Dow Corning, a global leader in silicones, silicon-based technology and innovation, showcased its high-performance solutions for building and construction, at the Glass Technology Expo 2016 in New Delhi recently. The range of technologies included high-performance silicone adhesives and sealants for building facades, silicone-based water repellent coatings and additives to improve the sustainability of building materials, and much more.
“Silicones have been used in glass facades for over 50 years now; in the construction space the acceptability of silicones is very high,” said Padmadas Nair, S&T Leader, Dow Corning. “The market is growing and we see huge opportunity and we continue to introduce our innovative products/solutions and work with customer and business partners,” he added. Demonstrating Dow Corning’s commitment to Indian customers, Nair shared with Sourcing Hardware a few of the silicone–based innovations that the company has launched recently and is promoting in India. “We have in the recent past introduced Transparent Structural Silicone Adhesive (TSSA) for fixed-point exterior glass façade, PanelFix System, and 121 Structural Glazing Sealant,” he informed.
TSSA is an innovative, high strength structural adhesive that provides bonding option for crystal clear, fixed point external glass facades, helps maximise thermal performance, and allows designers to avoid unsightly drilling when joining glass pieces. “With this adhesive you don’t have to drill holes through the glass and, more so, it gives you a sleek flush glass façade. It prevents air leakage which otherwise affects the insulation performance of the building,” explained Nair.
“We are the only company to have this product in the market that gives the architect huge advantage in creating sleek design – exteriors as well as interiors – and an opportunity to make the building look and perform much better,” added Sanjay Sathe, commercial leader (India region), Dow Corning. “TSSA is fairly new to the Indian market. One of the projects in Delhi has used our products. While we are seeing increasing acceptance it will take time.”
“We have also introduced a panel bonding adhesive, viz PanelFix System,” said Sathe, further explaining that it enables high-performance invisible panel bonding for ventilated rainscreen facades. “There is a growing trend of the use of high pressure laminates for exterior cladding. For bonding, there is the traditional method of using mechanical bolts, but with the panel bonding adhesive you can avoid the mechanical bolts. The facade looks sleek and flush without the bolts,” he said. Adding more to it, Nair said, “This unique system enables a wider range of design options for designers and architects by ensuring pure, flush and uninterrupted façade aesthetics. It is also highly durable, safe, and easy to use.”
The third product is 121 structural glazing sealant (in cartridge form). “This is an easy-to-use and fast curing sealant, for use in structural and weather-sealing applications, which can be used on-site or in-shop. It simplifies façade installation and reduces repair time as well,” explained Nair. All the three products are in-house technologies, he added.
As an innovative company in the field of silicones, Dow Corning consistently invests in R&D. “We invest 3-4% of sales in R&D. This investment has not changed despite the volatilities in the business marketplace,” averred Nair. Most of the innovations are not done in isolation but in conjugation with industry/customers based on their needs/requirements, he said, adding that all these innovations are tested and commercially available. “The technologies have succeeded in some markets and have been extrapolated in other markets. All are products are time-tested products.”
In terms of training and development, Dow Corning boasts of the Centre for Construction Expertise, and Sahayog Building Solutions Centre. “One part is educating the influencers and the other is educating those who work on the project. As a company we invest a lot of time, money and effort on those who work on projects,” said Sathe. The Centre for Construction Expertise, the company sponsored education programme, provides training tailored to the needs of India’s construction industry by offering informative skill-building workshops designed to improve the knowledge, skills, and effectiveness of trades people, students, and construction professionals alike.
“We go to Tier II and Tier III cities and conduct hands-on training for people who are on the shop floor and we do this 15-20 times a year for the unskilled labour,” informed Sathe. He goes on to add, “Our yet another India-specific initiative – Sahayog Building Solutions Centre – showcases the wide portfolio of high-performance silicone materials available from Dow Corning.” In fact the centre offers access to the right products and the right expertise by having product demonstration, guidance in product selection and application support. “This is a facility designed for collaboration,” remarked Nair. One such Sahayog centre was launched in Delhi in 2016, and the company plans to have more of such centres in other markets as well.
“The idea is not promotion of products, but education about the use of the products,” said Nair. He added that the company took up the initiative of Centre for Construction Expertise on the premise that there is a huge segment of unskilled people in the construction sector, which if trained and certified, can become small time entrepreneurs. Dow Corning also has an application lab at Mumbai, where it invites customers, users of its products – across the value chain – and conducts training.
“We see India as one of our focus market across business segments. It is robust as well as sustainable. It’s an important contributor to the global revenue,” said Sathe.