"KiTEC is manufactured as a five layer composite consisting of an ultrasonically welded aluminium tube laminated both inside and outside with layers of Polyethylene.The company combines to provide simple and rapid installation requiring far fewer fittings than conventional pipes system. Perhaps KiTEC is the only company in the world that makes composite pipes in black color with carbon black as UV protection having an edge over comparable products. Its state-of-the-art manuacturing facility has pioneered the concept of multilayer pipes in India," says Mr. Avinash Laddha, Managing Director, KiTEC Industries (India) Limited in an Interview with S.K.Khanna.
How does KiTEC Industries look at the present scenario in the country as related to piping systems for civil and industrial application? Are developments in the domestic sector at par with technical developments being witnessed in advanced countries? What is the size of market for these products at present and its projected growth in the next 3-4 years from now?
Piping system in the housing sector does not get the required the importance and cost is the only driving force for decision making. Actually speaking the concealed piping system in a house should have the same importance as that of blood vessels in human body. However that importance is missing. Selection of piping material should be guided by the properties required for the application. In industrial sector, we have much better situation.
We are not at par with technical developments being witnessed in advance countries. We are not making policy decisions in the larger interest of society. Many of the products that are not permitted in developed countries on health grounds are easily used in or country as there are no policy guidelines on the same.
Tell us something about KiTEC,its manufacturing facilities and locations and its product range. How the technical and financial collaboration with KiTECHNOLOGY BV, Netherlands has imparted a position to place cost benefit plumbing solution vis-à-vis traditional plumbing system in the market.
KiTEC has state-of-art manufacturing and testing facilities at its Silvassa plant for manufacture of multilayer composite pipes up to 4." KiTEC has pioneered the concept of multilayer pipes in India. Perhaps we are the first company in the world to make multilayer pipes up to 4"dia. KiTEC has also worked hard to develop unique fitting concept for Indian market to make the system economical.
What are important technical attributes of your flagship Kitec Plumbing system, particularly its cost benefit advantages, without compromising the basic features of composite pipes when used in plumbing application, independently, as well as in combination with Kitec composite pipes and fittings?
When we talk of cost benefit analysis, we must evaluate product's life cycle cost. If you take this concept in account, KiTEC system works out very economical. KiTEC pipes cannot be used independently but will have to be used with KiTEC fittings. It is a total system. KiTEC plumbing system has been designed for over 50 years service life and all the features of composite pipes are fully incorporated.
What is the concept behind Kitec Pipes, particularly its material components which impart them to stand against thermal expansion, deformation of plastic pipes, corrosion/frost, resistance to UV radiation and freezing? What is the estimated service life of the system?
KiTEC is manufactured as a five layer composite consisting of an ultrasonically welded aluminium tube laminated both inside and outside with layers of Polyethylene. The really clever part lies in coating the inside of the pipe so that the fluid is never in contact with the aluminium. The product offers numerous advantages which combine to provide simple and rapid installation requiring far fewer fittings than conventional pipe systems. Half the weight of copper, KiTEC is strong, extremely durable and, above all malleable. It can be installed straight off the coil and bent to shape easily by hand. Once formed, the pipe retains that shape without spring-back or need for additional clips or brackets. It can be bent and reformed many times.
It may be of interest to that in plastics, incorporation of carbon black gives the best UV resistance. Perhaps KiTEC is the only company in the world that makes composite pipes in black color with carbon black as UV protection. Unfortunately, now we see lot of black composite pipes but many of them are not with carbon black but with black pigment that does not give the UV resistance property.
What are the various technical services provided by the company for installing, upkeep and maintenance of the system to the clients?
Right from the beginning, the company has been providing pre–sales and post–sales technical services. We offer design services, training to plumbers and also testing the sites in the initial stages when the plumbers are doing the job for the first time. Once tested and put to use, the system does not need any maintenance unless there is damage to the concealed pipes while drilling holes. It is interesting to know that in such eventuality, KiTEC system can be repaired within minutes by just removing one or two tiles.
What has been the market response to the system so far and your future plans to aggressively promote this revolutionary offering? Other than plumbing–what are the other application where the system can be used?
I would like do say that the market response is not very good and that is mainly because the plumbers are more comfortable with age old system. The jointing system though is very easy but is technical and innovative that causes undesired fears in the minds of plumbers. Cost is another barrier for greater success as any technology oriented quality products would surely cost more.
India can be a huge market for such innovative products. How well is company placed to serve different regions through its marketing network? Are there more such products to be unveiled by the company?
India is not a huge market for innovative products unless they are already popular in western world. We brought in the technology when it was new for the western world. Hence there were not much references to talk about. Even after 12 years and more than 1.5 crores of meters of pipes in use for many years, we have to provide the references.
Yes, we are working on few new products for Indian market. We will surely give the details as and when we firm up our plans and designs.
What are company’s future plans to expand its manufacturing base to other parts of the country to take advantage of emerging civil and industrial requirements in days to come as the present spell of recession is over?
We have already added capacities in the last three years to meet the Country’s requirement and would not have any hesitation to add the capacity as and when required.
Your company was one of the important participants in the second International Exhibition of Plumbing and Allied products. What has been the response of your participation in this exhibition in terms of business promotion and creation of awareness about your company’s products and services? How was the exhibition an ideal platform for the plumbing industry?
Plumbex 2009 response was good. This was the first time when there were many international exhibitors of composite pipe and fittings I believe that would surely increase awareness for Composite Pipes.
KiTEC is associated with IPA right from the beginning and we are really very proud of our association.