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S. Ramchandran, Technical Head, Jushi Group-India & China Operations "Reduction of Paperwork and Red Tape will Definitely Encourage Composites Exports from India"

Jushi Group Co., Ltd is located in Tongxiang Economic Development Zone in the center of the Yangtze River Delta Economic Circle. Jushi Group is specialized in the production of fiberglass and mainly produces E-glass and C-glass fiberglass products. As the largest fiberglass manufacturer in Asia, the company has been holding the leading position in the fiberglass industry in terms of output, technology, market, market share and economic efficiency.

The brand “Jushi” is a “Top Brand”in China and its main products have been certified by DNV, LR and GL. Forbes China has named Zhang Yuqiang, Chairman and President of Jushi Group, the best CEO of public companies in China. Because of his leadership, Jushi/Gibson has grown to be one of the leading suppliers to the global fiberglass reinforced composites industry. While most companies are cutting back on spending, Jushi is investing $1.5 million USD in 2009 on research and development to improve glass fiber performance in thermoset and thermoplastic composite applications.

In an exclusive interview S. Ramchandran, Technical Head, Jushi Group-India & China Operations, shares his experience with Editor, Lucintel, K. Venkateshwar. Rao. Excerpts:

1. What are the key drivers for composite consumption in India?

S.Ramchandran: Economic growth, investments in infrastructure, characteristics of composites and innovative ways to offer solutions by the material system are the key drivers for composites consumption in India.

India being one of the BRIC countries is poised for gradual economic growth. Massive Investments are being planned with emphasis on power, water, sanitation and alternate energy which will greatly boost composites consumption in India.

1. What are some of the key challenges faced by your company in the composites market?

S. Ramchandran: Key challenges faced by companies in the composites market are acceptance of composite material systems as substitution/replacement for traditional materials like steel, aluminium, replacement of plastics, wood   and concrete. In certain specific markets, composites are accepted,          as a value proposition, but in major (high volume) applications, wherein traditional materials dominate, penetration is rather slow and poor. The issues pertaining to cost structure vs traditional materials, End User/Engineering Community understanding at market place needs to be addressed.

3. Tell us about the impact of government policies on composites industry?

S. Ramchandran: In India huge investments in infrastructure are being planned in several sectors, wherein composites can be successfully used. (Eg) Power, Water / Waste Water Treatment, Sanitation, Environmental issues and alternate energy sectors etc. This coupled with normal economic development in industry, should present an excellent opportunity to composite applications.

With Several Tax Reforms proposed, distortion amongst various     competing industrial units is likely to reduce, with overall emphasis on    equity and rationalization.

4. Key challenges faced by composite end-users?

S. Ramchandran: Quality of finished products and surface finish in some applications are key challenges faced by composite end users in certain markets. There are small, medium and large producers in the market and unhealthy competition results in reduction in quality and reliability. This becomes an obstacle and end users gravitate towards conventional and traditional materials.

5. Government support and policies change that is required to encourage exports of composite components?

S. Ramchandran: Reduction of paper work and red tape will greatly encourage exports.  Reduction of transaction cost and better logistics required from the Government.

6. Emerging applications that you foresee to have a significant bearing on the composites consumption?

S. Ramchandran: Wind Energy turbine blades and other components. Alternate Energy Schemes, components for power sector and structural components, rehabilitation of old bridges, column wrap and rebars etc.  in the construction industry and components with cost effective solution to transportation industry will greatly boost composites consumption in future.

7. How has global slowdown affected the market? How has been your organization’s growth in the last 2-3 years and how do your foresee the growth forward?

S. Ramchandran:  The global slow down has affected partially the Indian market but with strong programme of domestic development in the areas mentioned above, there is continuous optimism for growth forward.

8. Do you see high-potential for composites in the market? If yes, what are some of reasons for the same?

S. Ramchandran: Yes, there is big potential. However, achieving even a certain percentage of this growth depends on competitive advantage vs other material system. Cost / Performance criteria and reduced environmental impact vs wood and other traditional products.

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