Technology based Initiatives & Interventions of MSME Ministry to tackle COVID-19 challenge leads to Effective response to Prime Minister’s call of Atmanirbhar Bharat & Make in India

New Delhi: Union Ministry of MSME has taken a number of Technology based Initiatives & Interventions to tackle COVID-19 challenge. These have resulted in effective response to Prime Minister’s call of Atmanirbhar Bharat & Make in India. With help of these initiatives and interventions, country is now not only manufacturing enough Hand Sanitizer Bottle Dispensers (Pump/Flip) for meeting almost all its sharply increased demand but also poised to export the same. They have also helped India in achieving Self-sufficiency in Hand-sanitizing materials(liquid/gel) and have contributed immensely in developing/producing auxiliary items like masks, face-shields, PPE Kits, sanitizer box, testing facilities etc.

MSME Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari has complimented the Team MSME on these initiatives and achievements.

Hand Sanitizer Bottle Dispenser (Pump/Flip):

During COVID-19, the demand for hand sanitizer and its bottles increased dramatically. Accordingly, the demand for Bottle Dispenser (pumps) increased manifold (50 lakh per day). The pre-covid manufacturing capacity of bottle dispensers/ pumps in the country was at around 5 lakh per day. To meet the demand, efforts were being made to import lot of dispensers from China. However, the supply chain from abroad was totally disturbed, which led to huge price rise (Rs 30 per dispenser) for such dispensers in the country. This resulted in hike of the prices of sanitizers in the Indian market.

• Sanitizer Bottle Dispenser is a plastic apparatus with plastic cap used for dispensing (taking out) the sanititzer material and capping the sanitizer bottle.

• Dispenser can be of 3 types viz. Pumps for spray, Flip cap for gel, Flip cap for liquid.

• Dispenser is having around 11 small components which are assembled. Barring a few components like ball, spring and tubing, remaining components are made on injection moulding machines.

• Assembly of all parts of pump is a challenge for proper functioning. On the other hand, Automatic Assembly line is costly.

• Such dispensers have wide applications in FMCG sector as well. The suppliers of dispensers have long term supply commitments with FMCG companies. Therefore, even globally only little capacities could be spared or supplied for sanitizer segment at the start of covid pandemic.


Ministry of MSME’s Intervention:

Realizing this problem, in the beginning of May, 2020, Secretary, MSME held several rounds of meetings with the stakeholders including Ministry’s officials and Tool Rooms (TRs) and Technology Centers (TCs). Meetings were also held with the industry including All India Plastic Manufacturers Association (AIPMA), All India Medical Devices Manufactures Association etc. to understand how to ramp up local manufacturing of dispensers. The private sector was motivated to expand the capacities. However, it was realized that sudden increase in manufacturing is not possible. This situation was because the moulds were not available in the country. So far, the industry was importing moulds also.


MSME Ministry Motivated its Technology Centers (TCs):

• The TCs were motivated to take up this challenge and activity. Seven moulds were required for manufacturing the dispenser components.

Ministry also approved grant for TCs for purchase of new machinery worth Rs. 26 crore for various products.
• TCs took the challenge of manufacturing the moulds for dispensers as Multi cavity (16 or 24 cavity) moulds were not being manufactured in the country.

• To reduce the timelines, the required seven moulds were parallelly distributed to a number of TCs located at various places (Ahmadabad, Ludhiana, Aurangabad, Jamshedpur, Hyderabad, Mumbai).

The Outcome:

• Two sets of the moulds of sanitizer pumps have been provided by our TCs to the industry for manufacturing

• Flip cap moulds of 30 mm and 24 mm were also developed by TC Ludhiana.

• Inspired by this, now, some private tool rooms are also manufacturing moulds.

National Impact:

• Because of the above, today, we are almost self sufficient in dispenser manufacturing.

• The current approx. manufacturing (though dynamic) is 40 lakh per day.

• Cost has come down to about Rs. 5.50 from about Rs. 30 in April-May 2020.

• Many Indian companies have started manufacturing and may have surplus stock.

• As per discussions with AIPMA, the current consumption is over 50 lakh dispensers per day (now people are also buying refills).

It is now ready for Export:

• Earlier there was ban on export of sanitizers with spray pump, which is now lifted, which means that we are now in a position to export.

Achieving Self-sufficiency in Hand-sanitizing materials:

As part of its other major initiatives, MSME Ministry contributed towards country achieving Self-sufficiency in production of Hand Sanitizing Material (Liquid/gel). It also created senitizer testing facility besides developing Ayurvedic/Cosmatic Senitizers using natural aroma. The details in this regard are as below:

• With the spread of COVID 19, the demand for hand sanitizer increased exponentially. The rates for retail market of sanitizer soared to highest level. There was huge shortage. The Government of India liberalized licensing for manufacturing of the sanitizers. Sugar Mills, Distilleries, FMCG were motivated to start manufacturing sanitizers.

• One Technology Centre of the Ministry of MSME namely Fragrance & Flavour Development Centre (FFDC), at Kannauj was asked to take license for sanitizer and alcohol to manufacture sanitizer. It developed and manufactured the hand sanitizers as per WHO standards and supplied to the healthcare system in and around Kannauj.

• The Ministry of MSME provided funds to FFDC for purchase of packaging line and other equipment. FFDC followed the pricing guidelines of NPPA for the sanitizer.

• FFDC sold more than 90,000 bottles & 400 cans of Hand Sanitiser and supplied to the various Govt. Organization like Northern Railways, Banks etc.

• Sanitizer testing facility was also created and testing has been started. Further, sample for Ayurvedic/ cosmetic Sanitizer have been developed using natural aroma which are under testing (CSIR-National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow). Fragrance for sanitizer has also been developed.

• At present, the availability of the sanitizer material is sufficient in the country.


3. Other Products:

I. UV Sanitizer Boxes were also designed and manufactured by our TC at Ramnagar and the design was given to the Industry;

II. MSME Ministry’s Technology Centres also started manufacturing face shields and masks (also KVIC) during the period when the country was facing peak shortage in these items. Today, the country is self sufficient in masks.

III. Similarly, TC Chennai fabricated close-all PPE using hot tape sealing machine.

IV. TC Meerut installed blood penetration testing equipment for testing PPE kit. Similar / related testing facilities are also set up at Ministry’s Okhla TC for gloves and close-all PPE kits.