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Laminates Industry in India

By Abhijit Phadke

The laminates industry in India is largely a market segment where customer involvement and knowledge about the product is very low, with most customers not being very aware of the various choices available. Usually in India, when people have any furniture requirements, they just approach the local carpenter in their area, and ask for a quote.

Laminate Sheets
Rolls of laminate sheets kept for sale at a plywood and laminates shop in Navi Mumbai, India

Due to this lack of end-user awareness prevalent in the plywood and laminate industry in India, the sales of plywood and laminates are often driven by the carpenters and the local shopkeepers in the area, and the customers involvement is usually restricted to choosing a laminate colour and design from the catalogue that the carpenter brings with him and shows to them.

Some of the low knowledge areas are listed below.

  1. Difference between Sunmica and Laminates (Carpenters and even shopkeepers often refer to laminates as sunmica which may not always be the case).

  2. Types of Laminates available. (HPL, LPL, Compact laminates, decorative and industrial laminates etc.)

  3. Laminates sizes and thickness available in the market (thickness relates to quality. thicker laminates are stronger, and when some carpenters use thinner locally manufactured 0.6 mm laminates to save on cost, the furniture durability gets affected)

  4. How decorative laminates are made.(Materials used and the manufacturing process involved. People are not usually aware that the shiny laminate on their table-tops is actually a blend of paper and plastic)

  5. Laminate companies/manufacturers in India and the various brands available. (The laminates industry in India has a very large unorganized sector, and plywood and laminates shop often stock locally manufactured laminates, alongwith a couple of branded ones).

  6. Quality considerations for laminates (About ISI marks and quality testing procedures)

  7. Alternatives to Laminates (such as using wood veneer instead of laminates)

Other than being overlaid on plywood, the laminates industry also plays an important role in the case of readymade furniture these days (which is made using pre-laminated particle boards and MDF).

The combined worth of the plywood and laminates industry is believed to be to the tune of Rs. 21000 crore per year, with laminates accounting for a share of approximately Rs.3300 crore, and the industry is expected to keep on growing further in the years to come.