WIP's Research & Development Division

The Research and Development Division of The Western India Plywoods Ltd., has earned recognition from the Dept. of Scientific & Industrial Research, Ministry of Science and Technology, Govt. of India, as an in-house research wing of high calibre. It has the required analytical, conditioning and testing facilities for product / process development, evaluation, rigid quality control and new technology analysis. The testing equipment available consist of the standard machines for conducting physical, mechanical and electrical tests of all kinds.

They include the Weather-o-meter in which the extreme weather conditions can be simulated in an accelerated manner in order to arrive at quick inferences. Sophisticated analytical equipments like the Spectrophotometer, Gas Chromatograph, FTA Flammability unit, Torque Rheometer and Gel permeation Chromatograph are available in the testing labs of WIP's R&D Division for accurate analysis and assay of raw materials and finished products.

The R&D Division, besides keeping pace with technological advances in the field of wood technology, assists in the diversification programmes & development of new products. The products developed and process / product modified by the Division include Diallyl phthalate (D.A.P) Moulding powder and Fibreglass Reinforced Plastic Sheet Moulding Compounds (S.M.C) which find use in the manufacture of sophisticated products required in highly specialized electrical and electronics applications. S.M.C can also be overlaid on plywood and hardboard.

The manufacture of D.A.P. Moulding Powder has been achieved for the first time in South East Asia in The Western India Plywoods Ltd. This has put India on the road to self-reliance in this material of strategic importance. In a recent break through, our R&D division succeeded in developing a fire retardant variety of DAP ( Diallyl Phthalate) Moulding powder. The U.S.A., Holland and Japan are the only other countries manufacturing D.A.P. (Diallyl Phthalate) moulding powder.

Conversion of non-durable species of timber like Holigarna arnottiana(Cheru), Lophopetalum wightianum(Banati) etc. into stable and durable wood polymer composites by irradiation with gamma rays represents a land mark in the conservation of wood resources achieved by WIP's R&D Division.

With the active assistance of Bhaba Atomic Research Centre, Trombay, a Gamma ray irradiation source of adequate strength was established for the first time in India, in WIP's Research Division. With the help of this radiation source great technical improvements in the basic properties of species with poor durability and quality were achieved, to render them fit for specialized industrial applications. This is a big step towards utilization of abundantly available plantation species of timber for specialized applications.

WIP's R&D Department has also succeeded in developing a unique, cost effective and highly efficient rubber wood treatment process which enhances not only the durability but also the strength of the treated wood.

Our R&D scientists have developed weather proof and fire retardant grades of HARDBOARD! Developed through wholly independent research, these products promise an end to the use of commercial hardwood in common exterior applications. These panels combine the economy and eco-friendliness of hardboard along with the utility and durability of specialized plywood panels. Development of technology for producing metal faced plywood by the R&D is noteworthy. 1200 GI faced plywood panels were produced and supplied to ISRO, Bangalore for use in Anechoic Chambers as electromagnetic shield based on in-house technology.

Topics of research in polymers include the following:

  • UV curable Coatings: Development of new formulation for our products like WIPLAC, ULTRAKLICK, WIPGLOSS etc that have improved toughness and scratch./abrasion resistance, application of nanofillers for improving the performance and studies on various monomers, oligomers etc.

  • Waterborne Polyurethane (PU) dispersion based coatings are increasingly becoming popular for finishing wood furniture as well as flooring, due to the unmatched performance and environmental friendliness that the technology offers. Developing a range of high performance and cost effective PU coatings is progressing.

  • A number of polymer/composite problems are being investigated which include polymer dispersions for water resistant waterborne coatings, improved PF resins and Wood-polymer composites.

  • WIP is committed to cent percent utilization of wood. The utilization of wood wastes generated during the manufacturing process, a step towards achieving safe disposal of wood wastes, has led to the development of the process of vermicomposting. The product, the vermicompost, is produced from chipwash residue, a lignocelluloses waste from the fibreboard unit, by the action of earthworms after mixing with suitable activators to initiate the degradation process. It is a mixture of castings of earthworms containing aerobically composted organic matter.

WIP's Material Testing Lab

WIP possesses a full- fledged material testing lab which is monitored by its Govt. recognized Research and Development Division. The lab is equipped to perform various physical, mechanical and electrical tests specified in the national and international standards. Every day random samples drawn from panels produced in WIP's plants are tested for conformance to the relevant Specification. The integrity and quality of WIP's testing division can be gauged by the fact that representative samples drawn from material to be supplied to the Indian Railways, Defense and other Government Organizations are tested in its own material testing lab under the supervision of inspectors deputed by the respective inspection agencies.

If required test certificates confirming the conformance of the panels supplied to its relevant Specification can be provided. (Tests are performed on random samples drawn as per the sampling procedure stipulated by IS Specifications.)