Monday, September 21, 2020

Interview-Subhash Cipy (Cipy Polyurethane)

There is huge potential for commercial floorings to replace granites and marbles

A pioneer in protective coatings and floor toppings in India since 1976, Cipy offers a variety of products based on a variety of polymers such as polyurethane, epoxy, mcu and polyurea for a variety of applications in market segments like automotive, pharma, infrastructure, healthcare, oil,gas, power, electronics, engineering, textile and chemical industries. SUBASH CIPY, MANAGING DIRECTOR, CIPY POLYURETHANE, responded to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES’s queries


Brief us about the current market value of the industrial flooring sector in India? Give us an understanding of the role played by your firm in this sector and your contribution to the overall market?
The current market size for liquid industrial flooring systems could be around `250-300 crore which excludes cementitious and vinyl floorings. As everyone knows in this industry, Cipy made the first break through in liquid applied industrial floorings in 1985 when everyone was scoffing at the idea of painting a concrete floor, considered it as a place where everything was to be dumped and then swept the next day. Cipy metamorphosed the Indian industrial floors from a place of contempt to a place of reflection. We christened these novel products as ‘Floors from Cans’. We led the way in this segment and every one followed us.


Please provide some details of your product offerings for the Indian and international markets. What are the projects in which they have found application?
Cipy is one company in the country which offers a myriad of technologies for floorings, right from conventional epoxies, polyurethanes, EPUs, PU-Concrete, MMA to Polyaspartics. In India, we are the market leaders offering diverse technologies. In the international market, we export epoxy and PU-Concrete floorings. To name a few illustrious projects in various market segments, I would like to mention here about the 1.5 lakh sq m flooring job we did for Honda. Similarly, we did the single largest pharma order for Sandoz. Currently, we’ve bagged the largest flooring in F&B order from Cadbury.


Which are the major demand sectors for your products in India and what are the opportunities you are seeking to grow your business?
When we introduced floor coatings, the pharma and F&B segments were in a very nascent stage in India. The advent of Maruti in 80s changed the automobile scenario of the country and we focussed our efforts in auto and engineering segments. Even today, our major revenues are still coming from this segment, as we are present in 90 per cent of the automobile companies. Auto sector witnessed recession in the last few years which forced us to look into other untapped segments. Today, our focus area is F&B segment and with our PU-Concrete technology, we have made rapid progress in this segment.


Tell us about your manufacturing units, their current capacities and investments and plans to raise the profile of your firm going forward?
We have two manufacturing units at Shirwal, 70 kms away from Pune on Pune-Bangalore highway. We have the largest manufacturing capacities for flooring
products to the tune of 20,000 tons per annum. We do manufacture our own resins, adducts and hardeners. We are setting up a new facility to manufacture industrial colourants. With such backward integration, our company is poised to meet any challenges in the market: technology and commerce.


What are the prevalent trends in the industrial flooring segment?
In the industrial flooring segment, the majority of players are indulged in epoxy formulations which are run-of-the mill types of floorings. Very few are engaged in PU or PU Concrete floorings. The customers are looking beyond conventional floorings. I feel that epoxy floorings have overrun their shelf life. Polyaspartics and MMA will hold a future, as both are rapid curing with so many welcome features. We introduced the first hybrid flooring, EPU, but to counter our movement, many came out with cheaper imitations which created doubts in customer minds. EPU and PU will replace epoxies slowly.


Tell us about your emphasis on sustainability and green in the course of product development?
We are very conscious of our planet and the environment we are living in. It is our endeavour to use maximum renewable sources in our products. Castor oil, Castor oil based polyols, Cardanol based phenalkamines and amides are predominantly employed in our formulations. We do not use hazardous chemicals like chromes, leads etc. Our company is actively involved in Green Building activities.


What are the major challenges faced by the Indian industrial flooring industry - and what are the solutions you propose to facilitate ease of doing business?
Many consider that coating on concrete is still a luxury. Our challenge is to convert these people into prospective customers. I always ask them: Why do you paint on metal structures in your facilities? Their answer is, they want to avoid corrosion, ie, visual rusting. The concrete also corrodes and erodes if it is unprotected. Oils, fuels and chemicals go into the ground, thus polluting the ground water. All industrial floors need to be protected with floor coatings. Another challenge is to face the competition from unorganised sectors which flood the market with low cost epoxies. Our endeavour is to make the customers aware of epoxy’s shortcomings and convert them to PU, EPU or PU Concrete followers.


Tell us about the new growth areas for your business in the coming years?
We target now pharma and F&B segments. These segments never show any slowdown, unlike auto and engineering. India is a growing market for these segments. Car park flooring is another growth area for the coming years. We are doing a major car park job at Lulu Mall, Asia’s largest shopping mall chain at Kochi. We also want to introduce new technologies like polyaspartics and MMA in industrial flooring scenario.


With growing emphasis on urbanisation and big ticket infrastructure projects what are the prospects for the industrial flooring industry in the coming years?
I feel that there is a huge potential for commercial floorings in India to replace granites and marbles. During my recent trip to Qatar, I saw the entire airport was floored by epoxy terrazzo with over 100,000 sq mtrs of it. I want to work in that direction where art and science are fused to bring innovative designs and patterns. Car park floorings will get a major boost in the infrastructure revolution. We have also come out with high strength cementitious screeds as underlays which will find a market in the changed scenario.

Leave a Comment

Email Address
(will not be published)