With an attendance of more than 225 industry and academia delegates from India and from China, Taiwan, Korea and Hong Kong, the 8th Edition of International Convention on Colorants-2019 was a huge success. It was organized by The Dyestuffs Manufacturers Association of India (DMAI) jointly with the Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), Mumbai and supported by the Dept. of Chemicals & Petrochemicals, Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers, Govt of India on 28th February & 1st March 2019 at The Club, Andheri. Mr. P. Raghavendra Rao, Secretary, Department of Chemicals & Petrochemicals, Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers, Govt. of India, the designated Chief Guest during the Inaugural Session at the opening session could not make his presence due to some unavoidable circumstances. Padmashri Dr. Swaminathan Sivaram, Former Director, National Chemical Laboratory, Pune was the keynote speaker.
At the Inaugural Session Mr. Ram Ajekar, Past President and Managing Committee member, DMAI who anchored the proceedings, welcomed all the delegates and other dignitaries for the event for the next two days and hoped that the deliberations would be very much beneficial to the participants. He also read out the message of the Chief Guest Mr. P. Raghavendra Rao in his absence.
Prof. Ganapati Shankarling, Chairman, COC-19, in his address, welcoming the distinguished audience stressed on the important role of COCs with focus on research, process intensification for efficient use of resources and environment. He emphasised that two key core themes of COC-19 are sustainability and innovation, which will play a greater role for the growth of the colorant industry in future. He also touched upon the alternate energy resources like renewable solar energy. With the application of advanced technology, Prof. Shankarling was confident that the industry shall be able to scale a healthy size of US$ 17 Billion by 2025.
This was followed by the lighting of the traditional lamp of knowledge by the dignitaries on the dais.
In his brief address, Mr.Jitendra Patel, President, DMAI and Co-Chairman, COC-19 welcoming the participants said that it is an enviable combination of the academia and industry working together for dissemination of knowledge for the benefit of the industry. The subject spectrum of COC-19 includes environmental protection, regulatory measures, process optimization, product domain interest areas etc, he said.
He further reiterated that DMAI will continue its significant role in organizing COCs in future also as the symbol of academia-industry partnership, which provides fuel to the industry in its onward march towards progress.
Prof. (Dr.) V.R. Kanetkar, Mentor, COC emphasized the role of R&D with updated technical inputs for sustainability and creditability of the colorant industry. A defined time frame for deliverables with honesty, sincerity and integrity is the need of the hour. He suggested that besides other relevant research related matters like “Different Horizons, Color molecules are touching”, COC-19 will have unbiased deliberations on environmental issues for the sustained growth. He appealed to the industry to equip itself for corrections, wherever possible to avoid stringent measures being contemplated by the regulatory authorities. “Your attitude is more important than your aptitude to determine your altitude” Prof. Kanetkar concluded.
Mr.Janak Mehta, Mentor, COC briefly touched upon the genesis of COC series having completed 14 years of its existence. It is the only platform, wherein the industry and academia have come together to exchange knowledge. He was happy that COC series has been playing its crucial role in changing the mindset of the industry and unfolding new dimensions for its growth and sustainability. He also expressed his happiness that many foreign delegates from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea etc are enthusiastically participating in the event.
The newly compiled Members Directory published by DMAI at released at the hands of the dignitaries on the dais.
Mr.Rajen Shah, Organising Committee member thereafter introduced the Keynote Speaker Padmashri Dr. Swaminathan Sivaram to the audience.
Dr. Sivaram thanked the organisers for inviting him as the keynote speaker. In his thought provoking address on “The Future of Colours: Arts, Science, Technology and Applications” he spoke at length tracing history of colours, their present status and the future direction. Colours in the nature fascinated human mind from time immemorial which lead to its invention and innovation.
Stressing that we should always keep History in mind Dr. Sivaram vividly recalled India's heritage of world renowned natural Indigo and Indian yellow dyes. It was interesting to know from him that the word Indigo means “from India” which many of us may not have known. He also revealed how Indigo contributed to India's freedom struggle in the form of Gandhiji's first Satyagraha demanding better working conditions for the Indian farmers cultivating Indigo, from the British owners, which resulted in stoppage of Indigo exports to the West which in turn triggered first synthesis of Synthetic Indigo by BASF and giving birth to the world's first chemical industry in Germany. Reaffirming the beauty of natural colors, he opined that they can come back citing that Natural Indigo that was totally replaced by Synthetic Indigo, today accounts for over 8% of its total production. He emphasized the need to reinvent our ancient knowledge, carry it further and create new science.
Speaking about Environmental sustainability particularly in the light of stringent regulatory measures imposed all over the world, he stressed the urgent need for innovation and development of new processes to conserve scarce natural resources like water, energy and adopt newer technologies to safeguard environment. He rightly advised that we should go for “Chemistry which is desirable rather than chemistry that is feasible”, “earn the licence to operate from society” and “small or big, we certainly do not have the luxury to standing still”. He opined that the future development will be in the area of Colorants without Chemicals. Appreciating India's Colorants industry for its excellent growth during the last century, he concluded expressing optimism for its bright future.
Dr. Shavak Bhumgara, Convention Secretary thereafter proposed a vote of thanks.
In the technical sessions that followed for the next two days, many reputed and distinguished speakers from both India and abroad made extensive and informative presentations on the latest technical innovations and up gradations in the Colorants field all over the globe. Presentations on innovations on focus areas like Functional Colorants, Process Development, Aesthetic Colorants, regulatory compliance etc were well received and appreciated. The topics on which various presentations were made were of high relevance to the Colorant industry and found to be very useful to the audience. The Chairmen of Sessions and speakers were felicitated with mementos after each session.
A novel feature in this edition of COC 19 as in the past 3 editions was the Poster Exhibition. There were 22 interesting posters on various innovations by the research students of ICT. It is heartening to note that a large number of students took part in the Poster Session. Top 3 students of poster presentation selected by the Committee headed by Prof.Kanetkar were awarded cash prizes, which was instituted in 2013 in the memory of Late Dr. Bernt Lamatsch.
A partial view of the Poster Presentations
In the Panel Discussion, 6 eminent stalwarts – 5 from the industry and one from the China Dyestuff Industry Association debated on “Sustaining Colorants Business in the 21st Century”. The Session was efficiently and effectively moderated by Mr.Janak Mehta.
Mr. Shi Xianping, Chairman, CDIA stressed upon the attitude, investment and nurturing as the important ingredients for the colorant industry to sustain in future. He also mentioned technology and process innovation as the hallmarks. He was, however, critical of unrealistic restrictions imposed by the regulatory authorities in many countries, which hampers its growth.
Mr. Adnan Ahmad, Region Head-India, Clariant opined that the industry has to be made attractive to bring new talents, particularly from the academia. The production hub has now been shifted to South Asian countries from Europe. He also emphasised the perennial need for self-regulatory restrictions in the manufacturing process.
Dr. James C.H. Chen, Chairman, Everlight Chemical Industrial Corporation, Taiwan paid rich compliments to Dr. Swaminathan Sivaram for his inspirational address during the inaugural session, wherein he mentioned about the learning process from nature. Dr. Chen pointed out that employees of the units should be encouraged and honoured, which will create a good impact. It will also motivate them to contribute to the society in return. Waste disposal should also to be treated as a part of the processing operations for sustainability.
In his analysis, Mr. Xu Wanfu, General Manager, Zhejiang Runtu Co.Ltd China stated that much more is to be invested in R&D, in addition to taking adequate care of the workforce. Investment in technology should be considered as a capital for growth.
Dr. G.V.G. Rao, President, Colors Business, Atul Ltd mentioned that involvement of top management is vital for sustainability. Effluent Treatment plants with zero liquid discharge and recovery and re-use is also an important factor. Learning from others is equally important.
Mr. Shao Bojin, President, Zhejiang Jihua Group Co. Ltd, China emphasised that learning from each other and cooperation among competitors is one of the main inputs for growth. He was confident that with the formation of ADIF, communication and information among the members would contribute for this.
Mr.Janak Mehta summed up the deliberations stating that the suggestions and views put forward by the eminent panellists are very true and relevant for the colorant industry to grow in future. It is probably for the first time that leading manufacturers of colorants from India, China and Taiwan that account for the largest chunk of global colorant's production expressed their views from a common platform, raising the status of the Convention to a much higher pedestal.
In brief, the message that the Panel discussion brought home was “ There is a Need for change of attitude, adopt Self regulatory measures, reduce waste generation, make the necessary investments in environment, innovation & new process technologies (bearing in mind customers' & society's requirements), nurture human resources and above all communicate and cooperate for overall welfare of the colorants Industry”.
Technical sessions day two
At the start of the plenary session held on the second day, Dr. Nabnita Sadhukhan, ICT and Organising Committee member introduced the Guest of Honour Dr. Raman Ramachandran, Chairman & Managing Director, BASF India Ltd to the audience.
Dr. Ramachandran made an elaborate power point presentation on 'Chemistry Powers Sustainability'. He started his address by making a reference to the recent occurrence of zero degree temperature in Munnar in Kerala, wherein the river froze. He lamented about the excessive usage of natural resources more than nature can regenerate. While dwelling upon expectations for sustainable business, Dr. Ramachandran stated that transparent reporting, climate regulations, investor demands and consumer pressure are the four important aspects.
Dr. Ramachandran further explained that the consumer's attitude has undergone an appreciable transition over the last few years. While 2/3 of respondents in a survey carried out in 2013 preferred to have a product with environmental benefit, many opted out due to irresponsible behaviour of the producers. Many of the consumers were willing to switch over to a brand associated with a good cause. He cited the examples of virtual closure of many tanneries in Tamil Nadu and banning of plastics in many states in our country. In the competitive environment, what we need is sustainability along with the value added chain to overcome the stiff competition.
He also stressed on the importance of training programs to be imparted to the staff as well as management, which is vital for maintaining a good supply chain. R&D also plays a vital role in this direction. By improving on cost of energy and operational efficiency, we shall be able to maintain an appreciable growth in future, Dr. Ramachandran averred.
In conclusion, Dr. Ramachandran mentioned about the key challenges, which can be combated with strong process intensification, innovation and differentiation of products, substitution of banned azo dyes, REACH complied products etc.
Mr. Rajesh Naik, Organizing Committee member proposed a vote of thanks.
The concluding session held on 1st March 2019 was moderated by Mr. Virendra Widge, Convener, Publicity & Publications Committee and 1st Vice President of DMAI, who beautifully and succinctly summed up in brief the proceedings of the two days convention. He also proposed a vote of thanks and complemented the teamwork and concerted efforts of all the members of the organizing committee at different levels as the hallmark for the grand success of COC-19. All the Sponsors and Organizing Committee members were also recognized with mementos.