The stretch ceiling industry is booming and blooming in India, and as with every industry, there is a lot of unwarranted and unchecked trash that enters the market.
Every stretch ceiling company you talk to in India will tell you that their membrane (or film or primary ceiling material) source is a European country, mainly France or Germany. Yes, these two countries are well-known for their global expertise on the product. All world leaders like Barrisol, Newmat, Extenzo, Renolit, and more. have their headquarters and factories in France or Germany.
But do you know that the stretch ceiling company you have spoken to or hired for your project may not be actually supplying you a genuine European product?
The most common claim every stretch ceiling company has is they are purchasing raw membranes from Renolit, a leader in manufacturing raw stretch ceiling films. But, here is a fun fact. All these stretch ceiling companies offer panel widths of up to 5 meters, which Renolit does not even manufacture. Renolit only manufactures membranes up to 2 meters width, and their product brochure says so.
So, how do these companies procure the German membrane, which is not manufactured in Germany at all? Simple, they procure it from Chinese manufacturers and market it as German because all certifications, standards that need to be met for a stretch ceiling are available from Renolit when you buy even a small quantity of membrane.
The samples and certificates submitted to the client/architect/consultant/specifier are definitely German. But, what about the end product delivered and installed at the site? It may not match the actual specification for fire safety, light transmission, etc. And, after the handover of the site, no one really bothers much about it either. Because it looks alright.
Purchase teams are happy and satisfied with such vendors because they get to show their boss that they could procure ‘European standard’ products at really affordable prices. Whereas the truth remains that these vendors still had a lot of buffer because their actual cost of importing the material was far less than what it would have been otherwise.
But then, how do you know what’s a genuine stretch ceiling? Every European manufacturer has to follow strict EN standards to get their products CE certified. Manufacturers like Newmat supplies every ceiling panel with an identification number which can be checked by writing a simple email to them. The harpoon is embossed with the manufacturer’s identification mark. There is a manufacturer’s label on the harpoon, which mentions the ceiling panel’s reference number, the fire rating, VOC rating, certificate number, etc.
References of companies claiming to buy from a particular manufacturer can be verified by reading the product documentation and all it takes is a couple of emails. In the world of the internet, all you need to do is Google something up and spend a little time on it. It pays to go the extra mile when you opt for a premium product for your projects. A little effort to check the details of your vendor can save the end customer from getting cheated into buying something cheap at a premium price.