07 June 2020

Interaction - Shailesh Kumar, Business Director-Floorings, SIKA India

Revolutionised the flooring industry globally


Swiss construction chemicals major Sika is an entrenched player in the Indian market. Over the years, the company has made major inroads in the industrial floorings market. Its R&D Centre is recognised by the Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India. In an exclusive interview to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES, SHAILESH KUMAR, BUSINESS DIRECTOR – FLOORING, SIKA INDIA, discusses their innovative product offerings and laments the lack of technical guidelines for flooring in India.




Tell us briefly about your assessment on the industrial flooring market in India, in terms of volume and value.

The industrial flooring industry is poised for a rapid growth which is driven by the Government’s ‘Make-in-India’ initiative and the GST, which will further enhance investments in the industrial and infrastructure space. The estimated market size that includes cementitious, liquids, and resinous products is approximately `650 crores, with an expected annual growth rate of 15 per cent.




Tell us about the various types of industrial floorings offered by your company, in terms of types and applications.

Sika is the global leader in industrial flooring. In fact, we are one of the very few companies to offer the complete range of flooring products locally under one umbrella. Some of the types of products that we offer are; dry shake hardeners, liquid densification and curing products, rigid and flexible wall and floor protective finishing products, joint treatment products, high performance anti-static conductive and dissipative solutions, flexible car deck systems, etc.




What are the demand trends driving the market for industrial flooring products in India?

The industry has witnessed an increased level of awareness. The adoption of new technologies to meet demands such as speed of construction, long service life and need for Flatter floors, especially in the warehousing sector, has contributed to the demand. In addition, we see the increasing use of joint-less floors over traditional jointed solutions for lower maintenance, reduced downtime and ease of operations. Specific sectors like F&B, FMCG, and Pharma, are showing an increased propensity towards using cementitious and pure polyurethane systems although it is recommended to go with a combination system depending on loading and exposure conditions to realise the complete value. Few high end residential and commercial developers have adopted resin based overlay systems for car parks and the penetration of technologies will only enhance demand in the years to come.




What is the average lifecycle and ease of maintenance of your flooring products?

A number of factors determine the lifecycle of the applied floor. While right system selection and experience of the applicator is important, a critical part which many a time remains compromised is the surface preparation. The International Concrete Repair Institute (ICRI) guideline recommends nine types of substrate profiles to be selected from, depending on the thickness of the resin system to be applied. When all these factors are put in place, the floor can provide a functional life in excess of 10 years irrespective of whether an epoxy or polyurethane system is used. Having said this, many users opt for a maintenance recoat every 3-5 years for aesthetic purposes.




Any new product launches from your company, their unique features.

As mentioned above, Sika has successfully received testimonials from a number of customer locations for its Floor Joint system which was initiated last year for test marketing. This has been widely accepted by many industries, as a unique solution for repairs of their joints. This will be a key product for us, for this year and beyond.




Impact of GST on your products.

There is no negative impact foreseen with the rollout of GST. In fact, this will come as a major advantage, as the customers will be able to take the input credit, thereby, reducing their costs and at the same time creating further demand for these products.



Major challenges faced by the industrial flooring market in India.

At present, the industry is devoid of a local standard or guideline which can be a reference for engineers and owners to design their floors. Especially for floor finishes, the users rely on the manufacturers’ recommendation for a solution, and given the diversity of industry players, it often gets difficult for the user to arrive at the fit for purpose solution for their floors. In addition, cracking of concrete floors continues to be a major challenge to attain a durable flooring system. This needs attention from all stakeholders, from the process of design, specification, material, - to execution, to overcome this.




Cutting edge technologies featured in your products. What distinguishes your products from competitors?

One of the pain areas of many industrial floors is the expansion joints as it requires regular maintenance and causes damage to forklifts, etc. This results in production loss and therefore impacts revenues. The Sika FloorJoint is a unique solution based on carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer composite prefabricated panel. This can be used for newly built and for refurbishing existing floor joints, and can be grinded to match the flatness of the existing concrete floor or overlay. Sika is also known for the invention of the “EpoCem” technology, which revolutionised the flooring industry globally. It is a moisture barrier technology for avoiding “delamination” of resin flooring, which until today remains the most proven technology against this perennial problem.




Your strategy to play in a price sensitive market.

One of Sika’s key strengths is its strong technical service both globally and in India to provide value to its customers. This includes floor survey for product selection, job site testing, mock ups, etc; apart from the regular visits by our technical team to provide application services or otherwise.




Future outlook for the industry and from your company’s perspective.

With GST viewed as one of the landmark reforms in the country, we foresee increased investments happening in all sectors, especially the Industrial segment. The Prime Ministers commitment to Climate Change will see power generation driven by renewable energy, especially solar power.

These are positive indicators for the flooring industry and Sika has the local experience and products to service these upcoming segments.

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