Monday, June 21, 2021

Interaction - M N Ramesh, MD, Talrak Construction Chemicals Pvt. Ltd.

Innovation is the way of life at Talrak


TALRAK’s core focus is creating superior customer value by providing world class Construction Chemicals to the ever-changing and demanding Indian Construction and Infrastructure industry. In an exclusive interview to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES, M N RAMESH, MANAGING DIRECTOR, TALRAK CONSTRUCTION CHEMICALS PVT. LTD, speaks about the latest trends, his company’s offerings, new launches and a lot more.



Give us an overview of the CC & Waterproofing chemicals market in India, latest trends, and sector challenges.

The construction sector is showing the trends of recovery after a lull due to Covid-19 pandemic. The Union Budget 2021 focuses on spending big on infrastructure and construction sector. Hence still construction sector continues to remain as one of the largest sectors in the country, and it is expected to grow at a healthy rate, owing to the rising population, declining housing loan interest rates etc. These factors have  increased the ability of the middle-class group to spend in housing  and urbanization.

The  Government is taking various steps to restructure corporate taxes and make them more appealing to foreign investors. The move is anticipated to boost investments especially  in  housing and transport infrastructure sectors. Investments worth Several billion Dollars have been proposed by 99 cities under their smart city plans. 100 smart cities and 500 cities are likely to invite investments worth  over `2 trillion in the next 5 years.

The growth drivers of the Indian infrastructure sector, which maintains the demand for construction chemicals are Government initiatives, infrastructure needs, housing development, international investment, and public and private partnership projects.

Increase in infrastructure construction activities across the country is one of the key factors driving the growth of the .Civil Construction market. Lack of availability of skilled labour in India is likely to be a stumbling block for the market’s growth. The Indian construction chemicals market is estimated to witness a  growth, at an estimated CAGR of over 8%, over the forecast period. The Indian construction chemicals market likely to be sluggish if the Covid 19 situation worsens. However, the  demand for remedial waterproofing will be more due to the aging of the buildings. The demand for the Construction chemicals, such as concrete admixtures, adhesives, sealants, which have immediate tangible effects is likely to be high as many infrastructure projects such as concrete roads, Metro rail and bridges are going on.



Detail us on the range of CC & Waterproofing chemicals and its applications offered by your  company. What are the USP’s of your products/solutions Vis-à-vis competition. Advantages of using your CC & Waterproofing chemicals in terms of savings on construction cost, time, and labour. 

Talrak has a very wide range Construction chemicals (over 170) products categorised under product groups of Concrete Admixtures and Surface treatments, Sealants, Grouts and Anchors, Special Adhesives, Flooring products and builder products such as ready-mix plasters, tile adhesives and tile grouts and a very wide range of waterproofing products. We offer Köster brand of waterproofing products in India, which are high performance waterproofing products suitable for positive and negative side waterproofing such as basements, swimming pools, underground reservoirs etc, are imported from Germany. Our USP is providing ‘end-to-end’ solution rather than just product selling approach. We try to understand the needs of the customer, before  offering any products. We also provide advise on the use and application of the products free of cost to our customers.

The use of our construction chemicals not only enhances the quality of construction in general and concrete construction in particular, but also helps to collapse the time frame of construction. This helps to reduce time and cost overrun of the projects while ensuring the performance.



What is the company’s approach towards innovation, environment, and sustainability?

Innovation is the way of life at Talrak. We are the first Construction Chemical Company in the country to introduce, Ultra High-Performance Concrete Dry mix supplied in pre-weighed bag, which needs just addition of water at site for mixing to produce a concrete of a compressive strength of 120 MPa. In order to save curing water to achieve a sustainable environment we will be shortly launching internal curing admixtures for concrete obliviating necessity of external curing. Our solar reflecting roof waterproofing coatings reduce the interior temperature in the building which will help to cut-down the cooling costs. All these initiatives collectively help to achieve sustainability in the built environment, though small, but significant.



Challenges faced in terms of availability of skilled labor in your industry and how to overcome them.

The lack of availability of manpower during the pandemic has posed us a challenge in production. Thanks to our fully automated plant, we could overcome the problem by optimizing our mechanized production facility. Further, our application contractors switched over from manual application processes to mechanized application processes such as spraying formulated repair mortars and waterproofing and protective coatings, which has significantly increased the speed of progress with less manpower.



Have you launched any new products or launching new products in the near future?

We at Talrak are all set to launch Internal curing admixtures, which is a disruptive technology in curing of concrete. This is a result of many years of R&D work in our laboratories. The result of initial tests and trials have exhibited very encouraging results prompting us to be ready for commercial launch of the product.



As a manufacturer tell us about the critical challenges faced while introducing high end products in India? To what extent does cost influence a customer’s purchasing decision?

The high-performance products are the high-end products. Indian market is seldom ready to pay a premium price for high performance products, India being a price sensitive market. Most of the contractors have a very tight rope walking in terms of pricing. The specifications in the tender documents and BOQs for Construction chemicals often do not provide for right products and right price estimates. This situation compels the contractors to wait till last minute, for the purchase decision. Hence with very few exceptions, we are always under pressure for prices. Over and above, the realization of the money for the supplies done, does not happen in time. Further, the post Covid situation has caused a steep increase in the freight cost and delay in supplies. All these factors pose a serious challenge in the whole supply chain.



Which sectors are major demand drivers for CC & Waterproofing chemicals in India?

As the volume of the infrastructure, such as highway projects, Metrorail projects is presently significantly high, these sectors are the major demand  drivers for concrete admixture and waterproofing products especially in tunnel constructions. These products include, injection resins, soil strata stabilisation for TBMs etc. Due to deep excavations for multiple basements in urban construction, owing to non-availability of urban land, waterproofing of the basements, especially from negative side, is yet another demand driver for waterproofing.



What is your outlook on the opportunities from renovation and repair of old existing structures for the construction chemical and waterproofing business? Can this area be considered as a new growth driver to strengthen business volumes for players like you?

The market for the restoration and renovation of structures in distress is as big a market as new construction, globally. This situation is not very much different in the Indian perspective. We call this as Remedial Engineering segment. It consists of Repair, strengthening of old structures and retrofitting of old and new structures. For example, the seismic retrofitting of structures which have been built as per old seismic code, are to be retrofitted if the present seismic zone has changed. Similarly, the old bridges need strengthening if the present loadings have changed. If there is a vertical expansion of the building the columns and foundation needs strengthening for additional loads. In all these cases construction chemicals are the material without which such works cannot be completed. Such projects are always present and hence there is a good potential for Remedial Engineering Products. Talrak has a very wide range of products to offer under different technology platforms, for remedial engineering. These include, micro concrete, corrosion inhibiting products, Advanced Polymer composites, polymer modified mortars to name a few. Although it is not a new growth driver, it provides a good opportunity.



Brief us on your manufacturing facilities.

As has already been mentioned, we have a state-of-the-art plant with high spare capacities. We have separate powder plant, Liquid plant (Concrete Admixture and other liquid) and Resin plant. It is equipped with fully automated, PLC controlled systems for Batching, mixing, packing etc. In total we have over 25,000 MT annual capacity. The plant is supported by well equipped QC and development labs.



Future outlook on the industry and from a company perspective.

In any country in the path of development, the necessity is the development of infrastructure. Most of the spending by Government and private sectors, being construction, good opportunities can be expected in the days to come. With more and more involvement of international agencies in the Indian markets, performance-based specifications in the contracts can be expected. More challenging architectural and structural designs create requirements for the high-performance concrete and high-performance waterproofing materials. Talrak will be devising its strategies to be ready to respond to such market needs.

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