From water purifiers to vacuum cleaners to food making machines, Kent has set out to provide complete solutions, especially for the kitchen. Dr Mahesh Gupta, CMD of Kent RO Systems Ltd, in an exclusive interview with Clean India Journal shares his journey from nurturing a passion into an enterprise. Excerpts
A company, born out of the basic necessity to provide safe drinking water for “his sick children” is Dr Mahesh Gupta’s Kent RO, founded way back in the late 90s. Since then, the company has introduced many new products for the hygiene and household purity market. “At Kent, we have always thought of coming up with great technologies and innovative products. Our R&D team has spent a lot of time in developing, and testing these new products, and we are happy to be introducing them to our customers.”
What are the innovations that Kent has introduced in the market?
The RO purification process is essential to remove dissolved impurities like arsenic, fluorides and heavy metals, as they are harmful for health The RO process retains the essential natural minerals in purified water.
One distinct advantage of Kent RO purifiers is that it can retain essential minerals in purifier water. Conventional RO water purifiers while removing dissolved impurities also remove natural minerals that are essential for a healthy life thus rendering purified water tasteless. Such purifiers also reject a very high percentage of water (around 80%) and only 20% purified water is recovered. The balance water is wasted and goes down the drain. Kent has developed an innovative and patented technology, the heart of which is a computer controlled process wherein the membrane is washed automatically and more than 50% of water intake is recovered as purified water. The balance rejected water is stored in a separate ‘Reject Water Tank’, which can be utilized by consumers for household purposes. The net result is 0% water wastage.
Another breakthrough is the Digital SMART RO Water Purifier. This purifier, being the first-of-its-kind, is touch-operated with an inbuilt micro-controller which senses water quality on real time basis and displays it on the digital screen. It also senses and displays the total dissolved salts (TDS) in the purified water as well as the filter life. It automatically warns the users when the filter life is less than 60 hours. Whether there is a UV lamp malfunction, a filter which gets choked or TDS levels in the water which are not within the prescribed levels, the micro system senses and displays it on the screen for convenience of the user. The trouble shooting system allows the user to diagnose a few problems and even suggests common remedies for it. The smart system in the SUPERB- RO water purifier allows it to record and display the service history at a call of a button.
This technology has also been validated by Unesco and certified by world standards like NSF and the Water Quality Association.
Looking at your journey, where you yourself designed the first system, and given that 96% of the population still does not use RO, do you think India is ready for the new technologies?
People who want it will have it, and those who don’t have it will at some stage realise that they want it. This is because we are not selling them something which is not essential. In fact, it is the most essential aspect. I would say that if automatic washing machines can have 10% penetration in the market, why not RO water purifiers? This will happen over a period of time, once people realise that the machine is required to keep them healthy.
Which are your other products besides water purifiers?
Kent is working on newer products with health and purification as the base. We are looking to grow in segments such as car air purifiers, air purifiers, vacuum cleaners, bed cleaners, cold pressed juicers, fruit & vegetable purifiers, gravity water purifiers and water softeners.
Manufacturing of each and every product has been done at the facility, including the R&D. We hold patents to all products. There are two manufacturing units at Roorkee in Uttarakhand, having the capacity to roll out six lakh water purifiers in a year. By April 2018, the company will be manufacturing one million RO Water purifiers in a month.
We spend about 5% of our revenue on R&D. And although we import some of the components, we are focused on innovation. We have our own technology and patents.
We have recently launched a range of new water purifiers with Save Water Technology (our patented technology). The in-house designed technology products Kent Supreme, Kent Grand plus and Kent Pearl ensure zero wastage. Current water purifiers waste 80% of water, but this new technology reduces it to 50%, and for the remaining 50% we have inbuilt an extra tank from where water can be used for other household purposes.