SIALKOT: The dream to equip the soccer ball industry in Sialkot with advanced technology of production has finally come true after a long wait of decades.
The federal government has recently established the Sports Industries Development Centre (SIDC) in Sialkot which is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Industries (MoI), Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority (Smeda) and Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI).
SIDC Project Director Muhammad Sarwar Hanif said the centre had been established to help the sports sector of Sialkot to adopt new technology of mechanised thermo laminated balls by providing common facilities, technical advisory services, mould-making machinery services and training.
“The time is ripe for the soccer industry to flourish on modern lines by using the advanced mechanized soccer balls manufacturing technology which is now available at the SIDC’, he said.
Mr Hanif said the SIDC was established with a sole aim to enable Sialkot exporters to remain competitive in the global market by following the growing trend of mechanised soccer ball production, leaving the hand-stitched footballs manufacturing.
He said the SIDC had successfully started its trial production of the mechanised thermo laminated soccer balls by using the imported manufacturing machinery, opening up new vistas for local soccer balls manufacturers and exporters.
He said the SIDC was cent per cent government-funded project and was established on five acres of land along the main Sialkot-Daska Road with a sum of Rs435.637 million.
The project director said the SIDC was offering advanced technical facilities, including developing proto-type balls, training to skilled workers in mould/rubber technologies, mechanized thermo laminated balls, provision of manufacturing facilities for SMEs to secure their export orders for mechanized thermo laminated balls, helping develop imported machinery locally through reverse engineering, IPR facilitation for mechanized thermo laminated balls and providing assistance in setting up mechanized thermo laminated ball production lines in individual industrial units.
He said the centre would start the commercial production in April 2014 with the help of foreign experts, especially Chinese.
He said the state-of-the-art PLC machinery was available at production departments, including rubber mixing equipment, bladder manufacturing equipment, yarn winding/carcass layer laminate/vulcanisation, panel cutting/print/carcass, finish/laminate and laboratory.
Mr Hanif revealed that the machinery set-up was capable of producing and testing thermo laminated balls, meeting standards of the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA).
He said the SIDC also had a well-equipped laboratory where all types of tests were conducted as recommended by the FIFA.
SCCI President Dr Sarfraz Bashir welcomed the regular functioning of the SIDC, saying it would definitely help boom the local soccer industry.