- Massimo Rebolini, Commercial Director-Dow Consumer Solutions, Dow Chemical International-Europe, Middle East, Africa and India
Silicone is among the most versatile materials gaining momentum across industries and geographies. With this in mind, Dow Consumer Solutions, a business unit of Dow Chemical International (Dow India), recently rebranded its silicone-based portfolio 'DOWSIL'. The DOWSIL portfolio has been delivering solutions and technologies in markets including high-performance building and construction, among others. 'Integrating all our silicone offerings under one umbrella brand brings together our expertise in this high-value segment,'says Massimo Rebolini, Commercial Director-Dow Consumer Solutions, Dow Chemical International-Europe, Middle East, Africa and India. 'This integration further strengthens our commitment towards our value chain to seamlessly offer customer-focused solutions,'he adds, as he shares the strategy behind the rebranding and more in conversation with SERAPHINA D'SOUZA.
What prompted the rebranding and how will it help?
Dow Corning has been a 73-year-old extremely successful JV between Corning and Dow and one of the major silicone corporations globally. Around December 2015, Dow announced the acquisition of the remaining parts of Dow Corning to become its sole owner. So, in June 2016, we decided to develop our new brand DOWSIL; we launched the new structure in October 2017, first in Europe. Launching this now in India is exciting for us.
Dow Corning Silicon - from where the name DOWSIL is derived - opens a huge future opportunity, because Dow Corning was a $6 billion company, and our $50 billion+ corporation joined it. And so, we can further invest to build our hybrid technology based on silicone and polypropylene to offer in-depth chemical solutions to customers across diverse markets.
How is the market for specialty chemicals growing in India? And what is the company's current market share in this segment?
In India, we have a significant market share in silicone-based products for high-performance buildings. Today, architects are actually ensuring that raw materials are specified even in the largest products, and a large amount of our materials are expected in these. So, we have a strong brand presence. DOWSIL will cater to almost all the materials in the infrastructure and construction segments, like Dow Corning did. We have two distinguished markets for silicone: One related to
high-performance buildings and the other to the general construction business.
We have a strong presence in high-performance buildings.
Any skyscraper in India you see, irrespective of whether we supply to them or not, is attached with silicone. Among our many materials for this segment are the Dowsil 983, 982, 791, 991 , largely used and known by all key players, including architects, consultants, fatade engineers and applicators. We have a number of materials used in construction chemicals related to hydrophobic applications, which are mainly cement applications.
These chemicals are mainly used for the construction of bridges, metro, buildings and shopping centres. We are also targeting retail businesses as silicone is required everywhere - for the cement applied in bathrooms, weather-proofing applications, etc.
Speaking of innovation, what emphasis does the company lay on R&D?
To give you an example, this year itself we are launching 50 new products and sampling 30 hybrid materials for the first time.
We invest about 5 per cent on R&D annually, and R&D is active on several projects.
One I would like to mention is hot melt technology, which is a transparent solution and can be applied to various surfaces.
This is exactly what architects want: An invisible technology solution, which was a bit of a challenge in the past when it comes to performance. But thanks to the organics part of Dow, we have further adjusted the formulations, and have a perfect material today.
It is the No. 1 material that Dow has managed to develop in terms of R&D for the construction business.
Specific to India, we recently launched the Dow India Technology Centre to develop customer solutions for the local market. Especially with Dow Synergies,
we can be a part of local innovations; for example, polyurethane and silicone together may be one of the next big things for many projects.
What advanced technology and sustainability benefits do your products offer?
We are striving to develop new molecular solutions that have better impact on sustainability. Among the materials made in Europe one of the main DOWSIL plant can count on 50 per cent of electricity, self-created internally by wind mills or solar panels or by core generators. New R&D is also allowing us to use fewer materials for the same applications, which means less energy in manufacturing. For glass façade buildings, we supply materials with a long range of performance testing on application on site; each of these means that you do not need to redo a lot of things again and again, which impacts sustainability. Markets such as lighting, where again silicone contributes a lot, especially to LED lighting, show a positive impact.
All these qualities help position silicone as one of the key materials to drive sustainability.
At Dow India, we have been doing a number of sustainability projects in the country, not as part of CSR but as part of our business. All our sites in India are responsible care-certified with zero discharge and adhere to global safety and environmental guidelines.
How has the company performed in the past and what are your growth prospects for this year?
Fifty per cent of the market share in a growing market is good growth, and we are aiming to consolidate this share in the next three years with our innovation pipeline becoming more important and with technology coming on broad. We plan to have an R&D division focusing on inorganic and organics separately, as well as both together. If I have, say, five to ten launches every two years now, I have an opportunity for 60 launches in the next three years, which means I am going to have momentum and grow in innovation. So, I strongly believe our market penetration will increase and so will our overall market share.
At Dow Consumer Solutions, we have been growing globally close to 10 per cent in high-performance buildings at 1.5-2x GDP growth in almost every country we operate in, including India. We are making more than a billion dollars in India; we have 100 employees, 2,000 material products and 3,000 classifications. A lot of sales for these chemistries require technical expertise. It is about how you partner with a customer and design a product to meet their requirements and provide services along
with that. Construction is one of those markets where we provide services that give façade designers, builders and other stakeholders in the business peace of mind.
One fundamental challenge we are facing in India is that the market is tight; thus, we are going to be more selective in our supply. So, I see a great 2018!