With ever-growing scarcity of metals and wood, the domestic and industrial utility of fibreglass is bound to grow significantly.
Even during the tough economic times, the fibreglass industry continues to grow over 25 per cent every year. The material is increasingly used in different segments like automobiles, defence, pharmaceutical and domestic utility. Its properties like insulating to heat, electricity and sound are making it more adoptable in various new segments over time.
“Although, the industry started in 1972 in the state, the general public are not aware what fibreglass is even today. They mistake it is a glass as name suggests. It is a man-made material formed by treating the fibre that is derived from silica (rocks) with various chemicals and bonding agents. This can be crafted in the desired shape according to utility,” said K Narayana Reddy, president, Fibreglass Industries Association of Andhra Pradesh.
About the usage of the product in different segments, he said, “It is widely used in defence because of its robustness and strength. Almost 75 per cent material used in Agni V missile is made up of composite materials. Earlier, pharma industry used to face great difficulty with the corrosion of metal pipes. Today, the industry has adopted the fibreglass for various purposes ranging from pipes, storage vessels to tanks. As there is scarcity in the availability of wood and various metals, fibreglass has emerged as an alternative and even started catching attention of public for interior furniture like chairs and tables,”
“We are trying to create awareness among the public by partnering with the ministry of MSME industries. We are forming an industrial cluster in Ibrahimpatnam in RR District, which will have a common facility centre, testing centre and a training a centre for the growth of the industry.
“As of now, the industries are isolated and located in various places in the city. We requested the MSME ministry, government of India for a fund of `15 cores for developing the cluster and requested the state government to allocate land for the same. The respective ministries are considering the requests favourably to form the first fibreglass cluster in the State,” said Reddy.
On challenges, he said, “There is no adequate human resource for the industry. The work is hand crafted and artistic in nature and even if there is little variance, the product will be rejected and cannot be used for another purpose.
“We are going to offer training to develop our own human resource in the newly formed cluster. We are also encouraging budding entrepreneurs to start their enterprise in the sector by conducting entrepreneurial development programmes in different parts of the state. The industry can be setup from Rs.50,000 to Rs.50 crore and the adequate support will be given by us.”
With ever growing scarcity of metals and wood, the domestic and industrial utility is bound to grow significantly. The global per capita consumption of Fibreglass is 8kg. The developed countries like USA and Japan consume 25 kg and 30 kg respectively. However, it is around 1.5 kg in the country and less than 500g in the State. This shows the potential of the industry which can be tapped over time, he added.