Maintaining higher growth momentum on international orders: Niraj More, Managing Director, Grauer & Well (India)

  • August 01, 2022

What is the size of global and India market for surface finishing for FY 2022-23?

The global metal finishing market is estimated to be roughly around US $90.97 bi[1]lion. The metal finishing market is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 4% over the next 5 years. The India metal treatment chemical market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.68% to reach US $378.4 million by the end of 2023. The prominent application includes automotive OEM & component industry followed by metalworking, electrical & electronic, and industrial machinery.

How has been the company’s performance in FY 2021-22 what’s the forecast for FY 2022-23? FY 2021-22 has been a challenging year.

There has been a slowdown in auto manufacturing due to significant supply chain disruptions in chips worldwide; creating muted downstream demand for chemicals. Commodity prices were very volatile throughout the year and spiked in the second half of the financial year. The result of all this had been a significant inflation impact which, our organization, using all possible means managed to circumvent and still managed to achieve growth over last year. Until December 2021, the YTD growth is 45% for the entire group.

• Performance of chemicals division in FY 2021-22 and plans for FY 2022-23

Until December 2021, the YTD growth is 42% in the chemicals division. With our current efforts towards introducing new chemical processes which are free from hazardous chemicals, we expect to bag good orders this year and maintain a healthy growth in FY 2022-23.

• Performance of the engineering division in FY 2021-22 and plans for FY 2022-23

Until December 2021, the YTD growth is more than double in the engineering division. With the effort towards developing new export markets in FY 2021-22, we hope to see some more orders coming in from international customers which should help us in maintaining a healthy growth in FY 2022-23.  We are also working on introducing some new purification systems in our lines which will help reduce waste effluent generation from our plants, thus reducing the total water consumption.

• Performance of paints division in FY 2021-22 and plans for FY 2022-23

Until December 2021, the YTD growth is 34% in the paints division. With our new development in under water cure paints and high-performance for the defence sector, we expect to have a good year ahead. The company has collaborated with NoF Metal Coatings Group and Transocean Coatings.

How do you see these collaborations helping your clients? Any plans for new collaborations?

We have a long-standing relationship with Japan’s number one Zinc Aluminium Flake Coating manufacturers NOF Metal Coatings Asia Pacifc Co. Ltd. Zinc Flake coatings provide outstanding protection to metallic surfaces against corrosion. The coating is known by the name ‘Geomet’ and contains inorganic silver-grey deposits essentially comprising Zinc and Aluminium flakes, uniformly distributed on the entire substrate.

The Geomet process is well established, superior in technology, and environment-friendly. It is used in many industries throughout the world, such as automobiles, windmills, engineering, electricals & electronics, white goods, mining, railways, process industry, and defence.

Growel’s Paints business has tied up with Transocean Netherland for HPC and marine coating. We have been able to cater to the requirements of this industry and the tie up has helped us in bagging large supply contracts against all multinational companies.

You have a world class R&D centre which focuses on technology leadership. What are the new innovations and solutions that the company is working on in the surface finishing field?

Chemical Business: We all are aware that application of coatings (either by electrodeposition or electroless) utilizes several chemical processes. Some of these chemicals are hazardous. In addition, there are some new restrictions coming in force from the developed countries while using these chemicals. To address this issue, our major focus is to develop processes which are free from hazardous chemicals.

Some of the newly developed processes are: Cyanide Free Process; Hexavalent Chrome Free Process; and ROHS Compliant Electroless Nickel.

Cyanide Free Process:

a. Alkaline non cyanide free zinc plating: Traditional process for zinc plating involves sodium cyanide. Our new process is free from cyanide. It involves sodium zincate electrolyte with quaternary ammonium copolymer which acts as a grain refiner. Therefore, we get sustainable zinc deposits with excellent brightness & throwing power.

b. Alkaline cyanide free copper: Utilisation of cyanide copper as strike coat in decorative finishing involving copper-nickel-chrome for several applications e.g. plating on plastics on faucets, hardware etc, is very much well known & also, established. We have successfully established non cyanide alkaline copper & therefore, our clients could avoid using poisonous cyanides at this working domain.

c. Non cyanide Silver: Our recent launch in the cyanide free drive is decorative cyanide free silver plating. We have established this process from plating on bus bars & also, on artificial jewellery components in India.

Hexavalent Chrome Free process:

a. Hexavalent Chrome free passivates using trivalent chrome: Now, client gets relief to refrain in using carcinogenic hexavalent chrome-based passivation process. It is now possible for them to switch over to trivalent chrome based passivates. Trivalent chrome-based processes are not known to be carcinogenic & hence; these are allowed in the industry for usage. Utilizing these new processes, it is now feasible for users to conform to the ROHS, WEEE, ELV, REACH directives.

b. Decorative Chrome plating utilising trivalent chrome-based electrolyte: Our developed products involving trivalent chrome based electrolyte replaces the traditional & edge old hexavalent chrome based solutions.

Therefore, users now can eliminate the hex chrome in the chrome plating space as well.

ROHS Compliant Electroless Nickel: Electroless nickel plating process utilising lead, cadmium is well known. But, usage of lead, cadmium etc are very much restricted.

We have come up with lead & cadmium free options through our new launches. These new processes involve some alternative stabilizers & brighteners to make the corresponding system to enable to get desired stability, brightness & also, corrosion resistance. Some of these processes even surpasses the traditional process in terms of much higher bath life & therefore, it gives client conformance with newer directives and also, improving the overall system performance through lower chemical consumptions which eventually reduces cost of plating and also, environment footprint.

Several coatings are developed to enhance the overall service life of the processed components. This provides the user to extend the part changing schedules & therefore, reduces overall environment footprint. Some of these processes are: Zinc alloys - Zinc Nickel – Alkaline, Acidic, Tin Zinc, Zinc Iron etc.; Post Passivation Sealers for Zinc & Zinc alloys; and Electroless Nickel Composite coatings - Electroless Ni-PTFE, Ni-Diamond increases wear resistance.

Paints Business: We have developed underwater cure paints and other high-performance paints for Brahmos, battle tanks, underground buried pipelines. We have also developed food grade epoxy pains which are approved by NSF USA and WRAS UK

We have been able to cater to the requirements of the industry, and the tie up has helped us in bagging large supply contracts against all multinational companies

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