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Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Limited: Scaling New Heights

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Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Limited (DCBL) is one of the first cement companies in India to be awarded the ISO 9000 certification. A leader in cement manufacturing since 1939, DCBL is a multi-spectrum cement player with double-digit market share and a pioneer in super-speciality cements used in oil wells, railway sleepers and air strips. Read on …

Dalmia Cement was started as a venture towards building a self-reliant India. Dalmia Cement was started in 1939, one of India’s first cement plants with an installed capacity of 250 tonne per day (tpd). Today, the plant has grown manifolds in terms of capacity. DCBL is also one of the leaders in the production of high strength speciality cement required for air strips and for the manufacture of concrete railway sleepers.

Genesis Founded in 1935 by Jaidayal Dalmia, the group was the third largest industrial group in the 1940s after the Tatas and the undivided Birlas. Since inception, DCBL has grown phenomenally and currently it holds a total cement capacity of 14.3 mtpa. The Group is also involved in other businesses including sugar, ethanol, energy, travel agency, magnesite, refractory and electronics. However, cement and sugar are its core products with over 90 per cent share in the group’s total income. DCBL has not only pioneered the cement manufacturing in the country, but it has also sustained the path to growth for seven long decades through innovations and adoption of new technologies.

Planting growth

The company originally had four cement plants in pre-independence years, two of which were affected by the partition. The remaining two plants in India were operated as Dalmia Cement in Tamil Nadu and OCL India Limited in Orissa.Today, the company has three cement plants, located in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh with a combined capacity of 9 mtpa. It also has a 45.4 per cent strategic investment in OCL India, formerly Orissa Cements Limited, which has a capacity of 5.3 mtpa.
The year 2009 was a landmark year for Dalmia Cement. During this year, the company increased the number of cement plants from one to three and the capacity from 4 mtpa to 9 mtpa by adding two green-field plants. At present, it has three cement plants, two in Tamil Nadu at Dalmiapuram and Ariyalur, and one in Andhra Pradesh at Kadapa. The Dalmiapuram plant, 40 km from Trichy, was the company’s first cement plant set up in Tamil Nadu. In 1951, the plant had two kilns, one of 250 tpd of semi-dry single pass based process and the other of 508 tpd, based on wet-dry process. Since then, the plant has been completely modernised, and by the year 2007, its capacity increased to 4 mtpa, making it the largest cement plant in Tamil Nadu. With Kadapa plant in Andhra Pradesh, the company increased its footprint in south India. The company acquired the Hyderabad-based Eswar Cements Pvt Ltd and in April 2007, it was merged with Dalmia Cement.

Commissioned in March 2009, the Kadapa plant is equipped with the latest technology and equipment like Robolab, which collects samples at each stage of manufacturing and calibrates the equipment to attain the desired output. The plant’s technological highlights include – variable voltage frequency drives (VVFDs) and dust control system, among others. The plant with a capacity of 2.5 mtpa, has set a new benchmark in emission norms and energy efficiency.

Ariyalur plant, the company’s second in Tamil Nadu and third cement plant in all, is strategically located at Thamaraikulam, 40 km from the Dalmiapuram plant. Located amidst a limestone rich belt, it was commissioned during the year 2009 with a capacity of 2.5 mtpa. This plant is also equipped with advanced technologies such as Robolab, VVFD and dust control system.

Achievements galore

In 1986, the company was the first to produce oil well cement (OWC) in India to API specification. In 1991, recognising DCBL as centre of excellence for transfer of technology, World Bank Danida team sponsored a regional training centre at DCBL, Dalmiapuram to cater the needs of south Indian cement industries. In the year 1993, the company was certified with ISO 9002, the first to receive in south India and second in India. In 2004, the company obtained ISO 14001 certification from BIS. DCBL is also the recipient of various awards. In 2003, the company was chosen by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) as a model plant for energy efficiency. In 2008, the company received National Award for Excellence in Energy Management 2007 conferred by Cll – Godrej GBC. Earlier, in 1999, the company was awarded with the National Award for Energy Efficiency in Indian Cement Industry by National Council for Cement and Building Materials. In 2001, the company was the recipient of three national energy conservation awards. The first award was the National Energy Conservation Award, by Bureau of Energy Efficiency – Ministry of Power, New Delhi, and the second award National Award for Energy Efficiency in Indian Cement Industry the presented by the National Council for Cement and Building Materials. The third one was the National Award for Excellence in Energy Management by Cll In the same year, the company was placed first in energy conservation in the cement sector. In 2002, the company received National Energy Conservation Award, National Award for Excellence in Energy Management and National Award for Energy
Efficiency in Indian Cement Industry. Cll awarded the company with National Energy Management Award in 2003-04 and 2004-05. In 2003-04, the company also received Energy Efficiency Award from the National Council for Cement and Building Materials. In 2008-09, the company received National Award for Energy Efficiency & Environmental Excellence from the National Council for Cement and Building Materials. In 2003, the company also received Leadership & Excellence Award in Safety, Health & Environment from Cll.

Binding India

DCBL’s cements can be broadly categorised into cement for building houses and cement for infrastructure. In housing category, the company offers Superoof, Vajram and Coastal cement. The Superoof is specially designed to provide extra protection and strength, compared to ordinary cements. It is manufactured with CVRM technology. The coastal cement is designed for use in the corrosive and saline conditions found along Indian coasts. It has low hydration and high resistance to alkali-silica reactions, which makes it ideal for large section concrete applications in reservoirs, dams, canal piers, cooling towers etc. For infrastructure, DCBL offers airstrip cement, oil well cement and railway sleeper cement. The airstrip cement is used extensively in cementing airstrips due to its high impact load bearing capacity. The oil well cement is used for cementing the walls of on-shore and off-shore oil wells. The railway sleeper cement is developed based on special specifications and requirements evolved by the Railways. It has been used extensively to replace wooden railway sleepers for high-speed trains.

Milestones & landmarks

In 1939, the company had an installed capacity of 250 tpd kiln to manufacture cement by semi-dry process. The machinery was supplied by Polysius, Germany. In 1949, the company installed a 500 tpd wet process kiln supplied by FLS Smidth, Denmark. In 1959, expansion was undertaken with the installation of another 200 tpd wet process Folax. In 1981, the company installed raw meal vertical roller mill. In 1982, a 200-tonne vertical shaft, first of its kind in India, was installed using fuel slurry process. In 1984, the company introduced oil well cement and railway sleeper cement. In 1986, packaging was improved and cement was dispatched in poly bags. In 1987, lignite was used as fuel to reduce variable costs and in the same year, 1,500-tpd dry process kiln was installed. In 1997, cement vertical roller mill was installed and in 2002 KHD kiln was upgraded to 3,000 tpd.

R & D activities

The R & D activities of the organisation are carried out by an independent research centre set up at Salem under Dalmia Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research, a SIRO, approved by DISIR, GoI. Here, the main focus is on product development particularly special cements, energy efficiency (both power and fuel), optimisation of raw material resources, increasing inputs of blending component, particularly flyash in PPC, and improving quality of all the products made by the company to international level.

Going green

The company has taken significant step to reduce CO2 emission. DCBL has installed power control devices to run larger machines so that, part of the electrical energy consumed by the machines can be recovered, thereby reducing the consumption of electricity. The company has also installed high-efficiency separator to increase the cement grinding capacity that will result in lower consumption of electrical energy. Under afforestation programme, the company has planted 35,000 trees. Under the CSR initiatives, DCBL has taken a number of initiatives like providing loans to villagers to buy livestock, impart necessary education for better health and productivity of livestock and form milk committees to secure better realisations through sales. Similarly, a very comprehensive programme for raising agricultural productivity through extensive farmer training, establishing demo plots and increasing water availability through farm ponds are being implemented under the
CSR programmes.

Future perfect

The company is moving swiftly towards achieving new milestones, setting up new green-field plants and innovating new ways to be in the forefront of the booming cement industry. With increasing investment in Infrastructure and housing, the company is poised for a giant leap.

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Concrete

Shaping the Future

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Jigyasa Kishore, Vice President Enterprise Sales and Solutions, Moglix discusses the critical role of cement capacity expansion in India’s infrastructure development, highlighting the importance of technological advancements, sustainability and strategic investments amid market challenges.

With an installed cement capacity of 600 million tonnes, India is the second-largest cement producer in the world. Cement consumption in India is expected to reach 450.78 million tonnes by the end of FY27, owing to rapid urbanisation and smart city development plans. Infrastructure, typically, receives the most funding from the government which bodes well for the cement industry. At a time when India is urbanising and building infrastructure at breakneck speed, the role of cement capacity expansion is becoming critical. This expansion, today, supports the market demands as well as contribute towards the nation’s economic ambitions.

Setting a firm foundation
Cement is an essential component in the construction of any nation. Roads and bridges, airports and public buildings all indicate cement’s critical importance in infrastructure development. Urbanisation is fuelled by it through the creation of housing projects aimed at achieving economic growth and development. Here’s why capacity expansion of cement production is critical:
Urbanisation: The demand for cement increases as urbanisation intensifies. This is further evidenced by the budget estimate for the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana for affordable housing, which has been pegged at US$ 9.63 billion (Rs.79,590 crore) for the first time, registering an increase of 66 per cent over the previous year’s budget.
Major infrastructure projects: Large infrastructure projects like highways, bridges, and city-development require considerable quantities of cement. Capacity expansion can ensure steady supplies of good-quality cement to these large-scale projects and see their timely and expeditious completion. The National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) has been widened to 9,735 projects worth $1,828.48 billion. Many of the upcoming projects will be heavily dependent on the cement industry. In addition, the PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan for infrastructure is further driving up the
cement demand.
Employment Generation: Increased production capacity directly results in job creation in the cement industry. Additionally, a corresponding demand for further employment in complementary sectors such as construction, logistics, and retail is also generated. This bolsters holistic economic development and prosperity.
Regional Economic Growth: New cement plants are often set up in regions with abundant raw materials but stunted industrial development. By setting up new plants in these regions, local resources can be leveraged and the overall growth story of the region can be improved. For instance, Dalmia Bharat recently announced a $10.9 million investment for further expansion of its already existing cement plant in the small town of Banjari in Bihar. The increasing presence of small and mid-size cement players across various regions helps dilute market concentration of industry leaders, leading to a more competitive and diverse market landscape.

Reinforcing the Structure
India’s cement industry is currently experiencing a tough fiscal year and there has been a downturn in pricing. Moderate demand is expected for H1FY25. Temporary setbacks such as labour shortage and heavy monsoons have also caused the demand for cement to take a dip in the past couple of months.
Needless to say, expanding capacity during periods of subdued demand involves risk. Cost implications of such investments can be significant. And firms could fail to recoup their investments if market conditions don’t improve as planned. Over-expansion could also result in an oversupplied market and further impact the prices as well as profit margins. Cement producers are currently under pressure due to reduced prices and slow demand. While this price dip might adversely affect profits in the short term, it could be seen as market adjustment ahead of a surge in anticipated demand during the second half of the fiscal year
Periods of uncertainty can be looked at as opportunities for companies to diversify risks and invest in innovation. Developing and launching new cement products for specific use-cases would contribute to the top line. Targeting export markets for better demand can also ensure the optimal use of additional capacities. At the same time, focusing on operational efficiencies would help the companies keep the cost of production in check.
New investments made in cement production facilities automatically come with the latest technological advancements that can enhance efficiency, minimise environmental impacts, and improve the quality of cement. This leads to construction practices that are more durable and sustainable. JSW, for instance, has initiated research on the integration of supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs) like fly ash, slag, calcined clay, and more. These materials not only improve the durability and strength of cement but also contribute towards reduction of carbon footprint of the cement industry. In order to meet energy demands sustainably, we must look at better industry practices such as usage of waste heat recovery systems, high-efficiency coolers and preheaters, and transition towards clean energy sources like solar or wind power.
There is also a growing need for cement companies to become environmentally conscious. Modern cement plants are increasingly adopting greener technologies owing to the decarbonisation pressure. Capacity expansion while keeping sustainability at its core will help check environmental impact of cement production while also aligning with the challenging global environment-conservation goals. Recently, UltraTech announced that it had received Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) certificates for four of its cement products. Similarly, Dalmia Bharat (Cement) has announced plans to produce 100 per cent low-carbon cement by 2031 and has a US$ 405 million carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) investment plan to achieve this goal. Such efforts are laudable and set a fine example for all industry players.

Shaping a Stronger Nation
Cement capacity expansion is a strategic move for the Indian cement industry. While short-term market fluctuations present challenges, continued investment in capacity expansion reflects a long-term vision for shaping India’s future infrastructure landscape. The current economic climate demands agility and innovation from Indian cement players. The leaders need to lead by example. By adopting industry best-practices, aiming for sustainable development, and working towards continuous growth and advancement, the cement industry is sure to rise like a phoenix from the ashes.

About the author
Jigyasa Kishore comes with 15+ years of experience at building brands, enabling enterprise growth, and transforming organisational performance with a technology-first approach. At Moglix, she leads brand growth as a digital supply chain solutions architect for large manufacturing enterprises.

She is an alumnus of the Indian

School of Business, Hyderabad, and Bangalore University.

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Concrete

Filtration can help to control climate change

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Niranjan Kirloskar, Managing Director, Fleetguard Filters, elaborates on the importance of filtration and its profound impact on efficiency, longevity and environmental sustainability.

Tell us about the core principle of filtration.
Filtration is segregation/separation of matter by density, colour, particle size, material property etc. Filtration is of four basic types:

  • Separation of solids from gas
  • Separation of solids from liquids
  • Separation of liquids from liquids
  • Separation of Solids from solids.

As applied to engines/equipment, the main objective of filtration is to purify the impurities and provide the desired fluid or air for enhanced engine/equipment performance in turn optimising their performance and life.

Can better filtration bring productivity to the work process? How?
Better filtration can improve the quality of application performance in multiple ways. Filtration improves engine performance as it filters and prevents dirt, dust, and debris from entering into the engine. This ensures that the quality of air or fluid that reaches the combustion chamber is as per the specific requirements of optimal performance of the engine. It also extends engine life by filtering out contaminants. Efficient filtration ensures optimal performance of the engine/equipment over its entire operating life. Filtration also improves fuel efficiency as a clean filter allows for a better air-fuel mixture in the engine, thus improving combustion efficiency, which in turn results in better fuel economy. It keeps emissions under control as fuels burn more efficiently leading to lesser harmful residue in the environment. Thus, to sum up, an optimal filtration solution ensures better performance, prolonged engine life and less hazardous waste in the environment.

What is the role of technology in the process of filtration?
Innovation, research and development as well as technology play a pivotal role in catering to the ever-evolving environmental norms and growing market demands. At FFPL we have NABL Accredited labs for testing, we have ALD Labs for design, and a team of R&D experts constantly working on providing advanced solutions to cater to the evolving market needs. We have robust systems and advanced technologies that make high-quality, high-precision products. Our state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities use advanced technologies, automation, robotics and also Industry 4.0 as applicable to provide the best products to our customers. To ensure each product delivered to market is of utmost precision, advanced quality equipment such as CMM, scanning systems and automated inspection technologies for real-time monitoring and quality control during the manufacturing of filtration systems and to comply with standard quality requirements are used.

Tell us about the impact of good filtration on health and the environment.
Good filtration of equipment is to the environment what a good respiratory system is to the body. There are various benefits of an efficient air filtration system as it improves the air quality by ensuring optimum combustion of fuel thereby reducing/controlling emissions to the environment. Efficient lube filtration ensures low wear and tear of the engine thereby extending life of the engines and maintaining optimal performance over the entire operating life of the engine. Efficient fuel filtration ensures low wear and tear of expensive and sensitive fuel injection thereby ensuring perfect fuel metering resulting in best fuel efficiency and saving of precious natural resources. This efficient filtration can help to control climate change as it reduces the carbon footprint due to combustion in the environment.

Can your products be customised and integrated with other machinery?
Fleetguard Filters have been known as a leading solutions provider for decades. With relevant experience and close customer relations, we understand the market/applications requirements and develop solutions to address the pressing technical challenges our customers face concerning filtration solutions. Filters can be customised in terms of size, shape and configuration to fit specific requirements. Customised filters can be designed to meet critical performance requirements. Filtration systems can be designed to integrate seamlessly with any auto and non-auto application requirements.

What are the major challenges in filtration solutions?
Major challenges faced in filtration solutions are:

  • With every emission regulation change, filtration requirements also keep changing.
  • Engines are being upgraded for higher power ratings.
  • Space for mounting filtration solutions on vehicles/equipment is shrinking.
  • For fuel injection systems, the water separation efficiencies are becoming more and more stringent, so are particle separation efficiencies.
  • Due to next level filtration technologies,filtration systems and filter elements are becoming expensive, thereby increasing TCO for customers.
  • Customers prefer higher uptimes and longer service intervals to ensure lower maintenance and operating costs.

We, at Fleetguard, strive continuously to ensure that all the pains experienced by our customers are addressed with the fit to market solutions. Balancing the cost of filtration solutions with their performance and durability can be challenging, especially where the requirements of high filtration standards are required. Also, wrong disposal methods for used filters can have environmental impact.

  • Kanika Mathur

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Concrete

Rajasthan gets a water harvesting project

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Prince Pipes and Fittings Limited, in partnership with Ambuja Foundation, has launched a comprehensive water harvesting project in Chomu district of Rajasthan as part of its CSR initiative. The project aims to address water scarcity and enhance community resilience against water-related challenges. Ambuja Foundation will focus on setting up over 50 rooftop rain rainwater harvesting systems to provide a reliable source of water for 250 people. Additionally, efforts will be made to revive 2 village ponds, creating 10,000 cubic meters of water storage capacity, and to rejuvenate groundwater by implementing check dams, farm ponds and farm bunding. The project also includes educating the local community on water conservation techniques and promoting conscious water usage. This initiative seeks to support farmers through the government’s subsidies to install sprinkle irrigation systems at a minimal cost, while also contributing to livestock strengthening and promoting community ownership.

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