Serious consequences ensue when moisture gets into pharma and healthcare facilities
Published on : Sunday 03-12-2023
Deepak Pahwa, Chairman, Pahwa Group & Managing Director, Bry-Air.
From a lay person perspective, why is dehumidification important and what are the industries most in need of this?
We have all been let down when some moisture and faulty food packaging has made our favourite snack soggy and uneatable. More serious consequences ensue when moisture gets into pharmaceuticals and healthcare facilities as it can adversely impact the production of medicines and highly sensitive medical equipment. This is where dehumidification is needed.
Dehumidification is basically used to remove moisture or water particles from the surrounding air. It is one of the key aspects of environmental control. While also a preferred practice in residential spaces in order to create a comfortable environment, its industrial applications are far more crucial, as controlling the moisture within an enclosed manufacturing space is necessary to maintain the quality of the products in several sectors.
Apart from the industries mentioned above, dehumidifiers, dry rooms and other environment control solutions play an important role in the fast-growing industry of Electric Vehicles, especially battery manufacturing. Another growth market is data Centres, where moisture in the enclosed data centres is a key deterrent, and desiccant dehumidification technology the solution.
What are the major milestones in the Pahwa Group’s journey over the last 58 years? How did the Bry-Air brand come to the Pahwa Group?
Having started more than 58 years ago, we can proudly say that we have witnessed quite a few milestones along the way. Initially, Bry-Air (India) came to life back in 1981, to manufacture state-of-the-art dehumidifiers, heat pipe recovery systems and plastics dryers. Over the years, the group has grown its presence to different corners of the world, and today has international plants and offices in over 85 countries.
The nation has been charting a speedy growth journey for the last decade or so, and we are proud to have had the opportunity to contribute to this growth in our small ways. One example of this came in 2016, when Bry-Air installed state-of-the-art Dry Room with Environmental Control Equipment incorporating patented Drypurge® technology at Naval Science & Technology Laboratory (NSTL). The stakes were heightened in 2019, when we partnered with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for the much talked about Chandrayaan 2 project. Most recently, we outfitted the 'Bharat Mandapam,' the venue of the G20 summit in Delhi, with DRI’s Treated Fresh Air Units (TFAs).
What are the different methods of dehumidification and the range of products offered by the company for specific applications?
Largely, there are two types of dehumidifiers, desiccant and refrigerant. There are several sub-divisions in these categories and even more new technologies being introduced every day. Our brand, Bry-Air, primarily offers desiccant dehumidification products.
As mentioned, the pharmaceutical industry requires rather precise conditions for the optimal functioning. Here, Bry-Air’s patented P95°x Dehumidifier proves a game changer as it regenerates the desiccant wheel at 95°C as compared to the usual 140°C. It allows for more than 30% energy efficiency during the manufacturing process and is highly cost-effective as compared to its other counterparts in the market.
Dehumidifiers also find significant application in the EV industry, especially in the Lithium ion battery manufacturing. With the help of the Environment Control Dehumidification System, our Dry Rooms maintain the RH (Relative Humidity) at less than 0.5% during lithium cell production and at 10% for the assembling process. Further, our Low Dew Point Dehumidifiers (LDP) maintain an extremely low dew point between -40°C and -80°C, which helps in achieving the shortest manufacturing lead time. They also significantly reduce energy consumption by 30-60%, making the EV manufacturing process more sustainable. These in turn ensure the premium quality of the batteries produced.
R&D has been a weak point with most Indian companies. How has R&D helped in the growth of the Pahwa Group? Why is it important to go for patents across regions?
Given that our motto is “Innovation is Life”, driving innovation in our products and technologies is like second nature to us. It is just how we operate. And to operate as such, extensive Research & Development (R&D) is needed. Moreover, being an international company, catering to the needs of a global market, our products need to meet the approval standards of several countries. Having an innate inclination towards maintaining strong R&D allows our products to be standardised across the board. So, our international consumers get products that are setting and outperforming their industry standards, and Indian businesses are assured that they are getting international standard products. It has truly positioned us as the pioneers in air quality solutions and adsorption technology in India and beyond.
Since 2007, Pahwa Group has filed 141 patent applications for 15 new technologies, at national and international levels. Out of these, 61 patents have been granted. Our Low Dew Point (LDP) Dehumidification technology has been granted patents in 9 out of the 11 countries that we’ve filed in, which is a phenomenal success rate, considering the extended processes. Some of our other patented technologies include BrySmart, Adsorption Chiller, Waterless Plastic Dryer, Carbon Capture, and Air Water Generator.
At the core of effective dehumidification is the energy saving potential of specific technologies. How does this work in heating or cooling applications?
Dehumidification is basically the process of controlling the humidity, and humidity directly impacts the temperature of an enclosed space. So, dehumidifiers can dramatically lessen the load on the existing HVAC systems in the space. The impact multiples when considering an industrial, commercial or manufacturing plant, where the heating and cooling systems incur a significant energy and financial cost.
EV batteries, Semiconductors and Data Centres are among the emerging opportunities in India. What is the potential market size and the share the company has presently?
EV batteries, Semiconductors and Data Centres are all fast-growing industries in India and globally, as they are the harbingers of the sustainable and digital future that the world is envisioning. With our aim of being at the forefront of new and emerging technologies and trends, we have made our presence felt in all these sectors.
Our Dry Room and LDP technology has been crucial in making the EV battery manufacturing process both energy efficient and cost effective. We have established a top space for ourselves in the Data Centre industry by offering solutions that drastically minimise the down time of such facilities, hence increasing their efficiencies manifold. Our compact dehumidifiers, gas phase filtration systems, and customised fresh air handling units (AHUs) play an important role here. Working with a bulk of leading global players in such fast-growing markets, we have secured quite a desirable position for ourselves.
‘Smart products’ is the mantra in the age of digitalisation. How do the various products fare on this scale?
The Bry-Air BrySmart (BBS) series designed for the food and pharmaceutical industries exemplifies the group’s commitment to cutting-edge solutions. Equipped with advanced algorithms such as Bidirectional Forwarding Detection (BFD) and Variable Frequency Drive (VFD), this series enables real-time parameter adjustments, resulting in enhanced energy efficiency. Additionally, the Green Dry Smart Dryers, tailored for the plastics industry, reduce dependency on natural resources and streamline processes by offering waterless plastic drying.
In the era of digitalisation, our products are strongly aligned with the trend towards ‘smart products’. Bry-Air has a range of initiatives in progress to expand its product offerings and foster innovation. One noteworthy initiative that we’re working on is integrating the patented Air Water Generator (AWG) technology into Bry-Air's product portfolio. This groundbreaking technology harnesses atmospheric moisture to produce clean water, thereby reducing reliance on scarce water resources and addressing water scarcity concerns.
Furthermore, Bry-Air is exploring the potential of Carbon Capture technology, leveraging its expertise in Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) concentrators and N-Methyl-2-Pyrrolidone (NMP) recovery solutions. By capturing carbon emissions from major sources, we aim to make significant contributions to global efforts to combat climate change.
With such a large number of production facilities, how smart are the plants and the supply chain?
The integration of advanced, smart technologies, like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Internet of Things (IoT), and more, empowers unified, information-driven decision-making at every stage of the product cycle within our factory settings. It also streamlines efficiency by automating engineering processes and overseeing overall business operations.
Further, our continuous pursuit of cutting-edge solutions and innovative practices also enhances our dedication to fostering sustainability within our manufacturing unit. Notably, our Manesar facility stands as a testament to these efforts, proudly holding the prestigious Platinum Certified Green Factory Building status. It adheres to the stringent criteria set forth by esteemed green building certification authorities such as ASSOCHAM, ECBC, LEED, and the Indian Green Building Council. It has also earned the esteemed distinction of being a Net Zero Building, a testament to our proactive approach in lessening the burden on natural resources.
We achieve this by maximising the utilisation of renewable energy sources and resources while ensuring minimal heat wastage. Rather than allowing excess heat to dissipate into the atmosphere, we channel it into other industrial processes or repurpose it, further aligning with our eco-conscious objectives.
Finally, what is the ratio of the domestic and export market of the Pahwa Group?
We are proud to be a key player in the quality air solutions market, having established a robust footprint in both the Indian and the international landscape. We have built a stronghold in several industries like pharmaceuticals, EV battery manufacturing, data centres, food processing, plastics, and many more. All these sectors are charting a fast-paced growth both in the domestic and the international market.