3M unveils Rs.100 crore research centre in Bangalore

3M unveils Rs.100 crore research centre in Bangalore

"We are making an upfront investment of Rs.100 crore in the India R&D facility to develop products for the Indian market and accelerate localisation initiatives," 3M chief technology officer Fred J. Palensky told reporters.

The US-based $27-billion multinational, formerly known as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing (3M) company, produces thousands of products in seven key industry segments such as infrastructure, automotive, healthcare, construction, oil & gas, safety and retail.

"Our target is to generate 40 percent of our revenues from products 'made in India for India' over the next five years (by fiscal 2016) when sales are projected to touch Rs.4,800 crore ($1 billion) from Rs.1,176 crore ($245 million) in fiscal 2011," 3M India Ltd managing director Ajay Nanavati said.

Currently, of the 7,000 products 3M sells in the Indian market, about 30 percent are developed, customised and localised to cater to domestic customers across the seven industry verticals.

Though the Indian subsidiary was set up 23 years ago as a joint venture with the Yash Birla group, it became 3M's wholly-owned company after the exit of Yashovardhan Birla in 2006.

"Besides focusing on developing products for key industry segments, the 25 labs in the centre will work on developing expertise in technologies such as adhesives, non-wovens, acoustics, polymer processing, software & integrated systems and design, predictive engineering and modelling, protective coatings and accelerated weathering," Palensky pointed out.

3M's popular brands in the Indian market are Scotch Tape and Scotch Brite, the utensils' scrubber.

The Indian subsidiary has filed 14 patents in 2010 and has to its credit 23 product innovations developed at its innovation centre in Bangalore.

"We invest 2.5 percent of our net sales in our R&D as against five percent by the parent firm worldwide," Nanavati pointed out.

The American conglomerate corporation has 85 labs across 37 countries worldwide, employing about 10,000 technical people.

"We assume that technological capabilities have no boundaries or barriers. Any product or manufacturing technology is available to any business in any industry in any geography the world over. The Indian R&D centre will be guided by this cross collaboration of technologies to develop customer centric solutions," Palensky added.