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The Synthetic & Art Silk Mills' Research Association (SASMIRA) is a premier organisation in the country dedicated to research and testing. UK Gangopadhyay, Executive Director of SASMIRA, shares the work done by the association with fibre2fashion.com
How successful has SASMIRA been in meeting the demands of the textile industry?
SASMIRA, established in 1950, is a co-operative venture set up by the man-made textiles industry of India as a multi-functional institute to serve its scientific and technological needs. The prime objective was to cater to the Indian textiles industry testing services, as well as provide training and education. In the late 1960s and 1970s, as the industry gained momentum with a focus on quality products, the activities of SASMIRA broadened and it took up indigenisation of technology as well as instruments for quality check. SASMIRA developed a number of testing instrument which were adopted by the industry, and as recognition of their efforts, SASMIRA was awarded for import substitution through Instrumentation by the Government of India and Indian Merchants Chamber, 1969-1975.
During this time, SASMIRA also took up major development work for defence laboratories, and till date is the sole supplier of contour woven socks for them.
The 1980s' SASMIRA focused on eco-friendly processes in the wake of azo ban on dyes, and also on the technical textiles segment which was the buzzword. SASMIRA took up a number of projects in the technical textiles' field, and also conducted a sizeable amount of seminars and workshops for creating awareness in the field. Recognising the efforts made by SASMIRA, the Ministry of Textiles designated SASMIRA as the nodal agency for technical textiles in India in the late 1990s, and then as the Centre of Excellence (COE) for agro-textile in 2008. As a COE, it is a one-stop solution for all agrotextile needs of the country - from the manufacturer as well as the consumer's point of view. Thus, SASMIRA has been meeting the ever-growing demands of the textiles Industry since inception.
What is the agenda set for the next two years?
SASMIRA is committed to the demands of the textiles industry, and specifically as a COE, it has a focused plan for the coming years, whereby design and development of niche agro-textile products is the major focus with indigenisation and standardisation of different agro-textile products, besides incubation activities for the upcoming entrepreneurs. Besides, major R&D focus is on the development of unique, light-weight products for defence applications and biotechnology applications in textiles by the way of development of green surfactants, pigments, etc.
Kindly list some breakthrough achievements of SASMIRA.
SASMIRA has been a pioneer in product and process development. And few of the technologies have been a breakthrough and much ahead of its time, developed specifically for the benefit of the industry.
Major projects executed in the recent past includes technical textiles products like superabsorbent polymer mats for domestic horticulture applications, unique oil spill mats to combat oil spill pollution for environmental control, barrier packaging for extended shelf-life of products and specialty work-wear for Indian farmers. In the process development segment, SASMIRA has successfully developed a process for energy-conservation in textile wet processing by the way of ultrasonic dyeing and finishing process, a process for effluent treatment of wet processing industry by the way of nano-technology and reverse osmosis. SASMIRA has also recently designed and developed a testing instrument - a shade-o-meter for measurement of percentage light-reflection for agro-textile shade nets.
A bold step further in this endeavour is to bail out the textile wet processing industry in the ongoing project on technology development for waterless dyeing. It is envisaged to develop pilot model of a dyeing vessel capable of dyeing and finishing textiles by the use of supercritical carbon dioxide (SC-CO2).
Few of the projects executed by SASMIRA in the last 10 years are as below:
1. Recycling of PET bottle waste to manufacture various technical textile products,
2. Development of ultrasonic dyeing machine for energy conservation,
3. Development of light fastness tester for textile application,
4. Development of multi-light colour viewing cabinet,
5. Recycling of dye-bath liquor using nano-filtration technique,
6. Development of multi-layer sportswear fabrics,
7. Development of pavement overlay fabrics,
8. Indigenisation of airbag fabrics.
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