Home  >  Interview
you can get e-magazine links on WhatsApp.Click here
Pioma_Lactic
Interview
+ Font Resize -

Advanced flooring, integral part of pharma & healthcare infrastructure

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Wednesday, April 24, 2019, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

115398Agradeep Adoption of advanced flooring standards is an essential part of pharma and healthcare infrastructure. Even as Indian pharma sector is fast expanding in key areas like research, manufacture, marketing and services, it is also exploring globally relevant floor concepts to revamp its manufacturing infrastructure.

 Since it is an environment-friendly, health compatible solution resistant to abrasions, global lifesciences industry across the US, EU and South East Asia have made a clear shift towards rubber flooring of late. Indian pharma industry is also keen on using advanced flooring solutions which has long-term sustainability according to Agradeep Mondal, Director Sales, Interface South Asia. In an interaction with Nandita Vijay of Chronicle Pharmabiz, he explains the benefits
of  advanced flooring. Excerpts:
 
How do you assess the current business environment in India for pharmaceutical & healthcare sectors to opt for advanced floorings?
India’s stringent regulations and growing markets for both exports and contract research have opened up new avenues for growth. The sector needs to capitalise on these potential business options. Going by the Pharma Vision 2020, considerable investments are under way from state governments to establish pharma and medical devices parks. Multinational companies like Novartis, GSK among others along with Indian pharma majors like Lupin, Cipla are also seen to invest considerably in R&D. Indian pharma, is valued at $30 billion in 2017-2018 and is projected to be $55 billion by 2025 registering an over nine per cent annual growth. The sector, which exports to over 200 countries, continues to boom and is poised for more expansion. Therefore this is an opportunity for us to venture out for exploring future prospects.
 
 
What are the current challenges faced by the  flooring segment in this industry?
As far as the flooring is considered, any project manager of a pharma facility be it greenfield or brownfield will want a no-nonsense job for the floors. They would definitely opt for practical solutions providing longer lifecycle, durability and the much-needed convenience to easily clean and maintain hygiene. A change in flooring is an uphill task for a manufacturing plant. The need of the hour is to identify corrosion-resistant, with no gaps between the slab surface and the floor covering, slip-resistance and worker safety options. Post commissioning of a new plant, companies could also look for efficient space utilization. Here they would go in for movable walls and glass partitions but ensure that the flooring is kept intact.
 
The US-based Interface, Inc, a global commercial flooring major which acquired Nora Systems, Germany a world leader in rubber floor category to serve high-growth segments of pharma and healthcare mandates hygienic, safe flooring with strong chemical resistance besides high durability compared to other flooring alternatives. We have seen that the pharma and healthcare sectors have undertaken quite a few flooring changes spanning from cement to epoxy and vinyl flooring. However, in the current context of new advanced global production pharma plants, the choice of rubber floor is the right answer for this sector. It prevents cracks and does not wear out easily. Nora by Interface is already the much-desired floor solution provider for healthcare and pharma-biotech industry, apart from educational institutions, public places, airports museums globally.
 
Our floor solutions are homogenous with no coating and have a non-porous surface. Moreover, the floors need to be extremely resilient under the heaviest of loads. Research and manufacturing environments require specific technical properties like being hygienic, easy to clean. In the case of electronic applications during production and testing, electrostatic discharges (ESD) jeopardize the quality and functionality of operations. We offer conductive, non-conductive, or insulating floors avoiding the risk of ESD in laboratories. For a healthcare facility, functional and aesthetic requirements are met. For instance Nora was installed in the Frankfurt airport for over 45 years and withstood the test of time.
 
What are the challenges that emerge when advanced flooring solution providers approach pharma-biotech and healthcare providers?
Every project is different as the demands made on the design of floors are determined for different kinds of building and related activities. We do see pharma and hospital customers looking out for innovative floor solutions. Our entry into India was envisaged by the expansion of pharma-biotech projects based on global customer dependence. Globally in the US and Europe, most of the big companies and hospitals use Nora and in Europe alone we have a 70 per cent market share.
 
In India the challenge for Nora is to look at reference points of large pharma companies and hospitals to build trust. Our product speaks for itself and the customer satisfaction videos vouch for Nora.
 
How has Nora fared so far in this segment of lifesciences which require strict regulatory clearances?
So far our product has been well accepted in India. US FDA, EU guidance and ICH Q7 require floor finishes to be smooth and easy to clean. This is also driven by the need for GMP which is indispensable in pharma and biotech sectors. In India too, the concerns regarding compliance with the cGMP guidelines mandate standards for the flooring systems. They are critical in departments like mechanical, chemical, production lines, research facilities, packaging systems and storage areas. Companies have gone in for epoxy flooring to reduce the risk of biological contamination and static control flooring to mitigate the risk of explosions or fires in areas that contain volatile chemical compounds or powders. Now Nora is certified for all forms of flooring for any license and certification. This is either with the roll form or tile form, hot and cold welds. Tile is far more modular than Roll form. Our floors are seamless, far easier to clean, allowing for a safer and more hygienic setting for pharmaceutical research and manufacturing.
 
What do you feel about the competition for floorings in pharma, biotech and healthcare sectors of India?
The competition in flooring for us is in vinyl. The price is a challenging factor because it is far lower in India and across the world for Nora floors. Since companies will have to pay more for rubber, it is the biggest hurdle in introducing this product in India. Therefore, we will have to educate the user companies about the benefits of rubber flooring. Going by the usage of rubber floors in pharma and healthcare facilities globally, Indians who have the opportunity to visit the user  companies can gauge the inherent advantages of this flooring  such as reliability and high quality. So we would highlight Nora’s lifecycle cost rather than the initial capital outlay. We are confident that Indian pharma and healthcare companies will introspect on the long-term advantage of rubber floors which do not  need  repair or replacement like vinyl floors. The lifespan of rubber floors is 30 years as against 3-5 years of vinyl floors.
 
What is your strategy in India to enter this market?
Our strategy is to target top 250 Indian pharma companies which are generating over 80 per cent of revenues. We intent to highlight the rubber floor concepts across manufacturing and R&D labs. Our plan is to discuss and deliberate with the 50 per cent of the top 250 Indian pharma companies. Once these companies shift to rubber, they will be the influencers on pharma floor options across the industry chain. This transition, we feel will percolate at a faster pace to help establish our brand.
 
What are your expectations both from global and India’s stand point to step up business in the near future?
India is our growth engine. We already have a strong team in carpets and are planning to double our workforce. We intend to implement floor tests with our rubber solutions to convince customers that it fulfills every critical parameter of safety, durability and hygiene.  Our experience specifically in the South East Asian region is that Singapore is most advanced and receptive to the benefits of rubber floor. Malaysia is our second stop where customers are convinced that rubber floors are the future. In Vietnam, orders are promising. However, it is Korea which is the hub of vinyl floors that is seeing a visible shift towards rubber. In fact, Korea, accounts for the largest source of vinyl floors to all parts of the world. We are looking at the possibility of 5 to 10 per cent share of our overall revenues from this region.

 

Post Your commentsPOST YOUR COMMENT
Comments
* Name :     
* Email :    
  Website :  
   
     
 
 
 
Copyright © 2016 Saffron Media Pvt. Ltd |