For nearly 20 years, Sharplex Filters (India) has been fulfilling the need of filters for various industrial verticals, such as chemical, pharmaceutical, F&B and so on. Their vast experience in the field helps them offer customised solutions to the buyers. Satish V. Khadke, Sharplex’ Managing Director, gives an insight into the emerging market potential and recent technological developments.
PROCESS: Mr. Khadke, how is the demand of filters growing worldwide?
Khadke: According to a recent market report, with rapidly developing markets like in India, China, Indonesia and Africa, the global demand for filters is (projected) to increase by 7.6 per cent annually. There are various types of filters versus their applications, like pre-filter, post-filter, fine filters, ultrafine filters. Some filters need cloths as filter media, hence, the textile industry is also growing simultaneously. Growth of the filter market is also connected to the growth of transportation industries, which is again largely dependent on the growth of capital equipments industries.
PROCESS: What kind of change in customers’ mindsets are you observing as far as buying filters are concerned?
Khadke: Five to ten years ago, European customers never thought of buying filters from India. However, now their mindset has changed drastically. They have started accepting our products. The Indian manufacturing sector has been producing high quality products these days. As far as Sharplex is concerned, we have exported our filters to more than sixty countries. Also, in Indian market, labour cost is still very cheap. Thus, many European companies are using this country as their manufacturing base. Additionally, customers have become knowledgeable today. They know their requirements well.
PROCESS: Do you offer customised filters? If so, to what extent?
Khadke: Any filtration company’s base lies in their extent of knowledge on application engineering of the filtration equipment that they are manufacturing. Only manufacturing filtration equipment has no meaning, one must thoroughly know the area of application or engineering where the filtration equipment will be used. For process equipment, like heat exchangers, distillation columns etc., there are definite design instructions that are available in books. Once you know the parameters, you can make drawings and manufacture the heat exchangers, distillation column etc. However, for filtration equipment, there are no designs available in any book. Therefore, we need to manufacture and supply customised filters based on our past experience and knowledge or based on actual trials undertaken. All filters that we offer are customised. Those are always as per our customers’ requirements. Contextually, we started our company in the year 1993 with a rich background experience of working with world famous filtration and separation equipment manufacturers, like Larsen & Toubro, Pennwalt, Westfalia and Chemap.
PROCESS: What are the latest technologies available with Sharplex?
Khadke: Sharplex designs, manufactures, supplies and commissions a wide range of filters — for the edible oil industry as well as for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Addressing the growing need for process water filtration, we have recently introduced process water filters to filter cooling water, river and sea water. The knowledge and technical know how for these filters have been acquired from an Italian company. Considering the fifteen per cent annual growth rate of the water filtration segment, we are expecting a huge potential for our water filters.
PROCESS: What kind of modifications have you done to ease the clogged filters cleaning and automatic back washing?
Khadke: Most of the filters manufactured by Sharplex are self cleaning and auto back wash type. For example, we have a pulse jet candle filter, which is mainly used in a hydrogenation process to separate the expensive catalyst from the hydrogenated mass. The used catalyst after filtration is backwashed, and directly taken to hydrogenator — so that it can be reused.
Mr. Khadke, thank you for the interview.