Indowud: A Wood Without Wood To Cut Stubble Burning And Deforestation
With an aim to solve the issues such as deforestation and stubble burning, Indowud has come up with an alternative to produce furniture which looks like wooden but is made with the use of stubble, which is a huge reason for pollution in the national capital Delhi.
Speaking about the journey of Indowud BL Bengani, Chairman, Indowud said that It took three years of research and development and numerous trial attempts which eventually paid off. He successfully came up with his proprietary technology to manufacture what is a first of its kind Natural Fibre Composite Board.
Bengani said that in 2016, he sold his stake at Uniply Industries Limited when it was at the peak of performance and began the path to find alternatives to wood-based plywood. He divested all his stakes as he wanted to come up with something new.
Inspired by the pollution in the Northern India due to stubble burning, he decided to use the ‘parali’ to make an alternate of plywood. “Plywood had its own disadvantages so I thought why not make a mock plywood, without chopping down trees and also which could address the demerits of plywood,” he said.
Immediately after divesting Uniply, he spent time travelling all over the world, meeting plywood manufacturers and distributors in Europe, South - East Asia, USA to research about the market in this new category. Months of planning, crores of investment in customized equipment, lots of hardwork and some luck was what he needed to come up with an engineered solution, inspired by nature.
“It looks, feels and performs like natural timber and plywood, and it is a new generation panel Product,” he said.
Indowud’s production capacity is 5,000 tonnes to produce about two lakh sheets leading to a saving of about 10,000 cubic metres of natural wood annually.
“While we procure raw materials from the farmers directly who produce rice and are left with husk and agri residues. Not just the farmers, we support craftsmen as well. Indowud NFC, due to its characteristics offers designing freedom and application freedom. Such opportunities were earlier restricted and limited. Craftsmen, Thermoformers or CNC routing experts, the free hand to explore any possibility in designing is only available with Indowud NFC. Besides this, we closely work with our suppliers, dealers and architects who support sustainable building materials or anybody who is looking at solution from termite infestation and water seepage,” Bengani said.
Speaking about the challenges, he said that with Innovation, comes challenges. the first challenge was how to use the abundantly available rice husk and resin to create a mock plywood. This was just an idea, in visualisation only. The aim was to create a mock plywood without using any form of wood. It must have similar density, performance and far more better features surpassing plywood.
“We invested all money in research and development. There was no other company making this kind of material and so, there was no reference point at all. We made the plant and machinery along with an engineer as there it was not available in the market, there were no BIS Standards or even an existing material which could help us in our journey of creating something that he had only visualized,” he said.
“The trials began and we had pinned all his hope on this material – A board that was an alternate to plywood, sustainable, ecofriendly with better density, features and shelf life. After many failures we cracked the formula to make the board,” he added.
He said that the next challenge was to brand it, create a category (These boards didn’t fit into any of the category that existed in the building materials), create a name and make it available to the entire nation, market it and reach out to the end consumer.
With the support of dealers, craftsmen and architects fraternity, Indowudnfc has national presence and now even the architects are getting aware about this material. We are expanding to other sectors and other countries as well.
Indowudnfc is available in 8 feet by 4 feet in various thicknesses, just like plywood. Besides this, we offer CNC routing and thermoforming for specific designs on Indowud NFC. We have recently ventured into adhesive, NFC-GLU - an all in one, zero VOC. We have also diversified our products in terms of doors, doorjambs, trims and more, he said.
Bengani believes that so far he has learnt to give back to the community.