account of ongoing and proposed projects which included EIA projects, Sethusamudram project, assessment of water quality in 35 cities, Bombay air quality surveillance and solid waste management of some cities, interlinking of rivers and others.

 

Coinciding with the occasion of NEERI Foundation Day, a CSIR Diamond Jubilee Exhibition, showcasing glorious 60 years of CSIR, was organized during 6‑10 April, 2003 at NEERI. This exhibition was inaugurated by Prof. V.K. Gaur, Distinguished Professor, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore and Chairman, Research Council of NEERI. The response to this exhibition was overwhelming.

 

 

Executive Training Programme on Role of Ventilation in Production, Productivity and Safety in Mines with Special Reference to Mine Fire

 

THE Central Mining Research Institute (CMRI), Dhanbad, organized an Executive Training Programme on 'Role of Ventilation in Production, Productivity and Safety in Mines with Special Reference to Mine Fire' during 21‑25 April 2003.

Inaugurating the programme, Shri S.K. Gupta, Head of the BDIL Services of the institute, described coal mine fire as a national challenge. Stating that several million tonnes of coal has so far been devoured by mine fire in Jharia coalfield alone, he stressed the urgency of adopting proper ventilation systems based on R&D, for dealing with the problem of mine fire and, thereby, increasing production, productivity and safety in mines.

 

Shri S.K. Gupta delivering the inaugural address at the Executive Training Programme on 'Role of Ventilation in Production, Productivity and Safety in Mines with Special Reference to Mine Fire' . Seated on dais (from left) are: Dr M.S. Alam, Dr B. Kumar, Dr V.K. Singh, and Shri N. Sahay

 

 

Dr Bijay Kumar, Scientist‑in‑Charge, Human Resource Development (HRD) Group, CMRI, and Convener of the training programme, in his address explained that the programme was designed with a view to updating the participating executives from the coal industry with the latest knowledge and methodologies for improving mine ventilation and controlling fire.

 

Shri N. Sahay, Head, Mine Ventilation Division of CMRI and Co‑ordinator of the programme, introduced the course contents. In this context he said, "Comfortable ventilation condition in a mine largely depends on increased fan capacity. But, in our country, there are many mines which are at shallow depths and have become extensive. In this situation, use of high capacity fan as conventional cure of ventilation problem leads to many problems. The course would also discuss how to cope with such situation".

 

Dr M.S. Alam, Scientist, HRD, CMRI, coordinated the function, and Dr V.K. Singh, Head of the Mine Fire Division of CMRI  Coordinator of the training programme, proposed a vote of thanks

Dr A. Sinha, Head, Geo‑mechanics and Mine Design Group, presided over the valedictory function of this 5-day programme..

 

National Biosciences Award to Dr M. I. Khan

DR Mohammed Islam Khan, Scientist, Division of Biochemical Sciences, National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune, has been recently selected for the `National Biosciences Award for Career Development' by the Department of Biotechnology for his contributions to the field of glycobiology and bionanotechnology.

 

Dr Khan has made seminal contributions to the area of glycobiology, especially lectin‑biology. He has shown that lectins from microbes are involved in various cell‑adhesion processes, such as flocculation in yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiai) as well as adhesion to plant root surfaces. The adhesion to plant surfaces is the first step in phytopathogenesis.

 

Dr Khan and his associates have demonstrated that minor change in the active site geometry of a lectin can lead to significant changes in the carbohydrate specificity of these proteins. In Artocarpus hirsuta lectin, a single argemine residue protruding in the active site alters the sugar specificity from T‑antigen disaccharide to <F128M>a<F255D>‑galactose monosaccharide. His work with the carbohydrate degrading enzymes has clearly delineated the mechanism of these enzymes and the various amino acid side chains that are involved in catalysis.

 

Dr Khan and his associates are currently involved in using fungi for the synthesis of metal‑metal sulphides/metal oxide nanoparticles. They have been able to synthesize these nanoparticles extracellularly for the first time. The process for the extracellular synthesis of nanoparticles involves enzymes of the sulphate reductaes pathway and capping proteins and peptides.

 

Dr Khan after his M.Sc. (Biochemistry) in 1978, worked at IICB, Kolkata and IISc., Bangalore, for his Ph.D. which was awarded by Aligarh Muslim University in 1986. He worked as a Post‑doctoral Fellow at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, USA, from 1987 to 1990. Dr Khan joined NCL in 1990. He has been to the University of Gottingen, Germany, as a DBT Overseas Associate in 2000‑2001. He is recipient of the INSA Young Scientist Award in Biological Sciences (1987) and CSIR Young Scientist Award in Biological Sciences (1992). He is a Fellow of National Academy of Sciences, Allahabad; Maharashtra Academy of Sciences, Pune; and Muslim Association for Advancement of Sciences, Aligarh.

 

 

CSIR's New HRD Initiative : CSIR Diamond Jubilee Research Interns Awards
Background

 

UNDER the CSIR's present JRF programme, post M.Sc. and B.Tech. students can join a lab for doing Ph.D. or other R&D work based on only centralized tests such as NET or GATE. Yet, there are many young and qualified men and women who are creative, have passion and desire to pursue scientific research, but do not get the opportunity to participate in R&D because of their inability to qualify NET or GATE. Also, a need was being voiced by diverse sections of society to cultivate the spirit of research and development locally, in the catchment areas of CSIR laboratories.

 

On the occasion of Diamond Jubilee celebrations of CSIR on 26th September 2002, the Minister for Science & Technology announced the launching of a new scheme, CSIR Diamond Jubilee Research Interns Awards. He mentioned that as a demonstration of its commitment to the building of manpower resource in science, CSIR would meet the expenses on the scheme from its own resources. And that this award would serve as an excellent preparatory ground for incoming Interns to demonstrate their interest in scientific research as well as for qualifying and securing other research fellowships. Approved by the Governing Body of CSIR at its meeting held on 17 February 2003, the scheme has become effective from 1 April 2003.

 

Aims and Objectives

 

The `Internship' is meant to be a preparatory phase for young Interns in imbibing the spirit of enquiry and learning the tools and techniques of research through participation and doing. The scheme thus seeks for young Interns:

Eligibility

Applicant for the award should be:

(a) Bachelor's degree holder in Engineering/ Technology / Architecture / Pharmacy

(b) Master's degree holder in any branch of Science

(c) MBBS degree holder

And should have secured Ist class or equivalent GPA in the above mentioned degree examination.

The age limit for the applicants is 25 years (as on the last date of receiving applications), which is relaxable up to 5 years in case of SC/ST, physically handicapped, OBC and female candidates.

 

Mode of Selection

 

The Internship awards are decentralized. CSIR laboratories and its Headquarter will issue individually or collectively advertisement for award of Internship. The selection may be based on (a) candidate's academic record, and/or (b) performance in a test that may be conducted by the laboratory, and (c) interview as decided by the concerned laboratory or Hqr. Overall coordination of these Awards will be done by the CSIR Human Resource Development Group (HRDG). The laboratory shall send the list of the selected Interns to HRDG for Information.

 

Tenure & Stipend

 

The Internship shall be tenable for a maximum period of two years from the date of joining and not extendable under any circumstances. The Internship carries a consolidated stipend of Rs 7500/ month. No other allowances shall be payable to the Interns.

 

Intern's continuation in the scheme shall be reviewed every six months. In case the performance is not satisfactory, the Internship may be terminated with one month's notice or one month's stipend in lieu thereof without assigning any reason. The Intern may also terminate the Internship before the expiry of the tenure by giving one month's notice.

 

The Intern shall have no claim for further extension, absorption or regularization in CSIR after the expiry/termination of the Internship.

 

During the Internship period, the Interns would be free to appear for NET / GATE and secure regular fellowships for doing Ph.D.

 

The number of Interns in a lab or in CSIR (Hqrs.) at any time, taken separately, shall not exceed 30.

 

Further details regarding these awards can be had from : The Head, Human Resource Development Group, CSIR Complex, Opp. Institute of Hotel Management, Library Avenue, Pusa, New Delhi 110012.