ECMAS Construction Chemicals Pvt. Ltd.
The ECMAS Group is a multi-brand conglomerate that produces a broad range of construction chemicals, unsaturated polyester resins and speciality chemicals. With innovation, quality, flexibility and R&D, the ECMAS Group not just provides the market with products and services but innovates for their customers to improve their process, their end product and often, their bottom line. Mr. Rajeev Gupta, Business Head, ECMAS Construction Chemicals Pvt. Ltd., in conversation with CE&CR, shares his views on the innovative technologies, growing demands, future prospects and much more.
CE&CR: ECMAS’ diversified and innovative range of chemical solutions is well known in the industry. What is your approach toward R&D?
Rajeev Gupta: Being one of the leading manufacturers of chemical solutions and products for construction, we work closely with the industry. ECMAS offers broad spectrum of end-to-end solutions for modern high-rise structures, industrial and infrastructure projects. Our products include Admixtures for high-performance concrete and SCC, a wide variety of Waterproofing solutions, Repair & Strengthening solutions, Floorings, Sealants, Adhesives, Thermal insulation, Protective coatings, Synthetic structural fibres, meeting specific project requirements and enhancing durability of construction.
ECMAS is a research and technology driven company where innovation is key success factor. Our continuous focus is on offering eco-friendly and green products to our customers promoting sustainable construction. We emphasize and invest heavily on developing and acquiring new technologies to deliver innovative solutions. We are working in close associations with renowned industry experts, research institutes and laboratories to offer budget friendly, yet technically superior solutions to our clients. We are on a constant look out for emerging market requirements of the industry and keep ourselves updated to deliver the need specific quality solutions. We observe more than 70% of our turnover through our innovations and new products.
CE&CR: How do you see the market for Repair and Strengthening products in recent years?
Rajeev Gupta: The deterioration to concrete structures is occurring at an alarming rate globally. It is an established fact that even if the structural design abides by all the specific building codes like the concrete quality, cover etc., there is still a high risk of deterioration of concrete and corrosion of steel reinforcement. Steel corrosion is the most severe cause of deterioration of reinforced concrete that can create cracks, spalling of the concrete cover, reduces the effective cross section area of the reinforcement and may lead to collapse of the structures if not addressed in time.
In the current situation, more than 40% of the highway/rail bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete or both need immediate actions to improve the service life and performance level. A huge no. of other infrastructure, building and industrial structures need structural enhancement, repairs and retrofitting every year.
No country whether developed, developing can afford to demolish all the weak and old structures and reconstruct new one as it is economically not viable and it leads to huge wastage of national resources and money. Therefore, the demand and market for repairs, strengthening and retrofitting solutions is growing at a rapid rate over the last two decades. The main objective of any repair/rehabilitation or strengthening work is to enhance the performance of the structure, extend the service life or increase the load carrying capacity.
CE&CR: ECMAS strives for continuous innovation. Given that, what are the new and unique technologies ECMAS is offering to Repair and Retrofitting applications?
Rajeev Gupta: There is an increasing demand for high performance solutions that supports sustainability, overall systems cost reduction, and reduced project delivery time. A variety of construction chemicals and advanced materials ranging from concrete admixtures to polymer composites are increasingly being used in the buildings and construction industry. Many benefits including enhanced performance & integrity and overall systems cost reduction accrue to a construction or building project by using these solutions. Although, ECMAS offers a very wide range of repair solutions including High Strength Mortars, Micro Concrete, Rust Removers, Protective Coatings, Bonding Agents, variety of Injections, etc. but ECMAS WBD solutions and FRCM Technology are two very unique solutions introduced by ECMAS to the Indian Construction Industry.
We have recently added a wide range of locally manufactured Polyurethane Injections to effectively control heavy water leaks and handle challenging situations in underground constructions which received an encouraging response from the clients.
CE&CR: Can you little elaborate about these technologies? What are the unique features?
Rajeev Gupta: ECMAS WBD Solutions – Plastering and Waterproofing in one step. ECMAS WBD Solutions are extremely waterproof, breathable and drying plasters which act as strong waterproof barrier; while staying breathable at the same time. Proprietary WBD Component is the key component that ensures waterproof characteristic of the product. ECMAS WBD Systems offers a permanent waterproofing solution by eliminating the problems of water penetration, dampness, efflorescence, etc. The plaster is produced from natural materials and does not contain any harmful or inflammable ingredients and it is environment friendly, making it suitable in both new constructions and for repair projects for applications like waterproofing of Basements, Water tanks, UG Sumps/STPs, Wet Areas, External Walls, etc.
⦁ 100% Waterproof
⦁ Breathable – Air and Vapor permeable allowing trap moisture to evaporate
⦁ Dehumidifying – drying out the internal/entrapped moisture
⦁ It is possible to apply to wet surfaces
⦁ Prevention against salt crystallization/efflorescence
⦁ It can be applied manually (trowel) or with a spray applicator
⦁ No need for additional waterproofing membranes or protection plasters
⦁ Excellent cohesion and bonding strength with Concrete and Brick Masonry
FRCM Technology – now a days externally-bonded fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) systems have become one of the preferred technologies for repair and retrofitting of concrete and masonry. FRP systems have features such as high tensile strength, light weight, relative ease & flexibility of installation, and resistance to corrosion, etc. However, FRP also has limitations, which can preclude their use in many critical applications. For instance, high temperatures compromise the efficiency of FRP systems, conventional FRP system using Carbon Fiber reinforced with Epoxy Resin make them not suitable for UV exposed or Fire rated applications. So, in the event of a fire, the FRP system degrades rapidly as the resin binder loses its chemical, physical and mechanical properties. Also, FRP applications are limited on moist/wet surfaces or at low temperatures and FRP systems typically act as a vapor barrier.
These drawbacks are all related to the epoxy matrix used to embed and bond the fibers. Thus, substituting the epoxy matrix with a cementitious matrix appeared to be the most reasonable solution to improve the overall performance of externally-bonded composite systems.
FRCM is externally bonded Composite Systems for strengthening of Concrete and Masonry Structures using PBO reinforcement with cementitious matrix. This new generation of composite systems is known as fabric reinforced cementitious matrix (FRCM). FRCM developed as an evolution of ferro-cement, where the mortar matrix is reinforced with open meshes of continuous dry fibers.
Main advantages of FRCM in comparison to FRP –
⦁ Fire resistant – Class A like concrete and mortar
⦁ Ductile failure and not brittle (like steel reinforced concrete)
⦁ Moisture/humidity resistant
⦁ High temperature resistant
⦁ High performance composite (like FRP)
⦁ Easy and faster application
⦁ ACI 549 design guidelines available for FRCM
CE&CR: What precautionary issues that should be considered while handling and using the chemicals? How should the chemicals be stored?
Rajeev Gupta: Now days, there is growing concern over associated risks and health hazards of using chemicals. One of the biggest challenges to protecting construction workers from chemical injury is building awareness. While protective gear and protocols shall always be followed while handling and using chemicals that have an immediate physiological impact, workers also need to be educated about long-term health risks to exposure and unsafe work practices are equally hazardous. To ensure safety at construction site and to reduce chemical exposure, contractors should ensure that each of their worker has undertaken the adequate amount of training for safety protocols.
As a general practices, all persons working at the project sites and handling chemicals shall wear proper mandatory PPE specially when working with chemicals specially with spray applied Polyurethane Foam Insulation, Polyurea, Polyurethane and Epoxy products.
Generally, appropriate PPE for high pressure applications includes chemical-resistant gloves, protective clothing, eye and face protection and respiratory protection. The specific types of PPE may vary depending on the conditions at the jobsite, such as whether the application takes place indoors or outdoors, the amount of ventilation, the specific components of the chemicals, etc.
Chemical Handling and Storage at Construction Sites – Safe storage of chemicals at construction sites is very important. Improper storage or exposure to environmental extremes may make the products unusable much before their designed shelf life.
- All construction chemicals shall be delivered to the jobsite in the manufacturer’s original unopened containers with legible labels and shall be protected from weather, sun and moisture.
- Most chemicals shall be stored in covered and cool environment protecting from direct sunlight, temperature extremes and moisture. Do not allow solvent containing materials to be exposed to high temperatures, open flames or sparks.
- Store liquid materials in their original undamaged containers in a clean, dry, protected location within the recommended storage temperatures.
- Follow manufacturer’s recommendations and material handling and storage specifications.
- Empty bags/containers shall be properly disposed promptly after use.
CE&CR: How has pandemic affected the construction industry growth? Is there any expected revival and more so, renewed growth expected from the Indian Construction Industry?
Rajeev Gupta: In the recent scenario, there is hardly any sector or place that has not been impacted or damaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost all commercial, economic and social activities have suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic. Construction and engineering industries are no different, they have also suffered from this crisis. COVID has severely disrupted the entire value chain system. Availability of Construction materials and price inflation, labour shortages, transportation & supply chain disruptions and financial problems became major issues. The lack of timely execution of projects due to lockdowns and labour shortages contributed to cost overruns, significant delays and even the cancellation of projects. The cancellation and stalling of projects directly impacted the MSMEs.
But now construction industry has learnt to live and manage with this situation and is recovering rapidly. There has been great momentum and good demand from infrastructure and government sectors over last 6-9 months driving the growth of construction industry. Similarly, repair, retrofitting, rehabilitation and renovation projects are supporting this.
In response to the crisis, we witnessed a steady rise of start-ups creating technology enabled solutions for design, construction management, client management, material procurement & inventory management and sales.
Business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce platforms, contactless commerce is slowly becoming the norm as building material manufacturers and suppliers are adopting digital channels and opening direct to consumer (D2C) channels.