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A Look At What The Near Future Holds For Glass Processing Industry

As questions and doubts cloud the mind amid a deadly pandemic and the ensuing economic cost brought about by lockdowns to stem the spread of the virus, Glass Bulletin speaks to experts for some reliable information and guidance.

In the present crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, there are lot of negative inputs and apprehensions. Everybody is concerned about their work and businesses, questioning themselves if investment plans or new projects should be taken forward or shelved till the situation normalises. And most importantly, whom to ask and whose guidance to follow. So, Glass bulletin decided to undertake a study, talk to industry experts and come out with reliable information. Most experts we spoke to feel investment, expansion or new projects take a minimum of six-eight months to realise. That means even if you start now, by the time the project is operational, things would have geared up and demand is up. And this lockdown gives us the perfect opportunity to do just that. There are different markets which need safety glass White goods / Household Equipment- With experts projecting social distancing as part of our lives in the near future, people will aim to be more self-reliant, mainly out of fear, meaning less household helps. This, in turn, will fuel more use of washing machines, microwaves etc. Presently, almost 40-50 per cent of equipment glasses used in refrigerators, washing machines, microwaves, cook tops etc. are being imported. Now, with government policies aiming for a self-reliant India, there is a scope for Indian companies to fill up this huge gap. Also during January-May, initially China was under lockdown which was followed by a lockdown in India. So, supplies have almost come to a standstill. It’s a big blow, as all the stocks are almost exhausted. OEMs have realised that depending on any one country is a big mistake and now want a backup that fuels requirements from local glass processors. Additionally other Southeast Asian countries also realised the same and for them India is the most reliable source. Some Indian processors have already received export orders from neighbouring countries. That is another big opportunity. So if we are capable of supplying, we can grab this market. Architectural glass- projects which are already started and are halfway through will have to go ahead and be completed. The government’s India policy to have 100 GW plus solar power in the next five years is another opportunity. One MW power equals 6,500 square metres of glass, and the Centre wants this to be exclusively sourced from processors in the country, including solar panels. Because of pricing and technology more than 60 per cent solar panels are imported. Centre is pushing hard for indigenous components, which off course will benefit local processors. A totally new market will evolve due to people looking to avoid going out and so establishments which encourage social distancing will be more welcome. So, hotels, restaurants and offices among others will use more glass as partitions. All counters or single-window operations will have glass as partition. Banks, hospitals, shops, offices and even cabs will use glass for this sole purpose. And in some cases, glass cabins will require a temperature measurement facility.

1. Government policies and its Rs 20-lakh crore package talk of investment in different sectors like food industries, dairies, cold chains, aviation, airports, defence and what not. This will draw investment and that will mean more use of glass.

2. Focus on the health sector will be more prominent. This means more hospitals, dispensaries, labs etc. And glass is a must in these facilities.

3. All big establishments have already started check points at entrances to screen people entering these. As such, checking booths need glass cabins.

Even though the situation looks bleak at this time, we have to remember that the crisis is only temporary. This will eventually get better although that might entail making certain changes in lifestyles and work cultures. We must not forget that usage of glass brings more transparency and safety. Coupled with the ease of cleaning, it is a sought-after product at present. If we see per capita consumption of glass in India, it is just around 4 kg per person. Whereas, in advanced countries, per capita consumption of glass is almost eight times more. So, usage of processed glass will continue to increase in the near future. With the economy going through a slowdown, prices of products and even raw materials will be lower. Use the opportunity provided by the lockdown to plan your investments, expansion plans or new projects. Seize this opportunity and be the one to make the right decision at the right time!

The government’s India policy to have 100 GW plus solar power in the next five years is another opportunity. One MW power equals 6,500 square metres glass, and the Centre wants this to be exclusively sourced from processors in the country, including solar panels. Because of pricing and technology more than 60 percent solar panels are imported. “

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