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Colourful future for paint technologists

With the paint industry growing twice as fast as India’s GDP and the automobile and construction industries expanding, job opportunities for qualified paint technologists are multiplying.

paint technologistsWith the infrastructure and construction industries belatedly gathering unprecedented momentum, India’s booming paints manufacturing and service industry (annual revenue: Rs.50,000 crore) offers great career opportunities, particularly for paint technologists. Set to take off in a big way (India’s per capita consumption of paint is less than 4 kg against more than 25-30 kg in developed countries), the paints industry is expected to show at least twice the growth of India’s GDP in coming years.

Any surface — metallic or otherwise — needs a protective coating, referred to as ‘paint technology application’. This consists of a combination of processes: chemical treatment followed by a decorative layer (paint). Paint technology entails understanding the chemistry of each ingredient (including resin, polymers, and pigments) constituting paint. The job of paint technologists is to formulate paints for differing needs and requirements. For instance, paints used for aircraft vary from those used for motor cars and in domestic households. Paint technologists formulate appropriately mixed paints and resin (a raw material) for the purpose of new product development, product upgradation, and new applications development.

Paint technologists can choose to work in any of the following departments of paint manufacturing companies: research and development (for which one needs an M.Tech), production, marketing, and as technical assistants/executives who work on clients’ sites.

BIG EMPLOYERS. With the automobile and construction industries steadily expanding, job opportunities for qualified technologists have multiplied. They are much required by paint manufacturing companies, the auto industry, furniture manufacturers, and associated raw material and allied industries (e.g. pigment/extender manufacturers, or resin/ polymer, or additive suppliers). With professional paint technologists in short supply, pay packets are getting fatter, varying with size of employer companies. The minimum start-up pay is around Rs.3-4 lakh per annum. The Armed Forces are also big employers of paint technologists.

paint technologistsThe best paint technologists are chemical engineering graduates of one of the 17 National Institutes of Technology (formerly the Regional Engineering Colleges) or of the globally renowned:

 Indian Institutes of Technology at Mumbai, Delhi, Guwahati, Kanpur, Kharagpur, and Chennai
 Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University
 Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra, Ranchi
 Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani

Other institutes offering B.Tech degrees in paint technology are Fergusson College, Pune; Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai; and University Department of Chemical Technology (UDCT), Mumbai. Moreover, the Garware Institute of Career Education and Development, Mumbai, offers a diploma programme in paint application technology. Most universities offer an M.Sc programme in polymer technology which is also useful.

“The paint industry has witnessed increased activity particularly in the industrial paints segments with the entry of MNCs in the automobiles, consumer durables, and construction industries. Simultaneously public awareness of the corrosion-resistant qualities of paint is increasing, which is a huge boost for this industry. To keep pace with demand, there’s need for many more paint technologists and companies specialising in this field have to raise their standards to utilise new technologies being developed worldwide,” says Shahaveer Jamshedji, director of the Mumbai-based Noble Paints, founded by his grandfather in 1934. Noble Paints churns out 200,000 litres of industrial and decorative paints per month and is the first in the country to produce fire-resistant paints.

An alumnus of Canada’s Waterloo University with a bachelor of applied sciences degree, Jamshedji was all set to read for his Master’s and Ph.D at the University of Dakota, which boasts perhaps the best paint technology programme worldwide, when he received a call from home to come aboard Noble Paints.

“With the industrial paints industry growing at 10-12 percent, this career option may not be as cool as computers, but it’s challenging as you always need to innovate. There’s a bright future for professionally qualified paint technologists,” says Jamshedji.

(Excerpted from 101 Great Careers for the 21st Century by Indra Gidwani, 2016)

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