Growing strength to strength

Growing strength to strength

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Sittal Thakkar, Director, Tipco Industries Ltd

, a product from Tipco Industries, is increasingly becoming popular in the building & construction industry as it offers several advantages when compared with wood. The product is fast becoming a substitute for wood and beyond. It has becoming possible due to Tipco’s intensive concentration on R&D 

Tipco Industries Ltd has been in the field of plastics and composites since 1945. A pioneer in the field of plastics raw materials, Tipco, today, manufactures thermoset resins, phenolic moulding compounds, polyester moulding compounds, glass composites, natural fiber composites, engineered thermoplastics compounds of polypropylene & nylon, masterbatches and material handling pallets.The increasing global demand of sustainable wood substitute products has led Tipco to invent Tipwood® which is a unique composite material that looks, feels and behaves like wood, with added advantages. It is made from renewable natural fiber & specialty thermoset resin, Tipwood® has an extremely low carbon footprint compared to other materials.

“Tipwood® is an ideal wood substitute, without the disadvantages of common wood. It is stronger than wood, termite proof, fungus proof, flame retardant and it has very low moisture absorbance,” says Achal N Thakkar, Managing Director, Tipco Industries Ltd. He further adds, “Tipwood process gives excellent design capabilities in the form of hollow structures, ribbed sections, male – female joints with virtually no wastages. It leads to an eco-friendly product that helps conserve the environment.” In addition to being eco-friendly and 100% wood-free, Tipwood® is predominantly made from Jute fiber which is grown abundantly in India. The promotion and popularisation of Tipwood®
gives a much needed boost to Jute agriculture and jute
processing industries.

Wider application
Tipwood® is being used in multitude of applications such as furniture, wardrobes, cabinets, partition, flooring, decking, fencing, decorative louvers, modular housing, cladding, interiors, exteriors, landscaping, marine applications, etc. Tipco has carried out extensive research on Tipwood® in the areas of resin chemistry, selection & treatment of natural fibers, process design, mechanical behavior, chemical processing, weathering, flammability and various properties certified from establishments such as Indian Institute of Technology (IIT – Powai) and The University Institute of Chemical Technology (UDCT – Mumbai), etc.

Landscape: Tipwood is extensively used in Landscaping for external as well as internal use. The light weight profiles are easy to use in outdoor structures, cabins and landscaping. Aesthetically pleasing, the product has a wood-like finish which is water and UV resistant as well as anti-biological and flame retardant. The applications are Pergolas, Trellis, Gates, Fences, Outdoor Structures, Cabins, Screens, Partitions and more.

Construction: Tipwood is used in construction applications, in many diverse ways, both internally and externally. The material offers high strength to weight ratios, allowing for use in structural applications as well as aesthetic elevations, claddings, coverings and partitations. High strength, thermal insulation, water and UV resistant, anti-biological and flame-retardant etc are Tipwood’s unique qualities. The product can be used in windows, screens, louvers, duct closures, partitions, cladding solutions, roofing, mezzanines etc.

Decking: Tipwood for decking is an excellent material for outdoor flooring solutions. The material is rugged and durable, and can be used in all weather conditions. The applications areas are: decks, platforms, terraces, balconies, swimming pool skirting, walkway bridges etc.

Furniture: The product is excellent for residences, offices, conference halls, exhibitions, educationals institutes etc. Easy to process by conventional fabrication practices, Tipwood can be painted, polished, varnished, coated and laminated. The applications areas are: cupboards, shelves, tables, deska, chairs, benches, patio furniture etc.

R&D at Tipco
Over the years the company has won the trust of builders and architects for its quality products. In order to maintain leadership position in the market, the company routinely takes feedbacks from customers. “We also do lot of applications development for our customers. We offer customisation in form of new designs, tailor-made lengths, and the added benefit of cost & weight reduction, easy of assembly and long life is appreciated by builders and architects,” says Sital Thakkar, Director, Tipco Industries Ltd.

The company pays utmost attention in R&D and invests significantly. “R&D is our backbone which helps us to come out with new Tipwood® products for building and construction industries at regular intervals,” says Sital. No wonder, Tipco has a dedicated team which comprises 7 people for R&D of Tipwood. “We carry out research in plant & machine, product development and chemistry,” says Thakkar. Interestingly, some of its products can be made and delivered to customers which are upto 40 ft long. Besides this, Tipco can also cater to single order up to 10,000 meters in just 15 days. “By our timely delivery and after sales support, we continue to serve our clients meet their targets.”

Marketing strategy
The company is not randomly targeting every region of the country at a time. Rather it is spreading its wings in a phased manner. For example, it has first concentrated its efforts in the western part of the country like Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa. Now, Tipco is focusing on southern India. “We are not just rushing to market our product in every region of the country. Rather we prefer to go region by region. Now our target is southern part of India followed by northern region. We want to be meticulous in our approach,” opines Thakkar. The company already has channel partners who have tied up with Tipco to offer installation and fabrication support to those customers who needs this serve. The company continues to seek partnerships in the form of dealers, distributors and channel partners across India.

Challenges
Like any other segment there exists challenge and for Tipco the goal is to convince builders and architects to explore all benefits of Tipwood®. However, the company has overcome several obstacles over the years by offering value added products. “It used to be a very difficult task few years ago but now it takes less time to work with builders and architects as they successfully test and use Tipwood®. We also offer after sales support and trouble shooting service to our clients,” says Sital.

Future plan
In the days to come, Tipco will export Tipwood® products to other countries. Tipco’s target countries will be China, Far East, Middle East and African continent, and countries where wood is scare. They have already started getting enquiries for Tipwood® from several countries. Besides this, the company would like to reach pan India presence in 2 to 3 years. “Currently, we are catering to 25 reputed clients and our goal is to reach 100 in 12 to 24 months”, concludes Achal Thakkar. (More information on Tipwood® can be found on Tipco’s website.)

By Prasenjit Chakraborty

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