Battling Hurdles Through a Green Mantra

India’s pipe & pump manufacturing industry is on a constant growth transformation, yet the sectors’ growth pace still remains clouded due to the lack of qualitative and effective installations. Elets News Network finds out…

The construction industry, despite a volatile economy, is on a constant pace of technical and structural transformation. The rising adoption and implementation of globalized techno-approach has today transformed India’s structural outlook to high-rise constructions. Whether it is a high-rise, multistoried or single-storied structure, delivering a prolonged total lifecycle of the construction is a vital facet. Quality in construction can be achieved only with the utilization and implementation of standardized materials.

 However, a common element, often shadowed within the construction process, is the pipes and pumps section. The result of this shadowed or secondary approach towards the importance attached with these segments, often results in weak structures, resulting into collapse of construction structures and loss of life for inhabitants. Meeting the carbon emission standards is the other major factor that needs to be tackled by a builder or a contractor. All these factors have today urged the manufacturers involved in the pipes and pump segment to deliver quality, energy efficient and effective products. Owing to the demand towards affordable and energy efficient structures, the pipes and pump manufacturing industry as a whole is witnessing a Green momentum. The growth pace of the pipes and pumps manufacturing industry is directly related to the construction industry, wherein a slowdown in the latter will visibly affect the pipe manufacturing sector. The constant acceleration in the demand for LEED certified structures has boosted the wave of ‘Green Plumbing’ in India.

Sudhakaran Nair
President, IPA & Chairman, WPC

                   “Plumbing should not be treated as just another building service”

Apart from being the active contributors towards developing energy efficient buildings, Green Plumbing also prevails as an apt solution for water conservation and effective water management. “Green Plumbing is an excellent way to support reduction of water consumption. In this system already used water can be recycled and used again both by the customers and developers in work like flushing, washing, gardening, maintenance and construction,” opines Kumar Bharat, Director, BCC Infrastructures, Bharat City. Upholding the concept of Green Plumbing, Bharat City has installed a Sewerage Treatment Plant which will save around 10 lakh liter everyday, of which 5 lakh liter can be used by the customers in flushing and car washing and the remaining for maintenance functions.

 Shifting Demand Approach
A major market trend eloped due to the green plumbing momentum is the shifting demand approach by the construction industry as well as the end customers towards polyvinyl chloride(PVC), chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (cPVC) and unplasticized polyvinylchloride (uPVC) pipes as against the traditional metal pipes. Apart from its characteristics of being energy efficient components, the PVC, cPVC and uPVC pipes also prevails as apt solutions for ensuring high stiffness and cost effectiveness for the end-user. Apart from being effective plumbing solutions to the residential and commercial structures, these pipe sub-segments has also emerged as a preferred option for the industrial and agricultural purposes. The uPVC pipes, for instance, is approximately half  weight of the copper pipe, one-fifth of steel pipe and one-tenth of cast lion pipe. In addition, these types of pipe sections also offer excellent chemical resistance to acids, alkalis, oxidizing and reducing agents, making it particularly suitable for a wide range of industrial applications. Further, the ability of these pipe sections to remain stable under load to a temperature of about 75°C makes its satisfactory for use in industrial and waste-treatment plants.Despite, these benefits, market leaders still stand firm on the opportunities withheld by metal pipes, particularly in the unexplored sectors like oil and gas. India however still lags behind as against the market penetration being witnessed among the international pipe manufacturers towards the energy sector. “We are seeing robust prospects for India’s electric resistance welded  (ERW) pipes. We see robust prospects for the pipe manufacturing industry in the oil and gas segment,” views Raghav Jindal, MD, Jindal Pipes (Branded as ‘Jindal Star’). He further foresees the development of cross-country pipelines by major oil and gas, power and fertilizer companies to emerge as a growth drive for the metallic pipe manufacturers.

Neeta Sharma
Managing Director IAPMO India

 “Qualitative and effective installations are always a boon to the structure’s total lifecycle”

However, despite these enumerable qualities the pipe manufacturing section as a whole faces the rising concern of implementing standardized and qualitative installations. “Effective installations and green plumbing can phenomenally increase the total lifecycle of a structure from 40 to 70 years. Whereas, neglecting effective pipe installations can result in the reduction of a structure’s total lifespan by about 1-2 percent per year, avers V Suresh, Chairman of Policy and Advocacy Committee, Indian Green Building Council. More importantly if done rightly it will impact in integrated water management, waste management and energy management leading to savings in water and energy use and related costs.

Pumping Ahead on a Green Wave
The story of India’s pump manufacturing industry is paced with a constant technological evolution. The sector’s growth pace has further widened with the prospects of urbanized sphere and high-rise structures. Trailing through the green momentum, the constant and rising technical trend witnessed in the sector is the demand prominence over energy efficient pumps. The rising scope of urbanization in India while has increased the scope for international participation, has also created a more competitive sphere for the pump manufacturers. In addition, the increasing concentration towards maintaining the total cost of construction and on-time delivery of project escalates the demand for faster and high-powered pumps. The growing pressure on enhanced production, operational hours, cost-effectiveness and scarce energy resource has thus drawn a new generation of green pumps in the market.

Adopting this green wave and addressing the demand for energy efficient pumps, one amongst the industry leaders, Grundfos Pumps delivers an innovative technical approach by delivering solar pump solutions. “The focus on renewable energy is also fuelling our sale of solar pump solutions. We also plan to address the mass market with the help of our Italian brand – DAB,” discloses Grundfos spokesperson.

The dynamic and rising customer demand towards the availability of globalized technologies at competitive rates has raised a hurdle before the pump manufacturers on offering innovative and sustainable solutions. In addition, the rising knowledge over carbon emissions and such environmental norms has transformed the market more demanding towards pumps which can not only save money but also assist in reducing the carbon and water footprint. “The key to maximum efficiency is widely recognised as optimising the whole pump system and not only the pumps,” echoes the Grundfos spokesperson. For 80 percent of all pump installations, an intelligent pump system can earn large savings and curb the business energy consumption by as much as half the operational ratio.

The pipe and pump manufacturing industry also witnesses rapid evolution in the implementation of globalized technologies like Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). Though the adoption of this technology was at its pedestal stage few years back, the increasing market competitiveness and need to sustain the pressure from international suppliers has led to a wider adoption of this technology. The utilization of this technology today has evolved as an industry mandate rather than an innovative technical approach. Another promising approach being widely adopted by India’s pump manufacturers is the increasing focus towards international or export markets. The industry today has many of its national organized players, who have established their entrepreneurship in the global market and has established their individual brand names.

Urge for Effective Installations
The pipe and pump manufacturing industry in India though is constantly on a growth evolution, the segment is still mounted with the prolonged presence of unorganized sections. Moreover, the secondary approach being attached towards the importance of effective installations and qualitative workforce in these sections has raised growth barriers before the industry.

According to Sudhakaran Nair, President of Indian Plumbing Association (IPA) and Chairman of World Plumbing Council (WPC), “Plumbing should not be treated as just another building service. Incorrect plumbing installations can have serious implications on the health and safety of occupants of a building, apart from the building structure itself.” According to Nair, the industry needs to improve on three important components – modern codes, trained workforce and technically sound materials and equipments. The government, however, alone cannot achieve the desired results. The building community needs to realize that incorrect plumbing installations can be un-forgiving, for which nationwide awareness campaign as required.

The plumbing industry in India consists of organized and un-organized sectors with the former handling no more than 25 percent volume of total plumbing works. Since every building structure meant for human habitation requires plumbing and as the organized sector consisting of qualified and experienced consultants and contractors is relatively small  across the country, this group generally has remained busy,” outlines Nair. The industry presently faces two prime issues – whether the Indian plumbing industry is capable of offering modern world class plumbing installations. The answer is that the organized sector is capable. To address the second issue, i.e. whether the pipe and pump manufacturing industry enjoys the freedom to provide installations of global standards, the building owners, architects and civil engineers have to come on board.

Qualitative and effective installations are always a boon to the structure’s total lifecycle, shares Neeta Sharma, MD, International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) India. Reviewing the prevalent scenario she outlines lack of qualitative education and skilled workforce as the major hurdles affecting effective pipes and plumbing installations in India. “The situation witnessed in the Indian context is that the plumber won’t be often a trained person or will be hired on a labour contract basis. Hence, the person with little or no qualitative experience when designed to deliver his duty will be able to give an output which is below the standardized mark,” echoes Sharma.

Aiming to address and resolve these concerns, associations like IPA and IAPMO has been actively participating in the work of Bureau of Indian Standards in creation of the chapter related to plumbing in the National Building Code. Since 2008, IPA and IAPMO have published five Plumbing Codes-Uniform Plumbing Code- India, Uniform Green Plumbing Code Supplement – India, Uniform Swimming pool Code- India, Uniform Solar Energy code- India, and Water Efficient Products- India. Adoption of these codes only by the organized segment and neglect by unorganized sector has hindered the sector’s growth pace.

Of late, there are welcome initiatives from the government to create awareness. However, it will require concerted efforts over a sustained period of time to repair the damages caused by decades of neglect,” opines Nair. In addition, there is certainly an increased awareness now as the importance of technically correct plumbing installations is slowly being realized. Also, the size and sophistication of buildings now being built are much larger and complex than in the past. These structures, today, call for technically safe and modern plumbing systems which only qualified and experienced plumbing professionals can provide..


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