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Product Development Centre to modernise sports good production

Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) is finalizing necessary arrangements to establish Product Development Centre (PDC) for Composite at the cost of Rs 498 million for putting the sports goods industry of Sialkot on modern production lines. The proposed PDC will be established within the premises of Sports Industry Development Centre (SIDC). Official sources told Business Recorder, here on Sunday that the step was being taken to enable the sports goods industry to adopt new manufacturing technologies including composite material and enter into the largest segment of sports goods exports. Presently, 55 percent of the sports goods are based on composite materials.

The basic concept of setting up this proposed PDC was to provide services such as product testing (physical and chemical), provide skilled workforce to the sector, enhance productivity by providing technical support services to new and existing industrial units, help develop (imported) machinery locally through reverse engineering and facilitate in increasing exports of composite-based sports goods.

Sialkot is globally known as producer of quality products in sports goods, surgical instruments, leather garment, gloves, accessories, sportswear and musical instruments, as well. Over 200,000 plus people are engaged directly or indirectly with export activities and annual export earnings of the city hover around US$ 1.8 billions annually. In sports goods industry where new materials had supplanted the old include tennis, archery, skiing, boating, golf and fishing.

The composites had replaced previous materials and eventually declined in price to widely affordable level. In the production of tennis rackets the wood was the only material for the frames that had totally been changed now into new high performance materials. The trend of tubular steel and aluminium rackets was more popular in 1970s and these were lighter than wood-made tennis rackets as well as unaffected by the weather. With the passage of time composite rackets became available and wood- made rackets virtually disappeared and at present 95 percent of all tennis rackets are being produced with composite materials.

The other sports goods equipments such as field, roller and ice hockey sticks and ice skates, golf clubs, fishing rods and billiard cues have been converted into composite materials. The sports sector already enjoying strong linkages with international sports goods brands, which would help in marketing of Pakistan-made products and help in regaining its position in the global market.

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