SU & the MoCI sign two agreements

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Sohar University today signed two agreements to establish the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and a pilot plant for designing and manufacturing of dies and moulds in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The initiative is meant to enhance the role of the partnership between public and private sectors in serving the manufacturing sector. The two agreements were signed by Dr. Ali bin Mas'oud al-Sunaidi, Minister of Commerce and Industry on behalf of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and Jamal bin Saeed Al-Ajili, Chairman of Sohar University Board of Governors, on behalf of Sohar University.
The signing of these two agreements came as part of the outcomes of manufacturing sector in the National Programme for Enhancing Economic Diversification “Tanfeedh,” which are supported and followed up by the Implementation Support and Follow-up Unit. The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre project aims at developing a “Professional Research Centre” for manufacturing in the Sultanate, in order to enhance innovation and development as the essential needs of manufacturing, which will help promoting manufacturing of Omani products under the slogan (designed and made in the Sultanate), therefore, it will support the developing of downstream production lines for made in Oman products as part of manufacturing sector.
The centre aims to design innovative models, initiate professional ideas, develop capacity and knowledge of human resources in the innovation sector. It will also transfer the innovative ideas to real industrial models, evaluate its performance, verify the manufacturing operations, in order to ease developing of their production lines, in addition to setting and implementing industrial solutions for performance and resolving of hindering obstacles that might be faced by manufacturing companies. An example of this would be manufacturing the specific parts of industrial equipment with high value and that are hard to secure. This will be carried out by research, studies and partnership with international research centres, one of which is the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, University of Sheffield, in the United Kingdom (UK). The centre will provide opportunities to develop Human Capital required for the sector through vocational training on advanced industrial and production equipment. It will also enhance the opportunities of complementary and downstream industries to achieve the added value of the products in the Sultanate by designing, manufacturing, and testing the models to provide investment opportunities to establish plants and relevant production lines. It will contribute to fostering strategic relationships with international manufacturing centres for the aim of transferring, enhancing, and locally adapting technology, and attracting capital and foreign direct investment to the Sultanate from leading international companies in the field of manufacturing.
Moreover, the centre will work in cooperation with the Industrial Innovation Centre Company, which funds and supervises the implementation of industrial innovation projects. It is important to note that this project is already under implementation in Sohar University and its first actual operation will start by the end of 2018. The current delivery percentage of the project is 15%.
The other project, which is designing and manufacturing of dies and moulds is an important project that the Sultanate needs to support manufacturing. Most manufactured products require dies or moulds in their manufacturing process stages. In addition, there is a growing demand for dies and moulds in Oman, however, currently specialized manufacturing companies that manufacture these dies and moulds do not exist, especially to suit the products with complex geometrical shape. Moreover, there are very limited facilities for engineering design of products and manufacturing tools. Design centers work on developing engineering designs for dies and moulds. The current growing demand is being met by importing of required manufacturing tools. The prices of some imported dies and moulds range between USD 50,000 to USD 250,000 based on the size and complexity of the product shape and the accuracy, type and origin of the moulds. The ultimate objective of this project is establishing and operating a pilot plant for designing and manufacturing of dies and moulds, and establishing an engineering design centre for manufacturing tools. Thus, this project will provide knowledge on how to design and manufacture dies and moulds locally, and open the doors for designing and manufacturing thousands of new products in Oman under the slogan (Designed and made in Oman), in addition to reducing import dependence. The project will also provide opportunities to maintain and restore the dies and moulds used in dozens of manufacturing companies in the Sultanate, in addition to increasing revenue through exporting to the GCC states and other countries.
Sohar University has started implementing of this project inside its campus and the delivery percentage of the project has reached 15%. It is expected that the plant starts dry operation by the end of 2018, which will allow building cumulative experience on developing Human Capital required for designing and manufacturing of dies and moulds in order for the project to become ready to provide its services for manufacturing companies and other beneficiaries by the end of 2019.