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SGRI – a global research centre for building materials

With scorching heat and a quaint atmosphere, for years, Chennai was losing to Bengaluru top notch research centres. But this same hot climate suits best for the 351 year old Saint Gobain to set up its materials’ research unit, Saint Gobain Research India (SGRI) to develop products for hot and humid climates. Saint Gobain has boldly invested Rs 230 crore in a world class research facility spread over 120,000 sq.ft at the IIT-Madras Research Park. Inaugurated by TN Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, the centre would focus on sustainable solutions for Saint Gobain’s existing businesses, multi-comfort in buildings as well as affordable housing.

Y S Chowdary, Minister of State, Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Government of India, who was present at the inauguration, pointed to the centre being one of its kind in the country.

The seventh one under Saint Gobain’s umbrella, Pierre-Andre de Chalendar, Chairman and CEO, Saint-Gobain, pointed to this facility being the most advanced for materials research.

Anand Mahajan, General Delegate, Saint-Gobain- India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, pointed to SGRI leading in development of products and solutions that exceed customer expectations. 95 per cent of products sold in India are manufactured in the country, he said.

The research facility has around 120 scientists and engineers who are basically from India with years of global expertise. The research centre will soon be home to 250 researchers and engineers. “We aspire to develop cost competitive solutions for our customers through co-development and ‘Innovate in India’ that can be deployed beyond India,” said Anand Tanikella, Director, Saint-Gobain Research India.

B Santhanam, President and MD - Flat Glass (South Asia, Egypt and Malaysia) Saint Gobain Glass India, pointed to another unique feature: “we didn’t want SGRI dominated by a single business. eg. glass. We conceived a model that will have competencies spread across several areas that can be used for any aspect of scientific research.”

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