V Venkatesan, India, Business Leader, DuPont Engineering Polymers
INTERVIEW V Venkatesan, India, Business Leader, DuPont Engineering Polymers
What is the rationale behind setting up the new Centre for your Engineering Polymers business in India?
We feel it is imperative to have a Centre of Excellence (COE) for achieving sustainable growth in India. The Centre will extend local development support to our key customers in India, in pursuing new applications in automotive, electronics and electricals, industrial consumer industries etc. The COE will enable customers to get support from the concept stage till commercialisation. The COE will give design support (including CAD/ CAE Analysis), material selection, processing support, testing validation etc. This will improve the speed-to-market of many of our customers’ new product development and our applications. We continue to invest in manpower to extend enhanced developmental support to our customers and also introduce new applications in India based on our global experience / expertise.
What steps is DuPont taking to counter the contraction in demand in the Indian and global auto markets?
Like any other global supplier of engineering polymer resins having business operations in India, we have also been impacted by the current contraction in demand in the Indian automotive market. We have a good exposure in other industries as well, which are helping us to reduce the impact of the slowdown in automotive. We are quite bullish on the long term prospects in India for our business and believe that this trend is temporary. We will continue to increase our resources in India in phases, and are trying to adapt to the current situation, by focusing on some short terms goals, till the situation is back to normal.
Which companies does DuPont supply in India and how is this likely to evolve in the future?
We have customers who supply to almost all the automotive OEMs in India. We have been working on some programmes in the automotive industry, which are an extension of applications that are already commercialised in other countries. Hence, we expect our share of revenue from the automotive industry to grow in the long term.
How will the decline in prices of traditional materials affect demand for your engineering polymers in the medium term?
In most of the cases, engineering polymer products are used in specific applications, where the traditional material will not meet the application requirement. With our innovations in materials, we are also helping customers to improve overall cost position. Hence, the decline in prices of traditional materials will have very minor impact on the demand for engineering polymer products.
What are the major factors that are driving automakers to use engineering polymers in India? What are their performance benefits over conventional materials?
The major factors that are driving automakers to use engineering polymers in India are weight and cost reduction in respect of applications which can be converted from metal to plastics. We have a growing portfolio of solutions for advanced metal replacement that design engineers can access to help reduce weight, integrate function and improve overall cost position in structural applications, ranging from steering columns support brackets to stabiliser bars, and under the hood, where many metal-to-plastic conversion opportunities remain. In addition, the engineering polymer product range can also perform much better as they have better mechanical, thermal and other critical properties over conventional materials.
What specific benefits will DuPont customers derive from the establishment of this new Centre of Excellence?
As mentioned earlier, our CoE will enable our customers to pursue new ideas / concepts to commercialisation as they can get all the support needed to do so, in terms of design, material selection, processing and testing and final validation. We will also be in a position to leverage our global expertise and experience in pursuing new applications for our customers.
How will the adoption of stricter emission and safety norms in India impact on the demand for engineering polymers in the automotive industry?
With the adoption of stricter emission and safety norms in India, there is a need for high performance materials usage and system integration and the role of DuPont in providing material solutions to the customers will get added importance.
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