By: Mahesh Londhe, NCL VEKA Ltd.
A candid conversation with Mahesh Londhe Head – Technical, NCL VEKA Ltd. sharing about his professional journey spanning over 20 years, his company’s presence in India, VEKA’s products and services, the challenges faced by the industry and a few solutions which can be adopted. Excerpts from his interview:
Please tell us about your company NCL VEKA and yourself. How long the company has been in this business in the Indian market?
NCL VEKA is a market leader in uPVC profiles in India. With a countrywide presence, the company provides customised solutions in windows and doors that are specially designed to suit the harsh climatic and environmental conditions in India. NCL VEKA has the capacity to manufacture 24,000 tonnes of profiles every year, which can approximately meet the requirements of 5,00,000 homes. While NCL has the largest network of dedicated fabricators in the country, VEKA AG is the largest uPVC manufacturer. VEKA marks its presence in the Indian market since 2004. I have been a part of VEKA for the last 16 years and taking care of all R&D, and technical support.
Tell us briefly about your journey with the company, the merger of NCL and VEKA, and also your company’s major success stories in India?
NCL VEKA is a joint venture between NCL India and VEKA Germany. The two behemoths have a combined experience of 90 years in window manufacturing. While NCL has the largest network of dedicated fabricators in the country, VEKA AG is the largest uPVC manufacturer in the world with a presence across 40 countries. The coming together of the two giants means that the products not just conform to European standards but are also best suited for Indian conditions.
What are the product categories offered by NCL VEKA? Please tell us about a few of your latest iconic and innovative products.
NCL VEKA offers all conventional sliding and casement systems; apart from this, it also offers special systems such as tilt and turns, slide fold, lift and slide, and tilt and slide. A few of VEKA’s latest iconic products are vertical sliders and smart fold doors.
Please tell us about your company’s manufacturing facilities and structure.
NCL VEKA has a state-of-the-art extrusion capacity of 24,000 tonnes of uPVC profiles, which is the largest in India. It is spread over a 2,00,000 Sq ft area. We currently have 24 extrusion lines and plan to include more later this year. As laminated profiles are in demand, we have 3 lamination lines to cater to this requirement.
How do you see the growth of the uPVC profile industry evolving in India?
Growth in urbanisation, followed by an increase in personal disposable income, rise in awareness about the benefits of uPVC products, high migration of working-class population to urban cities and rise in residential units are some major factors, which are responsible for the growth of Indian uPVC doors and windows industry. Moreover, advancements in technologies and an increase in the number of product innovations are leading opportunities for the market.
What has been your organisation’s contribution to bringing about the current revolution in the fenestration sector?
NCL VEKA has the largest variety of profile systems (5 nos. of sliding systems and 4 nos. of casement systems) to offer for the Indian market. This helps our customers in offering the right window system according to sizes, budget, and segment (private or government). NCL VEKA ensures that our fabricators are kept up-to-date and wellinformed about our latest changes and industry standards. Customer service notifies all applicable fabricators about the most recent engineering modifications and new product releases.
Tell us about the iconic projects in which your products are used.
Some of our major clients include L&T, Godrej, Mahindra Life spaces, K Raheja Corp, Prestige Group, Puruvankara, Shriram properties, Trendset Builders, Hero Homes, Tata Realty, premier institutional projects like IITs and IIMs, and many more.
Please throw some light on technologies for windows that help noise cancellation, and also in ensuring water and air tightness.
The performance of the window is very important, hence we test our windows in a test rig from IFT, Germany for main factors such as air permeability, water tightness and wind load according to international standards. In coastal regions or regions where there is heavy rain combined with high winds, regular water drainage system may not work. It needs special arrangement. NCL VEKA offers weldable gaskets, when combined with suitable hardware and glass windows can give maximum sound insulation.
Tell us about the testing and certification methods of your products.
NCL VEKA has a fully equipped QC lab in-house to test our profiles for most of the quality parameters according to international standards. Every batch of raw materials and finished profiles get tested for these parameters. Apart from this, we also get our profiles tested by third-party NABL accredited labs from time to time.
Please tell us about VEKA’s window design software tool
NCL VEKA uses Evolutionary Algorithms (EvA) and Windowmaker software for designing and costing of windows.
What is the emphasis laid on R&D on fenestration designs, materials and technologies, especially for the Indian market?
With a store of experience in extrusion technology built over several decades, VEKA is now one of the pioneers in the development and production of profile systems for uPVC windows and doors. And the latest computer technology, allows a direct quality check to be carried out at any given time. Continuous testing is an integral part of the whole production cycle. Profiles are tested for shrinkage on temperature input, for corner rigidity in frame construction and for precise maintenance of the profile geometry with the help of a computer-controlled scanner. In our R&D department, we not only develop new products and systems but also work on the optimisation of formulations and manufacturing processes.
What do you see as the main challenges faced by the uPVC Profile industry?
Today, uPVC industry is facing challenges such as volatility in raw material prices and supply chain disruption. There are many uPVC profile manufacturers who are not following any manufacturing standards and use low-grade raw materials. The market is getting tainted due to such poor quality profiles and windows which do not last long in the tropical climatic conditions of India.
Tell us about your channel expansion strategies in the market.
The brand VEKA has a presence in over 120 cities across India with a regional office in every Tier1 city. It has a wide and strong network of over 180 exclusive fabricators equipped with modern and state-of-the-art fabrication machines. These fabricators cater to the requirements in their respective cities in both retail and project segments.
What keeps your company ahead of its competitors in terms of services offered?
NCL VEKA has the largest network of fabricators across India. Our biggest manufacturing and warehouse facility can cater to them for any requirement in the shortest span of time. Our technical support system encompasses numerous elements to allow our fabricators to fully utilise the maximum potential of our window and door systems. Technical support includes design support, engineering, testing, training, calculations, etc. As a true system supplier, we also offer hardware and accessories to ensure window quality is maintained. We feel that our customers keep us ahead of our competitors because of our large profile range, strong marketing team, technical support, and their confidence in VEKA.
How do you see the fenestration industry evolving over the next 5 years?
Major consumption of uPVC has been witnessed in the top eight cities mainly in the premium and mid segment of housing. In the recent past, we have been noticing substantial growth in consumption in tier 2, 3 & 4 cities and towns. Further, the central and state governments have been focusing on improving infrastructure in healthcare and education. In consequence, a sizeable opportunity is springing up in the government segment. As India is poised to become the third largest economy, we can foresee exponential growth in the construction industry