For the first time in India, Systems 4 Ever
(S4E), an Indian company, has taken initiative to set up a unit in
India with Chinese technology to manufacture microbolometers which are
required by police and Defence establishments and other security
agencies. Chinese company DALI, has inked a contract today with S4E
for transferring the technology to the Indian company.
Hitherto, Indian establishments were importing this detector equipment
but after this unit is set up in India it would cater to Indian market
and slowly gear up for exports for the global market, according to Raj
Chodankar, Chairman of S4E.
This would be the first such state-of-the-art manufacturing unit in
the country which would provide such sophisticated thermal, night
vision and surveillance equipment to Defence, police and security
agencies. Currently, USA and France are the major manufacturers of
microbolometers and have a large share in the global market.
Modalities are being worked out and such unit is planned to be set up
in Goa or Mumbai in Maharashtra, Chodankar told a press conference
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) on behalf of the Government of
India and Mahindra Defence have shown interest in joining hands in
this project, however, the proposal has not been finalised yet, said
Chodankar. The project is likely to be funded with a soft loan from
Economic Development Corporation, Goa.
S4E is a technology consulting company with design strengths in the
field of Electro optics. It has acquired technology rights and patents
on an exclusive basis for weapon sights, uncooled thermal imaging
systems, multifunctional hand held thermal imagers.
S4E plans to manufacture 8 lakh units in India every year, which is
global demand or requirement. This shall increase three-fold in near
future as the demand for such equipment is huge.
ULIS in France is the second largest producer of microbolometers while
FLIR in USA is the largest manufacturer of this equipment. However,
they mainly cater to USA market and their exports are restricted as
they are guided by ITAR (International Traffic Arms Regulation). ULIS
are very active in Indian market and currently supply their product to
the security agencies in India.
Since this thermal imaging, night vision and surveillance products are
very sensitive and important for a country’s security, a need has been
felt even in India to have its own manufacturing unit in the country
instead of depending upon foreign companies to buy such products.
However, no initiative was taken in the past to set up a unit in India
for manufacturing microbolometers. S4E is the first to take such
initiative, says Chodankar.
DALI also occupies a significant market share in the global market and
has offered a unique opportunity to an Indian Company to take its
technology ahead into the Indian market to manufacture products for
commercial and military surveillance requirement. This would enable
the makers of consumer electronics and infra-red equipment to produce
low weight, low power consumption and cost-effective thermal cameras
for deployment in everyday use. The detectors used in such equipment
are characterised by pixel arrays for surveillance in border and
sensitive areas of the country and in Defence and commercial security
The price of microbolometers in global market works out to Rs 75,000
for the 640X480 pixel versions while S4E proposes to sell this
equipment for Rs 65,000 which is highly cost-effective. Moreover, USA
and France companies are bound by respective French export controls an
ITAR rules while S4E products would not be governed by any