Armacell is a leading global manufacturer of insulation materials for commercial, residential and industrial applications as well as engineered foams for diverse applications like automotive, windmills & building shells. The company entered Indian market in 1999 and established its manufacturing plant in Pune in 2004. Keshab Chopra, MD, Armacell India Pvt Ltd spoke to Buildotech about Company’s India specific products and future plans.
Armacell Global and India operations
Globally, the company is present on all the major continents and in 13 countries around the world. Armacell has five manufacturing plants in North America, multiple plants in Europe, and plants in Brazil, Saudi Arabia, India, China, Thailand, Korea and Australia. In other major markets/ countries where the company does not have manufacturing facility, it is represented by its sales offices.
Armacell manufactures advanced insulation & engineered foams. The flexible insulation products are for thermal & acoustic purposes normally used in applications where transfer of fluids takes place. Other than electrical application, the technical insulation system can be used for heating, refrigeration, plumbing and air-conditioning applications in residential commercial and industrial buildings.
In India, Armacell manufacturing plant and corporate headquarters are in Pune with offices in Delhi and Mumbai and resident sales engineers based in Kolkatta, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Ahemdabad and other major cities. The tier-II cities where the company has no direct presence, it has a presence via Distributors.
Company’s product focus in India
HVAC is one area that has shown strong development in India. Over the years Air-Conditioning has become a necessity and is no longer considered a luxury and has become essential to any built structure. Our thermal insulation products fit well in this segment and cater to commercial & residential and some industrial applications. Armacell is also focussed on niche sectors such as acoustic products for buildings, automotive and some industrial equipment.
HVAC is a building system that is not visible like windows, ceiling or flooring but works behind these building elements and forms an essential part of any building services. Our air-conditioning Thermal insulation product, Armaflex is a flexible, closed cell, elastomeric, nitrile rubber insulation that offers reliable protection against condensation and energy loss. It offers high level of energy efficiency, minimizes energy loss over the period of life cycle of the system and does not deteriorates with time.
Another important characteristic of the product is good fire behaviour especially important for commercial buildings which has high people density. These structures have central air-conditioning and common mechanical and electrical services throughout the building. Thus fire propagated in one area can quickly spread throughout. Armaflex is an extremely fire safe Class O product that is compliant with UK building code. Apart from piping & ducting insulation products, in the past five years, the company has expanded its acoustic product portfolio in India.
A r m a s o u n d – t h e A c o u s t i c Product from the Armacell Product Basket is a fibre free, microbe resistant acoustic insulation product that reduces duct’s air side noise substantially and is ideal for air handling systems, VAV units, ducts and in general all air side systems.
A new technology to be introduced shortly in India is ArmaFoam- a product made in Belgium. It has structural insulation properties and is being used globally for thermal and structural insulation such as in Europe and Middle East. The product may be launched in India for similar applications.
Refrigeration needs though still limited in India, we see a great potential in food chain refrigeration segment and aim to address this sector in the future.
Indian market & Company growth strategy
In the last 15 years our business in India has grown extremely rapidly. One of the challenges seen since the development of the business here is the shortage of skilled manpower. Although Armacell has trained over 100s of technicians, it still it remains a challenge as many a times at site, the insulation installers level of skill and tool quality are very low.
That is the reason we provide training and certify workers to install our products. The trained technicians are given refresher course every year to keep their skills updated. Armacell also supports the customers on project sites through its five expert application engineers based in key locations in the country.
Indian market is maturing and is now very much quality focussed. Today, the HVAC specifiers and architects rely on quality & reliability to secure their projects. The customer is ready to pay for the quality product and values quality.
Globally, the Company has a wide basket of products and going forward, it plans to introduce latest technologies not yet available in India, within next one year.
Indian market with GDP growth between 5-7% in last few years is attractive and with recent positive sentiment in economy, the construction industry is set to grow fuelling our business. We are looking at expanding the footprint in tier-II & III cities where construction methods and quality are improving consistently. Therefore, our growth strategy includes maintaining the current growth curve, geographical intensification, entering in market segments & applications where we were not present earlier and introducing new products that will drive our future growth.