SHAH ALAM: Sirim’s Research, Technology and Innovation Division will be undertaking more applied research and technology projects in effort to reposition their activities to meet the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and the industry in 2016.
In line with its effort to rebrand the division to Sirim Industrial Research (SIR), technology adoption and adaptation will also be used to boost the commercialisation of technology and improve the productivity of SMEs through their SME Technology Penetration and Upgrading programme.
Sirim Bhd Research, Technology and Innovation Division vice-president Mohamad Jamil Sulaiman (pic) highlighted that a committee of experts has been established to ensure their research proposals meet the relevant demand-driven criteria and have high potential for commercialisation to secure funding.
“This committee consists of our internal experts and external experts from the academia and the industry who will review our research proposals before submission to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) or other relevant agencies,” Mohamad Jamil explained.
Besides being the premier quality and technology solutions provider in Malaysia and an agency under Mosti, Sirim is also the driver of technology research and innovation.
The division will continue to be committed towards the success of their three main flagship focus areas: Energy and Environment, Plant and Machinery and Medical Technology Flagship.
Energy and Environment Flagship
Sirim have conducted strategic research and developed innovative technologies that support national economic growth by finding ways to mitigate climate change and maintaining a clean environment.
Their renewable energy and environmental protection services are accepted internationally and are divided into four priorities namely energy generation, energy storage, eco-product development and environment technology areas.
According to Mohamad Jamil, Malaysia’s palm oil industry generates around 140 million tonnes of biomass annually, leading to the release of some 67 million cubic metres of methane into the atmosphere.
This is because much of this waste is effluent generated by palm oil mills and is left to decompose in open ponds.
To resolve this issue, Sirim launched the BioNG DSTIN project to capture, store and refine this methane so that it could be used as an alternative to natural gas in gas-fired power stations and NGV vehicles.
This project is the world’s first natural gas plant derived from palm oil mill effluent (POME).
Besides that, Sirim has also launched several other successful projects such as SIMBIONTEA – Biogas to convert food waste to energy.
Plant and Machinery Flagship
Sirim also provides the technology and expertise in product design and modelling, digitising and reverse engineering, rapid prototyping and tooling, foundry work, machine design, plant design and many more.
Much to their expertise, their industrial technologies and solutions for plants, machinery, automation, intelligent systems and radio frequency identification (RFID) can be applied to various industries such as agriculture, construction, manufacturing and line assembly.
By conducting researches related to engineering problems in the oil and gas industry and its development, it has contributed tremendously to the success of the PetroClamp project, Y-Tee project and components development.
These are services established to help reduce the cost of imported components which are more expensive.
Medical Technology Flagship
On another note, Sirim’s medical technology researchers has innovated successful medical and healthcare solutions in three primary focus areas: drug delivery systems, implants/prostheses and medical equipments and devices.
By incorporating innovations of advanced technology, it has broadened their multidisciplinary expertise in advanced materials, RFID, nanotechnology, biotechnology and bio-modelling.
As a result, Sirim’s Advanced Materials Research Centre (AMREC) have successfully pioneered the making of synthetic bone or bone graft substitutes for surgical applications called GranuMaS.
Penetrated the local market in 2010 GranuLab (M) Sdn Bhd, the project uses a granular synthetic bone graft material made from Hydroxyapatite which makes it an excellent option for bone defect repairs due to its similar chemical composition to the human bone mineral.
Another success story includes its craniofacial biomodelling services which help surgeons fix broken skulls by designing customised titanium plates for every patient.
By providing surgeons with a three-dimensional (3D) imaging and rapid prototyping technologies that ‘print’ 3D models of patients’ skulls from CT and MRI scans, surgeons can test titanium implants and make the most detailed revisions and corrections to them before the actual surgery takes place.
Other than these flagship focus areas, the division also reach out to the lower income group by undertaking socio-economic projects and Mosti social innovation projects.
This include providing technology to improve community-based economic activities such as providing lighting at jetties and on fishermen’s boats using solar energy, improved knives for rubber tappers, developing electro-plating method to make handicrafts and so on.
Moving Forward in 2016
With the success of 2015, Mohamad Jamil said the division will continue to be committed to the industry by expanding their engagement with the public.
“We’re rebranding this division so that potential business players will know and understand our industry so to empower the productivity and efficiency of SMEs.
With that, we will continue our collaboration with Fraunhofer Institute and work towards reaching to 170 companies in our 2016 Technology Audit,” he said.
In December 2014, Sirim signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Fraunhofer Institute, Germany to leverage on Fraunhofer’s network of Institutes to increase technology uptake of SME with emphasis on joint research and technical services, exchange of personnel and information, strategic innovation studies, initialisation and implementation of R&D projects.
This is also in effort to support the development of regional enterprises as well as joint organisation of conferences, workshops and seminars.
“Besides collaborating with various research platforms to meet industry needs, we’ll also improve our efficiency in providing technology and services as a total solution to the SME through our eight technology centres,” Mohamad Jamil added.
Sirim is also looking forward to strengthening its prominence in technology research internationally through WAITRO (World Association of Industrial and Technological Research Organisations), GRA (Global Research Alliance) and other research institutes.
In appreciation to the endeavours by SME Corp in SME growth and development, Sirim also aims to increase SME growth and productivity.
Mohamad Jamil highlighted that a RM200mil budget is allocated as soft loan with the SME Bank, as announced in Budget 2016.
“SMEs should take this opportunity to accelerate their business growth and productivity and we look forward to further collaborations that will develop and become the catalyst for innovation and productivity in order to develop home grown products and services,” Mohamad Jamil said.