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Interpon helps turn the tables on sustainability for Aakaar

As a world-class innovator of metal furniture and components, and a business with sustainability at its core, Aakaar Iron Creations supplies some of the biggest retail brands in the US and Europe. Its creations are a favourite with many home-owners across the globe.

Achieving the quality chrome finish that customers demand has typically been achieved through  chrome plating. The environmental drawbacks of the process, however, and its desire to move away from liquid coatings, prompted Aakaar to look for another way of protecting its furniture from everyday wear and tear, whilst maintaining their aesthetic appeal. The solution was the Interpon Cr Chrome Effect powder coating from AkzoNobel.

Founded in 2000 in the industrial region of Bhiwadi Rajasthan, Aakaar has five factories supplying some of the largest American and European furniture retailers and manufacturers brands, with over 90% of their business coming from the US market.

In 2017, with an ambition to become more sustainable, they started looking for an alternative to electroplating. Electroplating creates large volumes of water waste, which needs to be disposed of safely. Making numerous coats on a metal substrate is time consuming and  requires expensive equipment. It also consumes significant amounts of energy, all of which comes at a cost, to the bottom line and to the environment.

Subhashish Das, General Manager, Aakaar Iron Creations explains that sustainability is now a key factor in customer decision-making: “We required a process that provides the same beautiful finish we’re known for, whilst being significantly more sustainable. This is crucial not only for our business but for our customers who’re always interested in more sustainable finishes and buying from sustainably minded brands.”

The Aakaar team looked for a powder coating that would give their products a nickel chrome finish. The company became one of India’s first manufacturers to use Interpon Cr: Chrome effect powder coatings for mass production.

What Aakaar discovered was that the powder coating didn’t just support the company’s desire to be more sustainable, but it also improved production: “When you spray liquid paint, not even 60 percent is being converted into your end product,” he explains. “With powder, 80 percent to 90 percent of the powder coating is used, it’s much easier to apply, and any overspray can be captured and re-used. That means it is more cost-effective and gives you a better-quality output.”

Indeed, consistency of product performance is especially important to Subhashish and his team: “If any of our products are faulty, it can be up to twelve months from the piece leaving the factory to the customer complaining that it has been scratched or started to corrode. A bad review online affects our brand and the retailer’s reputation. AkzoNobel, however, gives us total confidence in the quality of its powder coatings, with control systems in place to ensure its product is consistent every time it’s used, without any deviation in color or performance.”

Certainty of delivery is also key: “If we have committed to using certain materials such as Interpon Cr on their product, we keep our commitments,” he adds.

As well as Interpon Cr, Aakaar is now exploring how other powder coatings within the Interpon range can protect and enhance a new range of outdoor furniture that it is developing, where weathering and corrosion is more of an issue. It is exploring, for example, how powder coatings can be applied to heat sensitive substrates.

“It’s an exciting project,” Subhashish concludes, “and an excellent example of a relationship that continues to evolve as we continue to innovate together.”

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