Prof. A.S.Khanna offers an insight on the market sentiments of the Indian Chemicals and Coatings Industry and SSPC’s marketing strategy

What is your strategy to expand business for the existing product range?

We have started three businesses, one in developing a new paint coating to cool the roofs of houses, steel hangers, sheds and many industrial sheds. With our efforts to demonstrate our lab results into various industrial applications, we have created the liking of this product in the market. We are now expecting orders from many Govt. departments

Graphene manufacturing is the second product we are manufacturing. We want to sell this product to industry for various applications, but there is a big challenge as still a lots of research is going on to establish various applications of Graphene. But a continuous input on new applications helps the importance of this and can help us to sell the same in near future.

Our consultancy and paint testing business has well taken now after getting NABL accreditation a few months ago. We are now approaching various paint companies contractors to take advantage of this facility.

In your journey so far do you believe the consumer has now become more quality conscious when it comes to choosing the right product?
On global context, I will endorse this point, but under Indian conditions, quality of the product is not a major factor. Many government jobs, public sectors organisations just go for cost and have no knowledge of what is a quality product. They want a product, which is cheap. They are unaware about its life cycle cost. That is why they get trapped for cheaper product and keep on replacing it. However, this situation is not there when a result oriented quality result is expected and user is looking forward to the best product and quality comes first in such cases. We recently launched a IIT Bombay patented product in the market which has huge requirement in many government projects, defence, infrastructure, railways etc. But many of these organisations, though, appreciated our effort but wanted to follow usual process of lowest quotation where our product is out compared to several cheap products with a shorter durability and life.

What are the challenges being faced by the Chemicals and Coatings industry in dealing with the upcoming demand and supply?
Coating industries in India are quite advanced. They are divided into three categories, Large MNC, large local and most of the others are in unorganised sector working under various sub-groups/ associations such as IPA, ISSPA and IPCA. Today very sophisticated products are being manufactured in India and they are taking care of demands of Chemical industry. However, there is shift towards new products under Functional coatings, Smart Coatings and many of these new products need the help of Nano-technology. In the last several years use of nano materials, pigments, additives or nano structures using sol-gel route has changed the product application. For example use of highly corrosion resistant coatings, use of PVDF coating was quite prevalent which had limitation of making application to special size of components. However, development of nano modified Teflon helped in creating a normal brush like paint to create highly acid and alkali resistant paint for chemical industry. In the same way fire resistant paints made using nano-additives are more effective than conventional paint systems. To make special coatings such as self-cleaning, self-healing and bio resistant paints, nano-technology helps in giving a better product. In nutshell, today paints for a specific industrial application can be created in lab. Another aspect is waterborne ecofriendly paint systems and single layer coatings a big challenge for chemical industry.

What is your expectation from the industry bodies and policy makers to capitalise the present market?
There are two very big challenges in coating industry today – green eco-friendly paint system and sustainable coatings. While the green coating simply means coatings which are non toxic and friendly to environment. This a big challenge to coating industry today. The most important challenges to avoid toxic paints are: first to avoid carcinogenic materials in paints and second avoid toxic elements such as lead, arsenic, mercurycymae or sulphates. This is big challenge as the paint industry looks for raw materials which have either higher values of these toxic metals or cheaper additives which are carcinogenic. Second issue is to use waterborne coatings compared to solvent based coatings which use toxic solvents such as benzene, xylene and toluene. This is also very difficult as relative waterborne products are not as effective as solvent borne but there is a possibility to use them. Second issue is sustainability which basically cautions not to destroy our natural resources and save them for future generation. Thus, a continuous modification in the use of raw materials is required which safeguards these natural resources.

What is your company’s outlook for 2022?
We are quite excited to have good business for solar reflecting cool roof coatings, especially in railways and defense. We are equally working for other industries. We hope the product 0.3C can be used in Prime Minister Awas Yogna houses where poor buyers who cannot afford AC’s and coolers to take advantage of this cool roof technology. We are now ready with Graphene production and soon we will be selling it. We are already promoting its use in coating industry. Our business of paint testing and consultation is already picking up well and we hope top very well by time we approach 2022.

Prof. A.S. Khanna, Chairman, SSPC

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