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After clear glass, Saint-Gobain moves up the value chain

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Introduces products in interior and exterior glass segments

MR B. SANTHANAM
MR B. SANTHANAM

R. Ravikumar
Vinay Kamath

Saint-Gobain is planning to promote these new brands through a variety of means such as mass media communication (both TV/press), influencer communication to architects, builders and fabricators, direct mailing, exhibitions and tradeshows.

Chennai, Sept. 18

Leveraging the boom in realty and changing architecture, float glass maker Saint-Gobain, moving up the value chain, has introduced value-added products in the interior and exterior glass segments.

There are six types of interior glass Planilaque Evolution (lacquered glass), Masterglass (textured glass), Decorglass (patterned), Diamant (extra clear glass), Satinovo and Baldosa Grabada (matt translucent glass) available in the market.

According to Mr B. Santhanam, Managing Director, Saint-Gobain Glass India, these products are available in various colours and thickness. "They can be toughened, bent, laminated, double-glazed and have possibilities for various other value additions," says Mr Santhanam.

They can be used in partitions, doors, shower screens, signage and furniture, among other things.

Apart from this, Saint-Gobain is doing a lot of market-seeding for exterior reflective glass for solar control such as Reflectasol, Antelio and Cool-lite under the umbrella brand Sun Ban. Reflectasol is primarily for window-glazing in residences and façade-glazing in small and medium projects. While Antelio is meant for medium and large projects, Cool-lite is the premium product in the Sun Ban range, used for façade-glazing in large and mega projects.

"The name Sun Ban was chosen after extensive research with end consumers, dealers, carpenters, fabricators and architects. The research was conducted by IMRB. This research was undertaken in various markets of diverse characteristics," says a company spokesman. The name was selected based on the name sync with the category and its ability to communicate the core product value (heat cutting or solar control).

For the Sun Ban range, the company is also setting up a new line Coater to coat glass. "After a quite successful market-seeding programme, we are setting up the new coating line inside the Chennai facility at a cost of over Rs 120 crore," says Mr Santhanam.

According to him, the new facility will enable the company to deposit layers of metallic oxides on clear float glass or on body-tinted glass by magnetically enhanced cathodic sputtering under vacuum conditions.

"It's a unique coating technology because there are eight layers of coating adding only up to 100 microns and will sustain the heating process after that," he says. The company hopes to make this facility operational soon.

Promotion of brands

Saint-Gobain is planning to promote these new brands through a variety of means such as mass media communication (both TV/press), influencer communication to architects, builders and fabricators, direct mailing, exhibitions and tradeshows.

"We are at present doing a lot of below-the-line marketing programmes," says Mr Santhanam. According to him, in a bid to encourage architecture and design students, the company recently initiated a programme called Transparence. The idea was to generate design solutions using glass as a structural and decorative element, he says.

"Apart from students, we also periodically meet fabricators, processors, builders, architects and carpenters. We educate them a lot about the possible roles of glass as a building material. So far, we have educated around 30,000 carpenters across the country."

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 19, 2006)
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