Leaders Talk

"India is a growing market and I feel we will see momentum"

Editor Water Today

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6 mins read
Summary

LANXESS is a leader in specialty chemicals operating in all important global markets and is a leading supplier of advanced intermediates, specialty additives, consumer protection and engineering materials. Its core business comprises the development, manufacturing and marketing of chemical intermediates, additives, specialty chemicals and plastics. In addition, it supports its customers in developing and implementing made-to-measure solutions. In these areas, which are at the very heart of the chemical industry, it has core expertise in the form of chemical and application-related know-how, flexible asset management and customer proximity. LANXESS India Private Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of LANXESS Deutsch land GmbH and has manufacturing facilities in India for five of its business units. The manufacturing sites are located in Nagda in Madhya Pradesh and Jhagadia in Gujarat. LANXESS has invested a sizeable amount in India over the years, in green field investments, acquisitions and in upgradation of assets, which validates the potential of the Indian chemical industry. Read on to know from Mr Prakash Shanmugam GM & Head of Business Unit – Liquid Purification Technologies (LPT), India about the business growth and their expansion plans.

Prakash Shanmugam
Prakash Shanmugam
Backed by an experience of more than around 23 years in various Business Lines of Water & Wastewater Treatment Industry / Chemicals / Ion Exchange Resins / Reverse Osmosis Membranes, Mr Prakash Shanmugam is currently the GM & Head of Business Unit – Liquid Purification Technologies (LPT) in India, wherein he is heading the overall Business Unit – Liquid Purification Technologies (LPT) in the Indian sub-continent. Prior to LANXESS he worked with Bayer Chemicals where he held key positions in the field of Sales & Marketing for BU - Ion Exchange Resins and later was involved with the Strategy & Business development of the APAC region for LANXESS.
Q

Can you share your experience journey with LANXESS India?

A

After completing my Chemical Engineering and MBA in Marketing, I joined Bayer Chemicals in February 2003. LANXESS was formed due to the spinoff of Chemicals Division from Bayer in 2004. At Bayer, I was responsible for Ion Exchange Resins and later was involved with the Strategy & Business Development of the APAC region for LANXESS.

With an overall experience of more than 23 years in various Business Lines of Water & Wastewater Treatment Industry / Chemicals / Ion Exchange Resins / Reverse Osmosis Membranes, I am currently responsible for the overall Business Unit – Liquid Purification Technologies (LPT) in the Indian Sub-Continent. My experience with LANXESS has been excellent, wherein I got the opportunity to grow and handle various roles & responsibilities for the same Business Unit.

Q

What is the current product portfolio of LANXESS India Private Limited under the Liquid Purification Technologies unit?

A

LANXESS is a leading specialty chemicals company. The Liquid Purification Technologies (LPT) business unit is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of ion exchange resins with excellent technical know-how and customer service. Our Ion Exchange Resins are used in a diversified range of applications. For more than 80 years, LANXESS’ Lewatit® ion exchange resins and adsorbers are being used in numerous industries to treat and purify water and other liquid media. In addition, it offers a range of Bayoxide® iron oxide adsorbers for various water treatment applications. LANXESS also offers technical support to its customers, helping them identify and implement the right solutions for their requirements. LewaPlus®, LANXESS’ indigenous design software, provides a competitive edge in addressing customer needs.

The most important brands & products include:

· Lewatit® ion exchange resins

· Bayoxide® iron oxide adsorbers

· LewaPlus® calculation and design software

The applications that are increasingly gaining traction in India include wastewater recycling, ground water remediation and various niche and specialty applications.
Q

Currently which applications have an increased demand in India?

A

In India, the different user industries and the wastewater treatment market is very fragmented and geographically spread. All industries right from power sector to chemicals require water. Demand for pharma and wastewater applications have increased to a large extent. Specialty applications also play a very important role.

The applications that are increasingly gaining traction in India include wastewater recycling, ground water remediation and various niche and specialty applications. LANXESS ensures that all its products are available across the globe, giving every market the first-hand experience of its quality products. With our broad product portfolio, we are ideally positioned to serve the Indian market with high demand and strong growth.

Q

Does the manufacturing site in India cater only here or also to the global demand?

A

India has always been an important market for LANXESS. The company has a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility for ion exchange resins in Jhagadia, Gujarat that was inaugurated by our current Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi on Dec 2, 2010. The manufacturing plant in India supplies not only to the domestic markets, but also caters to global demand and meets export requirements.

Beside the plant in Jhagadia, LANXESS also manufactures ion exchange resins at its sites in Leverkusen and Bitterfeld, Germany.

Q

What is the current capacity of the production facility in India and is the company looking to upgrade the capacity, or expand by having another such facility?

A

In the coming years, LANXESS will further expand the ion exchange resins business and plans to build a new production facility. The company plans to invest in these additional capacities in order to meet the growing global demand. At the same time, we also want to grow in promising market segments.

The new ion exchange resin plant will have a production capacity between 20,000 and 30,000 cubic meters and is scheduled for completion within the next five years. LANXESS will decide on the exact location soon.

Q

You are involved in many industrial applications like power, food, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, etc. which sector according to you will gain high momentum in the coming years?

A

India is a growing market and I feel we will see growth and momentum in all the above mentioned sectors.

What we saw in 2020 was a global economic slowdown and India was no exception to that.
Q

LANXESS has been realigning the water treatment business lately by selling the RO Membranes business, what are the future plans?

A

LANXESS will continue to develop its portfolio and in the coming years, will focus on the ion exchange resins business. In addition to our well established ion exchange resins and adsorbers for the industrial and drinking water business, we are focusing on highly specialized applications that are characterized by high demand and strong growth, for example, in the semiconductor industry or in the selective removal of metals, such as for the battery industry. With our technological diversity, we are ideally positioned for this.

Q

LANXESS India is well-known for industrial applications, any plans to tap the municipal/Government market?

A

LANXESS offers a range of products that can be used for arsenic removal and other drinking water applications.

Drinking water supply, wastewater treatment, and waste disposal are among the most critical municipal services. Strict demands are imposed on the purity of drinking water as our most important nutrient. Only responsible treatment practices make it possible to maintain a continuous cycle for turning wastewater back into water suitable for people, animals, agriculture and industry. Waste products and other potential pollutants must be stored and disposed of in such a way that they cannot get into the water cycle. However, the latter is not always guaranteed, unfortunately, making complex treatment operations necessary.

In the treatment of drinking water and wastewater, ion exchange resins benefit from their unique ability to selectively bind ions. Thus, special grades of Lewatit® can be used to remove harmful constituents such as iron or manganese from drinking water, as well as traces of pollutants such as arsenic and lead. Even groundwater can be treated efficiently in this way, in which detrimental constituents such as chromate, nitrate, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), surfactants, and perchlorate are bound to ion exchangers. Ionic and non-ionic contaminants, which could otherwise disrupt operations in biological water treatment plants or endanger the environment, can be removed from waste water just as efficiently.

In addition to ion exchangers, LANXESS offers inorganic adsorbers that can be used in municipal drinking water and wastewater treatment. The Bayoxide® range comprises technical iron oxide adsorbers in granular form. The product variants are based on defined crystalline α-ferric oxide hydroxide structures and are particularly suitable for removing arsenic and phosphate from drinking water or wastewater, but can also remove other metal ions and oxyanions. Bayoxide® products are used in a continuous fixed bed process in which the contaminated water is selectively purified. As a result, this technology can be integrated in existing facilities simply and economically.

Q

Although water & wastewater treatment is a booming industry, has the economic slowdown affected the industry? How do you think the market will perform or develop in 2021-22 in such a situation?

A

What we saw in 2020 was a global economic slowdown and India was no exception to that. We have been able to hold our ship steady in these turbulent waters and are seeing some movement in the market.

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