Surfaces Reporter spoke to Mr. Ashok Kumar Bhaiya, CMD, ALUDECOR India who shared his insights about the company, the journey so far and his vision and mission for India's premier brand for Aluminium Composite Panel, a product that garnered much attention, allure, and significance in the architectural skyline of India. Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your comments, queries and feedback.
Q. How did it all begin? Tell us how ALUDECOR started, what was your vision for the brand at that time.
We were looking to bring a product to the Indian market which would be good for the environment, internationally accepted and contemporary. So we at first imported ACP, and test marketed it to find that it would have high acceptability. In 2006 we started production in our own factory, with our own machines, and the rest is history.
Q. What is your take on GST for ACP industry?
GST has made business simpler and transparent and we have always been a company with best business practices.
Q. What would you consider the most significant milestone for the company? What lessons have you learned and how has your approach/strategy evolved over the years.
Our mission has always been to upgrade ourselves to match international standards, and also to establish ourselves as an innovative company. Hence, almost every year we have been innovating or upgrading to new technology. It started with double coat, double bake line, the first of such coating lines in India. We started innovating on product finishes, and have over the years come up with one-of-their-kinds of products like Sand, Rustic and Cortina. We also introduced Copper and Zinc Composite Materials. Today we have the best infrastructure to manufacture the best fire retardant ACP. We have in-house mineral core production line and in-house fire testing lab. We have a baby line, a miniature ACP line where the mineral core is manufactured on trial and put to rigorous tests. Only by passing these tests does a particular batch goes for final production.
Q. After gaining immense popularity, ACP has been on the receiving end of the bargain these days with criticism on its excessive use and building safety failures (fire). What is your take on the whole issue? What should and shouldn't be used and if there is any specific suggestion for choosing the correct product.
We try to educate the industry on the dos and don’ts of ACP application. We try to educate about which product is suitable for exterior and which is suitable for interior. Cutting corners is one of the main reasons for failures. We try to spread awareness on benefits that are long-term. Take the case of building failures due to fire, we try very hard to sensitize the industry on using FR materials mandatorily. We tell them how using FR ACP can protect lives.
Q. What is new in this segment, what kind of innovation, research and development is happening. What is the future of ACP in India? How will innovations drive it?
The industry will see more textured finishes. The signage industry or the corporate identity design industry will see more and more use of ACP; it’s going to be the preferred choice. Interior use and residential use are going to increase. ACP’s demand is only going to grow owing to its many advantages. It’s a preferred product in modern architecture – it can be shaped to unparalleled designs, it’s lightweight too. Innovation is always going to play a key role in the ACP category; innovation in finishes as well as service is going to rule.
“We strongly feel that the National Building Code of our country should ensure mandatory compliance to fire protection rules, instead of voluntary compliance. Also, NBC has codes only about RESISTANCE to fire but silent on REACTION to fire which factors in flammability, type of smoke produced (toxic, non-toxic), flaming droplets production and heat released. It doesn’t have relevant codes for fire testing methods as well. These need to be amended too.”
Q. You have also ventured into some new products categories such as CORTINA - 3D Finish ACP, how is the product acceptance?
It has been more than we expected. We launched it after taking feedbacks from experts. We got many positive inputs from experts. We try to promote co-creation of new products with experts, to promote the feeling of ‘My Aludecor’ in them.
Q. Tell us about the ALUDECOR ' Design & Application Department' launched last year. How does it work?
Very successful, something that the industry has been waiting for. This helps in making the best use of the material and reduce wastage.
Q. Amidst global concerns and India's commitment to reducing green emissions, we cannot ignore the importantn aspects of sustainability and environmental aspects of a product how is ALUDECOR contributing in this segment.
Our product is recyclable and lead free. The water discharged during manufacturing is removed through an effluent treatment plant. We make sure to plant trees against papers consumed by us.
Q. Architects are continuously looking out for innovative products & applications? How does Aludecor maintain to match their expectations time & again?
We take continuous feedback from the market and invest heavily on R&D. We keep updating ourselves with international forecasts.
Q. What is the Biggest differentiator between Aludecor and other branded ACP brands?
We compare ourselves with international brands only. Aludecor’s efforts have been to destroy the myth that the quality of international brands can’t be matched by Indian companies. Today we are equal to international brands in many respects, and in some cases we are ahead of them – like innovation
This article was first published in SURFACES REPORTER MAGAZINE, January 2018. Print copy can be Subscribed at: http://www.surfacesreporter.com/subscription
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