18 October 2019

Table of Contents for Special Focus-Industrial Floorings





Special Focus-Industrial Floorings

Pushing forward

 

Rising economic activities and industrialisation in India is expected to bring a growth surge in the flooring chemicals market in India. VEENA KURUP reports.

 

Industrialisation has brought with it a rapid change in technologies, products and services being used in the country. It has especially widened the market for niche and specialised products like construction chemicals. Floorings, especially catering to industrial requirements, is a segment that is increasingly occupying busy market space.

 

A recent report by Research and Markets anticipates the flooring market to reach $331.78 billion by 2020, at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 4.8 per cent from 2015-2020. The Asia-Pacific region alone accounts for around 40 per cent of the market share in terms of value, and is followed by Europe and North America with shares of 23 per cent and 20 per cent respectively. According to industry experts, developing economies like India and China are expected to open up as a prospective market for flooring chemicals solutions industry with increasing concentration of industrial activities. The evolving opportunities in the niche specialty chemical segment has attracted both local chemical manufacturers and multinationals in the Indian market.

 

DEMAND DRIVERS

Thanks to initiatives like 'Make in India' that manufacturers involved in the industrial flooring segment are seeing encouraging signs for their niche business. The demand for industrial flooring segment today is being particularly driven by the manufacturing, warehousing, automobile, pharmaceutical and food and beverage industries. "Indian automobile segment is on a constant growth path and the country is soon expected to become a leader in the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector. Also, the growth in the retail sector has increased the demand for warehousing units. We are seeing a tremendous rise in the industrial flooring sector owing to these opportunities," says Amit Anand, GM-Projects, Conpro Chemicals Pvt Ltd.

 

Expressing similar views is Gopinath Nagarathnam, Country Head - Refurbishment and Flooring & Coatings, Sika India Pvt Ltd. Says he, "Food and beverages, diary, pharmaceutical, heavy engineering units, automotive and auto-ancillary units, electronics, industrial warehouses, utility areas in buildings, car parks, etc are expected to emerge as the main growth drivers for the flooring chemical business in India."

The market for flooring compounds today comprises 14 per cent of the total construction chemicals market and is currently growing at a rate of about 20 per cent year-on-year. "The growth rate is expected to continue or even exceed in the coming years with increasing awareness of epoxy and polyurethane floors and the growing number of industrial units, especially in the food, pharmaceutical, automobile and engineering sectors," says Manoj Kumar, President, Apurva India Ltd.

 

'Green Revolution' and the increasing importance attached to environmental efficiency are the other two factors being pointed out by industry majors as crucial growth drivers of the floorings industry. The utilisation of ready-mix concrete (RMC) in the construction process has also considerably contributed in widening the need for flooring chemical solutions especially in manufacturing and warehousing units.

 

TECHNICAL TRENDS

Flooring compounds are most commonly used to meet various industrial needs like resistance to abrasion, chemical attacks, moisture penetration, strengthening of damaged floors etc. Epoxy and floor hardeners today constitute a major share of the industrial flooring market. However, the growing technical requirements and specialised industrial operations have led to a rising demand for products offering load bearing abilities and resistance to heat, fire and even sound. Ability to maintain the aesthetic appeal of the flooring systems is the other crucial factor considered during the selection of such chemical solutions.

 

Thanks to technical developments, manufacturers involved in the flooring chemical market are now increasingly offering specialised solutions as one of their key selling points. Uttar Pradesh Conpro Chemicals is one such manufacturer specialising in the expoxy flooring market particularly for VDF floorings. "The segment is growing at the rate of 15-18 per cent since the last three years. Today the market size is of about "Rs.500-Rs.600 crore of which we hold 2 per cent especially in this segment. Our company due to its ability to offer user specific chemical solutions has succeeded in achieving a growth rate of 30-50 per cent," says Anand.

According to Sunny Surlaker, Head Admixtures Division, MC-Bauchemie (I) Pvt Ltd, the customer demand trend is more inclined towards resin-based floorings. He further adds, "Going ahead, the application requirements for flooring solutions is expected to be more specific and project based. The demand will seek products based on dry-shake technology, hardening sealers and industrial screeds, apart from resin based flooring solutions."

 

Apart from the resin and epoxy flooring compounds, industry experts indicate PU Concrete solutions as a product finding fast acceptance in the Indian markets. These user specific chemical products have especially found acceptance in the industrial units demanding heat and chemical resistance. Highlighting the benefits of these solutions, Manoj Kumar says, "The PU based car park deck coating system can replace the VDF concrete screed that is normally provided in a building on top of the mother slab. This product also results in achieving substantial cost savings."

 

The market for flooring solutions is also expected to benefit with heavy industrial usage, productivity and workplace safety and hygiene requirements. Nagarathnam says, "We are also seeing a growing need for high temperature resistant flooring in certain heavy process industries."

 

Energy efficiency is the other crucial factor leading to the the demand for flooring chemical solutions in India. Flowcrete India, is one such manufacturer which offers water based and low VOC formulating solutions resulting in less ozone pollution and reduction in emission of smog forming chemicals. In addition, the company also offers recycled content in its product manufacturing process. The product Flowsport contains up to 60 per cent recycled rubber crumbs from end of life tyre; Mondeco contains 60 per cent recycled clear, coloured and mirrored glass; Isocrete Green Screeds has 40 per cent recycled construction materials and is free from OPC; Flowfresh liquid content is made up of 50 per cent water and renewable materials.

 

SKILL DEFICIT

Despite the evolving opportunities and rapid pace of industrialisation, a crucial challenge affecting the industrial flooring solution market in India is the lack of good applicators. According to industry experts, lack of awareness of selecting and application procedures for flooring solutions often results in projects not achieving the desired output. Improper installations coupled with low thickness floorings leading to floor failures, lack of professionals in installation despite the availability of quality resin products are the other few hindrances faced in the flooring market. The other common problem area is that contractors often depend on local masons or labourers in the application of flooring solutions.

 

According to Kumar in such situations, the client often compromises on the quality and methodology of application. "Such approaches often results in the failure of the flooring system and ultimately earns a bad name for the industry in general. This also affects the customer"s trust on specialised solutions," he adds. Given the low awareness and price sensitive nature of the Indian market, the main challenge is to get consumers to accept products which, while seemingly expensive, are invaluable while considering long-term benefits.

 

Pointing out another major concern affecting the growth of flooring chemical solutions Anand states, "In India there is a serious lack of availability of qualitative application technologies. The equipments required for putting big floors in one go are missing. Consequently the floors develop lot of cracks and ultimately increase time and expense on maintenance."

 

Robust measures hence need to be adopted to ensure that product quality is maintained and stringent application procedures are put into practice. The manufacturers seek a proactive government approach to bring about standardisation in the gradually expanding flooring chemicals market in India. It is expected that the implementation of such stringent norms backed by varied project opportunities can drive the market for flooring solutions on a price-to-performance basis rather than being just price competitive.




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