January 2017

Low & Bonar Ltd Helping Smart City Mission Dream Come True

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Simon Jolley
Market Development Manager,
Low & Bonar PLC, UK

Adfil is a premium product brand of the Low & Bonar Ltd and stands for over three decades of experience in concrete fibre reinforcement, says Simon Jolley, Market Development Manager, Middle and Far East, construction fibres, Low & Bonar PLC, UK in an interview with Manish Arora of Elets News Network (ENN). Excerpts:

What is the overview of your Low & Bonar Ltd organisation? How are your products contributing to a more sustainable world?

Low & Bonar Ltd is a global leader in high performance materials selling in more than 60 countries worldwide. Manufacturing plants are based in Europe, North America, the Middle East and China. The Group designs and manufactures components which add value to, and improve the performance of our customers’ products. We do so by engineering a wide range of polymers using our own manufacturing technologies to create yarn, fibres, industrial and coated fabrics, geosynthetics and composite materials. Our products contribute to a more sustainable world and higher quality of life. They help to make construction sites safer and reduce carbon footprint as well as total cost of ownership. At the same time our products promote cleaner air and water, support higher crop production and create beautiful working and leisure environments.

At the Smart City Conference held in Surat in December 2016, we have promoted Adfil construction fibres. Adfil high-performance macro and micro synthetic fibres are used in a wide range of civil engineering applications. All product types are tailored to meet the demands made on concrete reinforcement solutions in specific end-uses. Examples include tunnels, marine concrete, hardstandings, internal floors, extruded, precast as well as sprayed concrete etc.

How is your organisation linked to Smart Cities Mission?

The improvement in quality of life, sustainability as well as economic growth represent key elements of the Smart Cities Mission. In this, a lot of focus is on ever more efficient use of resources as well as cost reduction. The links between our organisation and the smart cities programme passed by the Government of India are manifold. Low & Bonar Ltd supplies a broad portfolio of products and services aimed at supporting the development of state of the art infrastructure for Surat as well as for other cities which have qualified for the programme.

For most concrete end uses, Adfil synthetic fibres presented at the Smart City Conference make the application of steel mesh reinforcement superfluous. This significantly increases the design freedom and facilitates innovative project development as well as concrete construction compliant with the Smart Cities Mission.

Adfil fibres are far easier to store than bulky steel mesh. This is a major benefit especially at construction sites suffering from space limitations. The fibres are very compact so that their application substantially reduces the number of required truck movements with a significant reduction of CO2 emissions as the result. The same is true for efficient use of raw materials. Waste is almost fully avoided. Adfil fibres are supplied wrapped in a water soluble film. Packed into paper bags, the required reinforcement dosage can be added directly into the concrete mixer. This delivers a major contribution to the sustainability goals of the Smart Cities Mission.

With regards to economic efficiency and growth, one of the biggest advantages of the application of Adfil synthetic fibre reinforcement is the increased speed of construction. The fibres are very easy to use and speed up and simplify the placing of concrete. Unlike steel mesh reinforcement they cannot be misplaced and are uniformly distributed in a 3D matrix. This helps contractors meet challenging production schedules. With no sharp edges sticking out of the concrete application of synthetic fibres at the same time enhances safety for workers on site.

Numerous tests have proven the performance and durability of Adfil synthetic fibres. Durus, a macro synthetic fibre for secondary concrete reinforcement, has passed a test to confirm its functional lifespan of over 100 years. The chemical inertness and stability of Adfil synthetic fibres provide clients the reassurance that their projects will have a long-term integrity. This reduces the need for repair work not only delivering economic benefits but also a contribution to the quality of life in smart cities.

Last but not least, decades of experience as well as industry knowledge create a match between our organisation and the Smart Cities Mission. We do not only see ourselves as the supplier of reliable concrete reinforcement for the development of fast growing cities such as Surat. We want to be a long-term partner to our clients and add integral value to their projects. Customers in India and abroad have access to the rich expertise of our R&D department, product management as well as technical sales managers. Our staff does not only provide in-depth information on international best practices, but even offers free design advice tailored to each specific project. If and as required, our teams are available to offer support and training on site. All together a sound resource for the Smart Cities programme – both in the short as well as in the long run.

Low & Bonar Ltd supplies a broad portfolio of products and services aimed at supporting the development of state of the art infrastructure for Surat as well as for other cities which have qualified for the programme.

How did you find the market in India towards your products?

India is a very important market for Low & Bonar Ltd. I have come on board in late spring this year to develop the Adfil business further in this region and provide technical support to local customers. The annual investments in India allocated to infrastructure are in the order of trillions. Trillions of investment call for a quality construction. Good operating revenues from the projects with least maintenance is the beauty of our products. Apart from the mega infrastructure projects our focus will be on supporting the social infrastructure through our products. The products involve lesser manual interference during construction, quick delivery times at a reduced cost of construction. The offering of the product is so diverse that it can successfully cater to various applications in construction right from a highly engineered tunnel to something as simple as a plaster and renders application. So I see a huge market for construction fibres, which means I have a lot of work to do.

As in other parts of the world the building market is relatively traditional and we have to overcome barriers when going into the market. It is key to have lots of live time with engineers, contractors and project owners with showing the ease of use of macro and micro synthetic fibres and proving through 3rd party technical data the material provides sustainability increase through longer lifetime and CO² reductions.

What are your expansion plans in India?

India is and will remain one of our key target markets. It is actually one of the countries where we aim to achieve the biggest growth during the next five years. We are also investigating other options to optimise the services that we offer to our Indian customers. For example, we are working hard to establish a preferred partner distribution network. As we grow the business we want to invest in local supplies, with the projected growth for India this will be one of the target markets to look at, with an ability to cater different parts of the world through this expansion.

What has been the response of Indian markets so far?

2016 has been a good year for us. We have developed highly engineered applications for the market to adopt, through our qualified and immensely dedicated design engineers and expert professionals. Some highly engineered projects will be using our construction fibres to maintain international construction standards and I thank the market for their response. One thing that I will have to focus on is educating the market about their requirements but a new Indian code, IS 16481:2016 on micro fibres was published this year to help engineers adopt the micro fibres in their day to day construction. In 2016, we saw a positive change in our company structure which has been adopted in India now and post that, I only expect the market to pick up exponentially.

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