In line with Saint-Gobain’s strategic focus on sustainability, in general, and sustainable habitat, in particular, SGRI is committed to finding innovative solutions to the challenges of energy-efficiency, environmental protection, and enhanced comfort for daily living. While SGRI’s primary objective is to support Saint-Gobain’s existing businesses in India and the region, it will also pave the way for developing new businesses for the region. SGRI will achieve this through developing, maintaining, and nurturing transversal competencies, building partnerships with India’s premier academic institutions, and establishing key linkages with Saint-Gobain’s global research centres.
With an investment of about Rs. 200 crores, the new research centre is a world-class R&D facility spread over 120,000 sq. ft. It will focus on developing innovative and sustainable solutions for Saint-Gobain’s existing businesses (the major product lines include: abrasives, glass for architecture, glass for automotive, gypsum plasterboard and plasters, high-performance ceramics, plastics etc.) and will enable the Group to accelerate its growth in the region. Unique to this centre will be its focus on establishing multi-comfort in buildings as well as affordable housing, and new competencies that will enable it to develop sustainable habitat solutions for hot and humid climates, including the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and Africa.
Speaking on the occasion, Pierre-André De Chalendar, Chairman and CEO, Saint-Gobain, said, “India is an important market and investment destination for Saint-Gobain. Over the past twenty years, we have made significant investments in developing new sites and new markets, in building world-class plants, in technology and in people. All these investments have enabled the Group to establish its presence across India and to grow rapidly.
In line with the Government of India’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, today, more than 95% of our local sales are of products manufactured in India. Being an innovation-led global Group, Saint-Gobain is committed to and consistently invests in its R&D efforts and facilities. SGRI represents a key step towards further strengthening our global R&D network and towards serving our customers in the region by developing innovative and sustainable products and solutions to meet their needs. I am indeed very happy to be here for the inauguration and am impressed with our outstanding team of scientists and engineers and with this truly world-class research centre.”
Anand Mahajan, General Delegate, Saint-Gobain – India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, said, “Since its inception three years ago, SGRI has led the way in developing products and solutions that have exceeded the expectations of our customers. The inauguration of our permanent home is a milestone event for Saint-Gobain as it steps into its 351st year. We are confident that SGRI’s growing pool of carefully chosen scientific and engineering talent will contribute a great deal to the development of the Saint-Gobain Group in India and worldwide in terms of new products and processes, of advancement in science and technology and of intellectual property. Today, SGRI has about 100 scientists and engineers who have come from various parts of India and the world and have brought with them expertise and experience in different areas. Eventually, this research centre will be home to more than 250 scientists and engineers.”
Anand Tanikella, Director, Saint-Gobain Research India, commented, “The brightest Indian minds from across the world (with PhDs from reputed institutes such as MIT, USA; Ecole Polytechnique, France; University of Tokyo, Japan etc. in addition to top class institutes in India) are currently working at SGRI. We will continue to strengthen what is already a diverse talent pool. We aspire to develop cost-competitive solutions for our customers through co-development and ‘Innovate in India’ to develop solutions beyond India. Working closely with designers and architects, we also plan to develop sustainable habitat solutions for hot and humid climates through basic and applied research in building science. In doing all this, we will continue to partner with IIT-Madras and other premier academic institutions. ”
As a part of the inauguration event, a research symposium was conducted on Thursday, January 28, 2016, where 40+ distinguished faculty from universities across India as well as eminent scientists and leaders from science and technology organizations visited the research centre and addressed the group or participated in the discussions.
Key features of SGRI’s facility:
- One of the most advanced facilities in India for Materials-related R&D
- Equipped with state-of-the-art laboratories with a high lab-space-to-researcher ratio
- SGRI to work on developing sustainable solutions for hot and humid climates
- Unique model with the Research Centre being adjacent to a top-class academic institute, IIT-Madras
- Facility houses pilot lines for supporting the Saint-Gobain businesses in the region
- A world class experience centre to exhibit Saint-Gobain’s advanced products and solutions and demonstrate their properties
Today, Saint-Gobain, headquartered in Paris (2014 sales of 38 billion Euros), is a world leader in the Habitat and Construction market. It has a growing global presence with more than 170,000 employees. Globally, it operates in 66 countries, has 945 production sites, and files 400 new patents every year. It ranks #192 in the Fortune 500 Global list (2014) and has been consistently ranked in the top 100 innovative companies (Thomson Reuters) worldwide.
Saint-Gobain’s business can be categorized into three sectors: Innovative Materials, Construction Products, and Building Distribution. Each business is a leader in its respective field in the global market.
Sustainable habitat is at the core of Saint-Gobain’s strategy – from designing, manufacturing, and distributing building materials, which provide innovative solutions to the challenges of energy efficiency, to environmental protection and enhanced comfort for daily living and working. Saint-Gobain is a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact 2003. Saint-Gobain has also shown its commitment to advocacy of sustainability by promoting the Care 4 program as well as the green building movements across the globe. Saint-Gobain played an important role in the Paris Climate Change Conference of 2015 (COP 21) and made a firm commitment to combat climate change by signing the Climate Pledge.
Saint-Gobain in India
Saint-Gobain entered India in 1996 and has achieved strong and profitable growth since then. Today, it is a leader in all its major businesses with over 20 manufacturing sites and more than 5000 employees across the country. In 2015, Saint-Gobain registered sales of about Rs. 5100 crores. For Saint-Gobain, India presents a huge opportunity for growth.
Two large entities, Grindwell Norton Limited (GNO), a publicly traded company, and Saint-Gobain India Pvt. Ltd. (SGI) house Saint-Gobain’s businesses in India, which include: glass for architectural, automotive and solar applications, abrasives, ceramics (including, Silicon Carbide, high-performance and fused refractories), performance plastics, crystals, Gypsum plasterboard and plasters (Saint-Gobain Gyproc) and industrial mortars and tile adhesives (Saint-Gobain Weber).