Alok Kumar Modi, Joint Managing Director, Gujarat Guardian Limited
Emad AlIbrahim, Director, Gujarat Guardian Limited and Vice President, Africa, Middle East, India and Asia, Guardian Glass
Altaf Pathan, Vice President, India, Gujarat Guardian Limited
Gujarat Guardian Limited (GGL) is one of India’s leading manufacturers of float glass. It is a joint venture between Modi Rubber Limited and Guardian Industries Corp. (U.S.A), one of the world’s leading manufacturers of float and fabricated glass products. The company works to create value for its customers & society, and to achieve long-term profitable growth and commercial and operational excellence. As an industry leader, Gujarat Guardian Limited works with a strong network of dealers and retailers. Its leading product, MODIGUARD®, has been a household name for quite some time and enjoys strong brand image.
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In a candid conversation with WFM, Alok Kumar Modi, Joint Managing Director, GGL; Emad Alibrahim, Director, GGL and Vice President, Africa, Middle East, India and Asia, Guardian Glass; and Altaf Pathan, Vice President, India, GGL, talk about the business, the company’s growth and achievements, its new advanced coater and on how Guardian products have achieved unprecedented international acclaim.
WFM: Please give us a brief background on Gujarat Guardian Limited and the company’s foray into the glass industry?
Alok Kumar Modi (AKM): The Modi family has been manufacturing various products for more than four decades. In 1989, we teamed up with Guardian Industries Corp. (U.S.A), one of the world’s leading manufacturers of float and fabricated glass — and formed the joint venture Gujarat Guardian Limited.
In 2017, Gujarat Guardian Limited will install a state-of-the-art advanced sputter coater at its facility in Ankleshwar that will enable it to manufacture high performance products such as Guardian Clima Guard® glass and Guardian SunGuard ® glass.
This investment shows the commitment of both partners to continue to grow in India. In addition to having Emad AlIbrahim as Guardian-appointed Director jointly managing the business with me, Altaf Pathan has recently been appointed Vice President of India for Guardian Glass. Altaf comes to GGL with his knowledge and expertise of operating a float plant and a coating facility in the UAE and is a great addition to the team. Altaf now has full P&L responsibility for GGL.
WFM: Please tell us about your plant at Ankleshwar and on your journey further?
Emad Alibrahim (EA): Our plant, located in Ankleshwar in the Bharuch district of Gujarat, is approximately 60 km from Surat and 80 km from Vadodara. The construction of the plant started in 1990 and was completed in 1993. We started production in the same year. Our glass business is well established in the country after 23 years of operation. We were the first float glass manufacturer in India, and the first one to convert the use of then-available sheet to float glass.
After establishing the float (or annealed) glass plant in India, in 1995 we added a mirror line. The plant is completely automated and we adhere to international and Indian standards.
We want to be good corporate citizens and we do that through an approach we call environmental excellence. We are committed to using fewer resources, as well as to the health and safety of our employees and anyone who enters our facility.
Arihant Aura, Mumbai (SunGuard® Silver 43/31, HD Bronze, Silver 20)
WFM: Float glass was alien to the countrymen when you introduced it. How did you establish the new product?
AKM: India was originally a sheet glass market. GGL manufactured glass using the float glass process. The first step was to make people aware of the advantages of using float glass. Then new manufacturers came with similar products. We worked with many associations promoting the product and educating people on the use and handling of glass. We started running several programmes through which we trained people to cut glass accurately and to properly use machines as there were more people entering the glass trade.
EA: Today, increased population and urbanization in India means a growing demand for high performance low-emissivity (low-E) and selective solar control glass products. GGL is preparing to capitalize on that growth starting next year with the installation of the new coater.
WFM: Kindly brief on Guardian’s specially coated glass with solar control and thermal insulation? What is Guardian SunGuard® sputter coated refl ective glass? What are the advantages of this product?
Altaf Pathan (AP): The products we will produce have leading solar control qualities that exceed the ordinary low-E glass to help achieve LEED® points for a building.
New regulations require buildings to maintain minimum insulation properties, only achievable with coated glass. Guardian’s high performance, energy-efficient glass products provide unsurpassed insulating properties to facade glass. Additionally, they are neutral in colour, unlike many other high performance glass products.
Additionally, our customers tell us they prefer locally sourced coated glass products to eliminate risk in the event of quality issues or breakage, and to reduce excessive transportation, other costs and potential delays. Having an advanced coater at our plant will allow us to address customer concerns while providing the high performance products they need.
EA: These products, combined with our knowledge of our commercial and residential customers in the region, present an excellent opportunity for Gujarat Guardian Limited to create value for our customers and Indian communities. India will see a large benefit from the full adoption of energy-saving glass due to the country’s high cost of energy and its focus on reducing pollution.
Mahavir Icon, Mumbai (SunGuard® Silver 20 & Silver Gray 32)
WFM: What is the advantages of these new products compared to the ones you are manufacturing right now?
AKM: Presently we are manufacturing clear float glass and mirror glass. It is used for applications like windows, furniture, etc.
Our new products will be
high performance solar control glass exclusively used for building facades for reducing glare and solar heat into the building. This glass helps to maintain a comfortable temperature and environment within a building. Solar control glass also has distinct parameters depending on the need, location, budget, performance level, etc. Guardian SunGuard® and Guardian ClimaGuard® glass provide a comprehensive range of products that allow builders and architects to explore all the aesthetic and functional possibilities of light while meeting increasingly complex energy, LEED and performance requirements.
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GGL’s Guardian SunGuard® glass product line includes a variety of aesthetically pleasing colour options. The SunGuard® SuperNeutral™ glass provides the highest-performing energy characteristics available in high light-transmitting low-E coatings. The product provides a range of light transmission, reflection and energy conservation qualities to choose from. And SunGuard® Solar glass lets the design professional work with traditional “reflective” coatings that are excellent at lowering heat gain.
For aesthetics, economics and energy efficiency, there are many advantages with SunGuard® Advanced Architectural Glass. Our advanced sputter coating technology makes it one of the most versatile glass products available.
Shelton Cubix, Mumbai (SunGuard® Neutral 60, ClimaGuard® Neutral 70)
WFM: What is the percentage of use of such glass in India in building sector?
AP: Today, in India, high performance coated glass is being used in 10 to 15 percent of buildings. The “green” building concept is catching up and hence there will be even greater demand for such products. Now, almost 3 percent of all the commercial buildings are considered “green” or energy efficient. That is expected to go up to 10 percent by 2020. At present, there are only two manufacturers producing solar control glass in India. The demand for the product is growing at the rate of 15 percent, and the need and production will increase as people understand the energy-saving benefits of high performance glass in the window/facade segment. Since such products save electricity or energy and improve the performance of the building, there will be greater demand for them.
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WFM: Are such products being used only in commercial buildings in India?
AKM: Not really. It started with commercial buildings, but as awareness increased, residential buildings also showed interest and the demand for the same is increasing. Insulating glass units with coated glass, if used in any project, will enhance building performance, be it commercial or residential.
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WFM: How are you planning to promote this product?
EA: We are going to bring awareness to the architects, contactors, builders and facade consultants. There is definitely an educational component to this. We need to inform and educate people on product performance and specification. These products will supplement our already strong brand in the region. We will participate in the facade shows and exhibitions. Expos and seminars will be two important ways we will educate customers and the architectural community.
AKM: Guardian is a very strong partner, and together we understand our customers and what they value. We believe we are in a very good position for profitable growth.
WFM: How important is right selection of glass for a building façade? Please brief on key factors affecting the performance of a building façade?
AKM: The right selection is very important. There are many factors which need to be considered when specifying glass, such as the intensity of light, heat, etc. Also, it is important to consider climate and location, the use of the building, the elevation… all of these factors should be considered when selecting glass.
WFM: Tell us about your other products?
AP: MODIGUARD float glass is a high-quality glass, available in range of sizes and thicknesses for innumerable applications. It’s the building block of glass design.
MODIGUARD Mirror, Sparkle Mirror™ and Tinted Mirror products deliver beautiful reflectance and uncompromising durability.
Guardian DecoCristal™ can be used for all interior design projects, whether in public institutions, offices, homes. Applications include vertical panels, sliding doors, kitchen cabinets, tables and cabinets.
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Deco CristalTM adds style, colour and brightness to give a project a new dimension.
All these products were introduced to meet the growing needs of the customers. Customers want products that look better and those with optimum performance.
WFM: How do you educate people on proper usage of materials?
AKM: Education is a process. The fastest method is reaching the architects who are selecting the products. We are using online and print media, and share our knowledge to help people to save energy and help them understand why energy/resource saving is important and how our products will help them achieve both their performance goals and aesthetic vision.
WFM: Could you please tell me more on technology of the product sputtered glass?
EA: Through the sputter coating process, glass is put into a vacuum chamber where ionized gas bombards the glass surface with ions as it passes through a series of metal cathodes. Atoms of the desired metal are vaporized and then deposited in layers to form a thin film on the surface of the glass. This creates glass products that are aesthetically pleasing and can meet stringent energy performance standards.
Oberoi Grand, Mumbai (SunGuard® Neutral 60 & Light Blue 52)
WFM: Please tell us about your future products and your plans?
AKM: India is a large country and the growth potential is very high. We have operated in India for a very long time and we will continue to grow. The addition of the new coater is a good example of this. We will have multiple products for facades and fenestration, whether it is for glass wall and for windows.
WFM: How essential is testing of products?
AKM: We believe testing creates value for the customer to ensure safety and quality standards.
Walia Business Park 460, Goregaon, Mumbai(SunGuard® Neutral 60 & Light Blue 52)
WFM: How will the home owners benefit from the latest product?
AP: High performance glass increases the amount of natural light into the home, while reducing the amount of heat entering the home. The result is reduced costs and abundant light.
WFM: Could you please name few prestigious projects in which your products are used?
EA: The most recognized would be the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest building in the world, but Guardian has iconic projects all over the world. The Dubai Opera House, the Cite du Vin in France, the Evolution Tower in Moscow and the Guggenheim Museum in Spain, to name a few.