We are enhancing business competencies for green bio-carbon material development
Can you provide an overview of the current status and recent developments of Varroc's Polymer business?
Considering the growth opportunities and favourable megatrends in the industry, we have witnessed a progression in the business over the last few years. We have acquired new customers both in India and globally. Our emphasis remains on a design-driven and technology-savvy product portfolio across various vehicle segments.

We believe in being at the forefront of the technology evolution by building business capabilities to expand our product portfolio to cater to wider customer demand. Our primary area of emphasis is R&D including ongoing efforts to maintain a competitive edge in the automotive market through continuous innovation and providing state-of-the-art solutions.

With our research and innovation capabilities, we are working to build and enhance our business competencies for the development of green bio-carbon materials. We are working extensively on lightweight by replacing large sheet metal parts with polymer and by introducing lightweight micro-cellular polymers and composites in trims and other body parts. Additionally, we have planned initiatives to strengthen our 4W (four-wheeler) product portfolio across various segments, including interiors, exteriors, under-hood parts, accessories, and mirrors.

What are the primary products and solutions offered by Varroc's Polymer business, and how do they contribute to the automotive industry?
Varroc Polymers is a specialist in the development and manufacturing of high-quality components for different applications in a vehicle across the segment. Currently, we are manufacturing injection moulded body products like door panel assembly, centre console assembly, interior pillar assembly, painted claddings, 2W body side plastic moulded and painted parts, 2k Injection moulded parts, tailgate trim module, 2W, and 3w seat assembly, 2W & CV mirrors, 2W air filters, aluminium anodised roof rails, etc.

Further, at Varroc Polymer, we place a strong emphasis on design-driven technology by fusing our clients' needs with the visual flair of design and the technical delicacy of engineering. As the automakers are increasingly positioning and re-branding their models with aesthetics and design language the same time are more inclined towards lightweight automotive components.

Light weighting of vehicles can provide some excellent opportunities to enhance the design elements of a vehicle with no impact on the vehicle’s efficiency. Using lightweight structural materials can allow automobile manufacturers and designers to fit in additional safety devices, emission control systems, integrated electronic systems, upgraded dashboards, and more.

In recent years, has there been any specific focus on R&D efforts to enhance polymer products or explore new opportunities in this sector?
We at Varroc Polymer have identified some futuristic products and technologies by researching the market reports and trends, such as ambient lighting, moulded colour, bamboo fibre, puddle lamps, etc. We conducted some innovation workshops to nurture innovative ideas from working minds. Based on these ideas, we have filtered and made our technology roadmap to build the capabilities and capacities to ensure alignment with market trends.

The futuristic polymer products seamlessly integrate technologies like lighting, connectivity, ADAS, IOT, software and hardware technologies. Therefore, we are working collaboratively with our cross-BU teams, such as electrical, lighting and Varroc connect, to integrate such technologies into our polymer products. In addition, we have wide supplier collaboration and technology tie-ups with tier 1 institutions for research of specific products.

In recent years, we have developed innovative products like an Illuminated tailgate, roof rails, and centre console, which widened our portfolio and customer base.

As the automotive industry transitions towards electric vehicles (EVs) and autonomous vehicles, how is Varroc's Polymer business adapting to incorporate sustainable materials in its product offerings?
As the automotive industry transitions to electric mobility, it is important to address the sustainability of various components, including polymer, which plays a significant role in vehicle design and construction. As mentioned earlier, we are working towards the development of green bio-carbon materials.

Recyclable and Biodegradable Plastics: R&D is working on sustainable technologies like biocarbon derived from renewable sources like bamboo fibre, which are also being explored as a material to incorporate in our Polymer products as an alternative to current raw materials.

Light weighting: Polymers are engineered to be lightweight while maintaining structural integrity, contributing to overall vehicle weight reduction. This, in turn, improves energy efficiency and extends the driving range of EVs. In that initiative, we have developed products like front panels and 2W Body parts and proposed to customers the light weighting ideas to increase the efficiency of the products.

Moulded in colour: We have developed some materials like moulded in colour to eliminate painting operation to minimise the cycle time of products and increase sustainability.

Could you highlight any specific examples of how Varroc is using advanced polymers and sustainable materials to enhance the performance and sustainability of EVs and autonomous vehicles? Varroc's strong in?house R&D capabilities and technological partnerships have helped us to diversify and develop new products, which help us in serving our customers better. We also strive to keep ourselves updated with and provide for megatrends of safer, greener, smarter, and connected vehicles in the automotive space.

Looking at the trends in the EV space, we are focused on developing various light weighting solutions and Metal to Plastic conversion products like front panels to achieve better fuel efficiency and mileage.

Additionally, we also produce recyclable and biodegradable plastics using raw materials like agricultural waste-rice husk, coffee chaff, polymer–polypropylene, and additives- antioxidant, and impact modifiers. Using 20 per cent biocarbon in plastic instead of 20 per cent talc saves weight from 5 to 8 per cent.

As mentioned earlier, polymers are engineered to be lightweight while maintaining structural integrity.
Front panel is the largest part of the automotive market, which is Injection moulded, designed and developed by Varroc.
Conversion from sheet metal to plastic reduces the part's weight by 45 per cent
Front panel dimension: 2.0 x 0.9 x 0.4 m
Machine tonnage: 300
Masking and painting weight 6.5 kg

In the context of exterior lighting systems and other polymer components, how does Varroc ensure seamless integration with other key elements of vehicles, such as electronics and metallic components?
At Varroc, we have engineering, metallic and software teams working at one technical centre with wide experience in the Varroc Global Lighting division and SME support for the products and process knowledge for exterior lighting. Through cross-business unit collaboration with these teams and structured gate review processes, we ensure seamless integration, compliance with the mandatory standards from our internal technical labs, and collaboration with various NABL-accredited testing agencies across the globe. We have a strong and experienced cross-functional team with robust pre-defined SOP guidelines adhering to industry standards.

Could you elaborate on the use of thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) and their advantages in Varroc's Polymer products for automotive applications?
TPEs have become a popular choice for manufacturing various automotive components, contributing to the advancement of the automotive industry. TPEs have outstanding wear, chemical, and electrical resistance properties, making them perfect for use in automobiles. It is a very desirable material for usage in automobiles due to its environmental resilience and UV stability because it will not degrade in direct sunshine. For our application, ease of its advantages is processing, recyclability, excellent surface finish, wide material selection, good weather resistance, and impact resistance.

As the Polymer Business Head, how do you foresee the future of Varroc's Polymer business, and what are the key focus areas for the coming years?
At Varroc, the aim is to emphasise on our commitment to staying at the forefront of innovation and meeting the evolving needs of our customers. Therefore, our current focus is on value-added products, aiming to be an exclusive full-service supplier rather than a build-to-print supplier. This strategic shift will allow us to leverage internal synergies better and emphasise cross-business-unit product development.

We are focused on pursuing growth and margin improvements for our business units. There are several growth opportunities and favourable megatrends that will help secure the business. There will be a growing demand for advanced polymer materials made up of sustainable materials that meet stringent safety standards.

To drive growth, we have planned to improve efficiency using better industrialization techniques, increase capacity for 4W exterior product painting, and enhance 4W FSS capabilities to get into the IP business.