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DuPont targets emerging-market growth

By: Satnam Singh

August 22, 2013

HYDERABAD, INDIA — DuPont Co. has opened a new application development center in Hyderabad to integrate advanced material science with other scientific disciplines for the automotive industry. The facility is housed in the "DuPont Knowledge Center" (DKC) in Hyderabad.

"We are working with almost all the Indian OEMs to improve the performance of their vehicles by adopting light-weight solutions that include replacing metal components with polymer-based solutions to improve engine performance, comfort and safety," said DKC director Homi Bhedwar.

The capabilities are also relevant to sectors like railways, electronics, food processing, agriculture, irrigation and textiles.

Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont is keen to increase its presence in the emerging economies by opening innovation centers. "We are looking towards increasing our presence in the markets of Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia," said Bhedwar. "We will definitely open another DKC in the next five years."

DuPont opened the Hyderabad DKC in 2008 and employs around 450 engineers there. "With the growth in the business, we hope to increase the number of engineers to 1,000 in the next few years," he said. DuPont opened a DKC in Shanghai in 2005.

The company declined to comment on the investment made and revenue generated from the India operation. However, it emphasized that the India center will be key to overall growth. DuPont revenue in southern Asia exceeded $800 million last year and is expected to grow at least twice as fast as the gross domestic product. Overall, DuPont generated revenue of $34.8 billion in 2012.

The company is working to replace metal-based auto components with polymer-based ones — for example, cylinder-head covers, radiator end tanks, air-intake manifolds, hoses and gaskets, charged air coolers, air ducts and thermostat housings, said Amandeep Cheema, southern Asia business director for the Performance Polymers division.

An innovation center at Pune caters to the automotive sector, as the region is regarded as one of the premier automotive hubs in the country. "We will include additional capabilities in the transport and infrastructure sectors by the end of 2014 at the Pune center," Bhedwar said. DuPont also plans to set up labs in the DKC in 2014 for food-application development, animal nutrition, and spinning, weaving and dyeing.

The new application center includes a 180-metric ton injection molding machine to conduct material testing, said Performance Polymers technology manager Pascal Ferrandez. He added, "We have ample space left to add more capabilities for future expansion in Phase II at the center." India's DKC is among seven such DuPont centers around the world, with three in the U.S. and one each in Switzerland, China and Brazil, as well as 150 R&D facilities globally.