SAN ANTONIO — India is fertile soil for growth in thermoplastic elastomers and thermoplastic olefins, according to a TPE/TPO producer based in that country.
Mirisch Damani, managing director of Zylog Plastalloys Ltd. of Bombay, said that the move is being spurred by the auto industry. Several Indian automakers have started to replace traditional metal car parts, such as dashboards and bumpers, with TPOs/TPEs, Damani said during Flexpo '97 in San Antonio.
These efforts are an attempt to keep pace with joint ventures between Indian firms and such foreign automakers as General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co., Honda Motor Co. and Mercedes-Benz AG, he said.
Damani presented a variety of statistics to back up his claim that India is ripe for plastics expansion. Foremost among these statistics is India's per-capita plastics consumption rate of 3.96 pounds, which is well below similar rates in China (19.8 pounds) and worldwide (35.86 pounds).
Cost-conscious processors are using TPOs/TPEs because of the products' ability to be bought in small, custom-tailored quantities without high material, tool design or molding costs, according to Damani.
He said the growth of the Indian middle class — expected to rise from 250 million to 400 million people by 2000 — and its accompanying disposable income will create a demand for such TPO/TPE-friendly products as refrigerators, washing machines, televisions, videocassette recorders, consumer electronics and kitchen appliances, as well as cars.
An inexpensive work force and a newly opened economy are also reasons for optimism, according to Damani.