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Thursday, Feb 12, 2004

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Fibre reinforced plastics industry set to grow 20%

Our Bureau

Chennai , Feb. 11

THE fibre reinforced plastics (FRP) industry in India is set to grow 20 per cent this year, thanks to the increasing awareness of the material's benefits and the capacities that have come up in the recent years.

The Indian FRP industry is today Rs 1,800-crore big and users are now beginning to see FRP's benefits in comparison to other materials, experts from the industry said at a press conference here.

Orders for an effluent pipeline in Gujarat and a sewerage line in Mumbai stand testimony to the growing acceptance of FRP, which is plastic-based resins reinforced by glass or carbon fibres.

Strategic Engineering (P) Ltd, a Chennai-based company that makes FRP products has seen its turnover grow from Rs 2.5 crore last year to Rs 12 crore this year and there are orders on hand for Rs 40 crore.

Another company, Devi Polymers, that makes the `fibres plus resin' compounds expects to end the year with a Rs 30-crore turnover, Rs 6 crore more than last year, thanks to an expansion project it just completed.

In Chennai, the FRP industry intends to hold an `International Conference and Exhibition on Reinforced Plastics - ICERP 2004', which will highlight the developments in the industry worldwide to an audience of users of the material.

Experts said at the press conference that a huge range of products could be made with FRP — oil and sewer pipelines, large petroleum tanks, windmill blades, car bodies and membranes for water treatment plants.

Unlike steel, FRP does not corrode, but is as strong and yet far cheaper than steel.

In the recent years, three companies — Owens Corning, Binani and St Gobain — have put up plants that manufacture fibres for strengthening the plastic resins with.

There are a 100-odd producers of compounds and about 800 small-scale units, which use the compounds to make products.

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