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Painting a brighter future

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When it comes to buying a house, it could be one of the criteria in your check-list.

Under its banner of businesses, its product coats almost anything perceivable on earth from surfaces of cars, toys, steel structures to iconic buildings, and of course your home. With technology, which dates back to 1918, Kansai Paint Co Ltd in Japan, reputed to be the most advanced manufacturer of paints and coatings, dares lay a claim of being the number one paint company in Japan and Asia Pacific.

Not only is Kansai the sole supplier of toy paint to Mattel, 60% market share of Malaysia’s automotive world now belongs to this coatings company. Having made its regional center in Klang, Selangor, under the name of Kansai Coatings Malaysia Sdn Bhd, it has gained a lot of traction. Chairman Tan Siew Hin speaks to Home Finder of Kansai’s alchemy of success.

Having spent more than RM50 million on R&D (Research and Development), why is it important for Kansai to delve into it?
Traditionally for Kansai in Japan, we believe more in adding value to the product performance. That’s why we have spent a lot of effort and money on R&D instead of A&P (Advertising and Promotion).

The benefits of our R&D are seen in the functionality of our paints.

Not just playing around with the formulation as most paint companies would do, we go into basic R&D, focusing where the most important component of the paint is, the film – the polymer emulsion, which is basically the backbone of the paint.

What are some of the revolutionary paints created by Kansai?
We are beginning to introduce more and more advanced and sophisticated products from Japan. Some of the revolutionary paints would be the Ales Aqua Cera Silicone, the Ales AB Clean – superior hygiene paint with Nano Silver Technology, and our latest Ales Shikkui that kills even the H1N1 and H5N1, bird flu virus.

Kansai Kills
The mention of these names bears significance, especially in this 21st century, on the things not seen. Killing germs by simply painting over walls may not come across as something new in the paint industry but killing a broader spectrum of bacteria and viruses definitely is.

“A lot of paint companies claim its paints are antibacterial, they are not wrong. Most paints by nature are antibacterial,” Tan says, “but antibacterial to what degree?”

“Our range of paint kills a wider spectrum of bacteria and viruses.”

Its latest Ales Shikkui and Ales AB Clean are tested and proven to be effective against even the smallest of pathogens, ranging from Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), E.coli to Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and yes, even the H1N1 and bird flu virus.

Tests by the SIRIM QAS (Malaysia) and PSB (Singapore) on the Ales AB Clean certified its efficiency and antimicrobial activity when these microorganisms come into contact with the paint. The Ales Shikkui whereas has been independently tested by the Japan Food Research Laboratory and the Osaka University Research Institute for Microbial Disease. Virus colonies were completely destroyed within minutes of contact point. Isn’t it amazing?

While its paints does not really differentiate, the Ales Shikkui is suitable for interiors of the home, and Ales AB Clean more for the hygiene sensitive industries such as for hospitals and clinics, restaurants, care homes, and even hotels and holiday resorts.

And how long does this paint last? “As long as you like until you are fed up with the color!” Tan laughs.

The initial cost may be high but its antibacterial and antiviral properties, Tan says, can last as long as the paint film is intact.

Salvage waste to save the environment

Very much concerned on the impact paint has on the environment, Kansai Paints are stamped with SIRIM’s Eco-Label. The complete life cycle of the paint is reviewed from the point of raw material of the paint to its processes and waste disposal, so as not to create further dent to the environment.

“We make sure the raw material we use from the very beginning is environmental friendly. It’s non-toxic.”

More to being number one, “Kansai always carries it one step further to ensure the environment is taken care of,” he says.

While most international paint companies will look into the disposal of their tin cans and waste product, Kansai actually promotes the development of waste water processing system for water borne coatings.

“We don’t just send our waste to 3rd party disposal; we do our own R&D on how to treat water borne waste and on the development and improvement to a more efficient sewage processing system.”

In Japan, the PET bottles are processed into architecture alkyd paint.

With its strong R&D efforts, it is no surprise that Kansai has been touted the number one paint in Japan and in Asia Pacific, two years in a row now by the Asia Pacific Coatings Journal.

“We are happy that awareness for Kansai Paint has caught up very fast in Malaysia and with the association of Kansai with quality paints.”

And as part of its expansion plans this year, this coatings powerhouse seeks to bring Japan’s revolutionary technology further and to establish a firmer footing across Asia, especially Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar.

An unmatched innovation of its revolutionary paints, Kansai Paint is a reflection of exceptional quality and of its commitment to create excellent high performance paint without forsaking Mother Nature or sacrificing
aesthetic values.

“We are No. 1 in Japan and in Asia Pacific now. We want to be No. 1 in Malaysia.”