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Glass industry looks at value additions

Post Time:Jul 23,2009Classify:Industry NewsView:229

With the real estate market slowing down, the glass industry is diversifying into interior decoration, furniture, murals and other value additions to keep the show going.
 
Real estate is the biggest consumer of flat glass for windows, doors, partitions and a host of other applications. The sector has been growing at some 20 per cent a year over the past five years. But with the real estate in the doldrums, the industry has taken a hit of 20 per cent and as a result there has been no net growth this year. However, the automobile sector is still a big user of flat glass.

There are about 50 units, in both the organised and unorganised sectors, in and around Hyderabad, which get glass from the manufacturers and process it for size, shape, design and other requirements of customers. The sector is faced with shortage of trained manpower and technicians. Also, processing units are largely independent, with very little networking among themselves.

The flat glass market in the state is valued at over Rs 250 crore per year. The processing units here cater to the Hyderabad, Visakhaptanam, Vijaywada and other thriving markets in the state.

“This is a lean period and we hope that the demand for glass will rebound in a year’s time,” said Shiv Kumar Rungta, managing director of Rungta Glasstech Private Limited. According to him, the growth of the industry is dependent on construction and architecture activities. Also, there are few materials that can compete with glass in terms of being economical, safe and energy- efficient.

Rungta has a capacity to process 100,000 sq meters of glass a year and is now planning to set up a laminated glass manufacturing facility in the city. This would be ideal for making partitions, including sound-proof partitions, and will be shatterproof. The facility represents an effort to increase value addition.

According to Kapil Gupta, director of Prakash Glass, one of one the oldest glass tempering units in Hyderabad, the company is now gearing up to introduce digital printing on glass, the first of its kind in Hyderabad, to propel the demand for glass.

It ordered printing machinery from Italy costing Rs 6 crore, which can print a sheet of glass that is about 8 feet wide and 12 feet long. “Landscapes, portraits and logos can be done aesthetically in an hour,” he said. Glass is currently hand-painted and delivery schedules are long. The new printing technology is also likely to persuade outdoor media houses to replace some vinyl hoardings with glass, which allows light to pass through it, and would be better suited for front and back lit panels.

“Glass digital printing will start in January 2010,” said Gupta, adding that the market potential for this is vast. Also, the industry is anticipating an increase in the demand for glass once the Energy Conservation and Building Code is implemented on a bigger scale. “Glass is an energy-saving material with a multitude of uses,” he said.
 

Source: business-standardAuthor: shangyi

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