Tata group doubles its published patents in two years.
The Tata group has doubled its published patents in two years, from about 3,500 at the end of calendar year 2013 to about 7,000 at the end of 2015. In the calendar year 2015 itself, Tata companies have filed over 2,000 published patents in India and international jurisdictions. These patents are primarily in the area of computation and data processing; materials, coating, casting and vehicle propulsion; communications; engines; and hybrids, fuels and controls. Reflecting the thrust on research and development, 2.7 per cent of the group’s turnover has been invested in R&D in 2014-15, amounting to Rs 17,896 crore ($2.9 billion).
Spearheaded by the Group Technology & Innovation Office (GTIO), a new consortium model of delivering technology by harnessing synergies between Tata companies, has been implemented to create breakthrough innovations. Under this model, new products and services will be delivered by collaborative efforts of Tata companies working in a consortium mode with a formal memorandum of understanding. The GTIO has implemented the above model by nurturing global first solutions in four focus areas namely Energy, Food & wellness, Digital consumer products and services, and Digital factory and fleets.
The Tata group is working on innovative technologies to lower the costs of graphene material and fuel cells systems. Graphene is hundred times stronger than steel by weight and possesses several other important properties. Tata companies have developed IP for the low cost manufacturing of graphene. A commercialisation cell at Tata Steel and a Tata group collaborative centre of excellence will develop the applications of graphene for commercial use.
The Tata group is working with partners to develop fuel cell systems that will enable applications in telecom, defence, small industry, and automotive. The group’s effort aims to lower the cost of the catalyst, balance of plant, and control systems used in fuel cells to make them viable. The contributing companies are Tata Motors, Tata Chemicals, Tata Power SED, Tata Power, Tata Steel, The Titan Company and the GTIO.
Food and wellness
Rallis India, Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Elxsi and the GTIO together are developing a solution in the area of UAV-based delivery of crop protection products. A precision agriculture technology, this solution will have multiple benefits like minimising wastage and conserving water, thus boosting efficiency in the entire value chain.
Digital consumer products and services
Tata Consultancy Services, The Titan Company, Tata Steel, Tata Elxsi, Tata Communications and the GTIO have developed the world’s first factory worker’s safety wearable. This analogue watch with a digital heart focuses on the health and safety of individuals working in high-risk environments. The device features a real-time two-way SOS alert and response mechanism while monitoring critical health and environmental parameters. The solution is in beta stage of testing at the Tata Steel facility in Jamshedpur, and has the potential to be deployed in other industrial factory environments and applications across the world.
Digital factory and fleet
The pilots undertaken in this area include yield and product quality analytics at the Tata Steel Hot Strip Mill (HSM); boiler efficiency improvement at Tata Chemicals; and Indian Hotel’s energy management system. These efforts will bring the latest analytic techniques such as deep learning to the factory floor.
Concluding Tata Innovista 2016 – a group-wide programme held annually by the Tata Innovation Forum (TIF) to encourage, recognise and showcase outstanding innovations done by Tata companies – the group announced that this year the programme showcased over 1,900 implemented innovations from across Tata companies under the Promising Innovations category. This category recognises innovations that have been successfully implemented during the year and have accrued benefits to the business. The estimated financial benefit of top innovations in this category has been trending at about $1billion on an annual basis.
The Promising Innovations category, in turn, has sub-categories and the awards went to:
- Tata Steel for ‘Tata WironAayush®: Multifunctional coating’
- Tata Consultancy Services for ‘Ignio – the world’s first neural system for enterprises’
Jaguar Land Rover for ‘Virtualisation of low speed impact requirements’
Tata Consultancy Services for ‘One touch automation in accessibility testing’
Tata Global Beverages for ‘Gaon Chalo Mobile Activation’
Awards were given out in three other categories namely:
In the Leading Edge Technologies category, which recognises and rewards global/industry first technologies that are at various stages of development and promise to deliver significant benefits after implementation, the awards went to:
- Tata Steel for ‘Pyrometrics – Generating cement blender from LD slag’
- Tata Global Beverages for ‘Sustainable plant protection formulation’
The Dare To Try category recognises and rewards courageous and determined attempts at creating global first technologies, products and services that did not achieve the desired results but have potential for success. The awards in this category were given to:
- Jaguar Land Rover for ‘LANDS – Sustainable material development’
- Titan for ‘Titan Kitchen’
The Design Honour category seeks to promote the focus of Tata companies on design thinking and in this category the award went to:
- TCS for ‘Contactless Charity Tin’
Dr. Mukund Rajan, Member – Group Executive Council and Brand Custodian, Tata Sons, said, “The spirit of innovation is strongly embedded in the Tata ethos. The group has to its credit many firsts with respect to visionary and pioneering initiatives from the time of its inception, and continues to engage in various programs and activities to promote a culture of innovation. This will play a key role in helping us achieve our global ambitions. The global first solutions being developed collaboratively by Tata companies, and the doubling of published patents in two years, are clear indicators of the group’s diverse competencies and cross-functional talent spread across its over 100 companies. The new consortium model for technology development spearheaded by the GTIO is an example of how the group is using its parenting advantage to nurture, synergise and optimise these competencies towards creating competitive advantage and long-term sustainable profitable growth.”
Dr. Gopichand Katragadda, Group Chief Technology Officer, Tata Sons, said, “We have to be at the forefront of innovation and technology to continually engage a talented workforce and deliver profitable sustainable growth.Tata companiescontinue to mature on intellectual property creation with a significant uptick of patenting activity in the past two years. At the group level, we have created new internal and external collaboration mechanisms to deliver break-through innovations at the intersection of technologies.We have the platforms to deliver innovation. It is time to execute. It is time to be bold!”
From a total of 57 Tata companies from across 18 countries who submitted their projects in Tata Innovista 2016, 29 Tata companies reached the regional rounds. The projects at the regional rounds, held in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Jamshedpur, Ashorne Hill, UK, Washington DC, and Bangkok, were judged by eminent external experts. Fifty teams from 17 Tata companies were shortlisted for the final global round that took place in Mumbai on April 21-22, 2016. Started in 2006, Tata Innovista has become an indicator of the success of the innovation drive in the Tata group — and of the inherent capabilities of its people.
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