A leading company focused on coatings, Axalta Coating Systems has provided products and solutions to the automotive sector to prevent corrosion and increase productivity as well as refinish applications for electric motors, buildings and pipelines. In this interview with Huned Contractor, Vinay Rajadhyaksha, Managing Director, Axalta Coating Systems India (P) Ltd., elaborates on the company’s new technology centre and future plans
Axalta Coating Systems, a leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings, recently set up an expanded technology centre at Savli in Vadodara. The technology investment demonstrates Axalta’s commitment to delivering innovative coating solutions in India, a strategic market in the Asia-Pacific region. Excerpts from the interview:
Could you provide an update about the infrastructure of the company in India?
Axalta Coating Systems India has been doing business since 1996. We have offices in Mumbai and Gurgaon. Our Gurgaon campus houses sales, marketing and global IT services while our regional training centres are based in Kolkata, Gurgaon, Bangalore and Savli. We have a research and development centre and a plant in Vadodara. Our recent addition, the technology centre, features modern equipment that will help us to develop and test our products according to the specifications of our customers. The new centre includes an automotive coatings’ development laboratory and colour laboratory.
The automotive coatings development laboratory will focus on developing special paint formulations to ensure superior colour match, aesthetics and quality. The new laboratory space will feature contemporary robotic spray applicators that can precisely replicate line application conditions inside customer manufacturing plants. The equipment is designed to facilitate the development, approval, quality control, and customer line support required by automotive OEM customers. Additional capabilities at the facility also include colour measurement tools and accelerated paint testing equipment.
Apart from the company’s contribution to the automotive sector, which other sectors have benefited from your technology?
Our major contribution in the past has been the automotive sector. As we build our capability to manufacture different products with different technologies, we will be expanding our presence in light and heavy duty vehicle segments.
What are the recent technological innovations that have changed the coating process?
Axalta has been able to develop and launch various innovative products in the Indian market. High solid, wet on wet system and direct to metal system introduced in the market have led to cycle time reduction and environmentally responsible products.
What are the preferences of industries when it comes to coatings? Are factors like durability, protection and environment-friendliness some of the considerations?
The preference in coating performance will change from industry to industry. However, the main objective is durability, protection, eco-responsibility and appearance of the coating system. Industries are looking for better aesthetic, durable and effective systems while meeting the environmental standards as per the government regulations.
How will the new technology center contribute to the development of new trends in coatings?
The centre at Vadodara will have access to our global technology network, which will help us to get a new range of products faster to the India market. We will be able to work with customers closely to develop new innovative products as per the market needs.
What is the company’s expansion plan for the coming year?
We are expanding our manufacturing capabilities to double our production volumes. The new setup can manufacture the latest generation waterborne coatings, which will be introduced into the Indian market in the near future. We are also working on innovative products that will help our customers to improve productivity, save energy and meet environmental sustainability initiatives with low VOC emission formulations. According to the World Bank, India’s overall economy is projected to grow by 7.2% in the current fiscal year, up from 6.8% in 2016. The automotive industry has started to show strong growth with a CAGR of approximately 7% over the next five years. In line with car sales, there will be an increase in demand for Axalta’s refinish products with leading brands such as Cromax, Standox, Duxone, Lucite and Nason.
How does the Indian coating industry compare with the rest of the world?
The Indian market has been a rising star since the early 1990s with huge market potential in the automotive industry and it is this market potential that prompted Axalta Coatings to focus on the Indian market and expand its global reach. Hence, we have enough scope to grow the coating industry in the future. Since we are focusing more on automotive paints we expect to benefit from the growth in the automotive sector. The exports from India are also increasing and that too will add to our upward momentum in the coating business.
Could you share a case study of the company’s contribution by way of coatings to any OEM?
Axalta has introduced innovative water-borne technology for automotive service centres that significantly reduces volatile organic compounds. This technology not only helps to safeguard the environment but also helps our customers to boost productivity and save costs. Several automotive service centres have already moved to this new technology and many others have plans to do so in the coming years.