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Weatherproof and Durable Filling

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Haver Adams, a form-fill-seal (FFS) system developed by Haver & Boecker offers optimum product protection and extended storage times, even in case of adverse weather conditions, writes Robert Brueggemann.

Who would have imagined some years ago that cement and other powder-type construction materials could be filled into compact and weatherproof PE bags in an environment-friendly process? It all started with a customer?s request to pack his cement into tight, water-resistant PE bags ? a challenge that Haver & Boecker, specialist for packaging and processing technology, was more than happy to accept. The result is a form-fill-seal (FFS) system named Haver Adams-?.

At first, the industry was skeptical about the development. The machine not only implemented an unusual bag concept, it took the idea to the next level by changing the entire filling process to FFS technology. The Haver Adams set out to conquer other sectors. Since its market introduction, the FFS packaging system has been continuously optimised to enter an array of new application areas. While the system initially only packed powder-type products, micro-granulates and powders into PE bags, the new generation is also able to gently fill products with challenging flow properties. Almost 60 systems have already been installed in different branches all over the globe. The new Haver Adams is set to make its mark in the building materials and minerals industry.

The fine art of bagging
FFS packaging systems are used for filling and packaging bulk material into bags. The bag is formed inside the filling machine, which obtains the continuous PE tubular film from a reel. The product is then transported into the bag via specifically adapted dosing and weighing systems, while the bag is formed and sealed in the packaging unit. Packaging granulated and grainy products with FFS machines has been part of daily production routines for a long time. But ultrafine products face completely different challenges: ?They have very high dust content. At the same time, compaction is the most important prerequisite for clean and efficiently bagged products,? explains Burkhard Reploh, Head of the building materials and minerals division at Haver & Boecker. To ventilate granular products in PE bags, the foil is normally needled or micro-perforated. ?This is not possible for powder products, because they can even leak through micro-perforated foil. Subsequently, the long storage time required for hygroscopic construction material cannot be ensured,? says Reploh.

Powder products like cement, on the other hand, have a packing factor of up to 1.6; the volume must be reduced by 60 per cent before the bag is sealed. If this is not the case, the bag might be damaged during transportation. Apart from insufficient outdoor storage possibilities, the inacceptable damages that occur during filling and transportation were the main reasons for the industry to start looking for alternatives.

Based on these requirements, Haver & Boecker teamed up with cooperation partners and developed a new bagging and filling concept. The PE bags are now not only clean, tightly closed and weatherproof; their compact size also facilitates space-saving transportation and storage. Reduced material loss is equally easy on environment and budget. The PE bags also offer several advantages for marketing activities: they allow for multi-colour full-surface printing, for instance with photorealistic images, product information or barcodes.

FFS technology re-interpreted
The first Haver Adams was an intermittent, rotating packer with eight filling spouts and a performance of 1,000-1,200 bags per hour, depending on product fineness. ?A list with all challenges formed the basis of our development work. We solved one item at a time, scientifically validated each point, and ended up with a compact machine,? Reploh explains. Different versions derived from this machine have established an entire product family, whose output begins at 200 bags per hour for stationary units and goes all the way up to 1,200 bags per hour for rotating machines.

When manufacturers started demanding even higher output and speed, Haver & Bocker sounded the bell for the next level of development. The objective was to achieve filling performances of minimum 2,000 bags per hour for bag weights of five to 50 kg, making the machine attractive for mass-oriented markets and companies. Up to this point, the multi-spout machine had operated in intermittent mode. The new continuous operation was able to increase performance from 1,200 to more than 2,000 bags per hour.

Based on components from the rotating packaging machine Haver Roto-Packer-?, the engineers developed a new filling module with gross weighing for shorter filling times. The bag handling modules that place and remove the PE bags on the new filling spouts are also new. The rotating modules have two gripper units each, which ensure highly accurate transfer.

Air or turbine units can be used as filling modules. The combined control and weighing electronics MEC-?, an in-house development by Haver & Boecker, provides for exact filling quantities; internal and external vibrating units ensure the required product compaction. Thanks to micro-vibration, the air bubbles inside the product automatically move to the top. The main advantage of this mechanical procedure is its very high availability. In contrast to vacuum systems, micro-vibration does not suck off any fine particles. The filled bags are safely sealed in low-maintenance pulse welding stations and then transported to the bag forming section. If required, a head seam cleaning and cooling system can easily be integrated.

The modular configuration of the Haver Adams makes it possible to use between one and twelve filling spouts. This significantly increases the circle of applications. All products that are filled in valve bags and have a minimum bulk density can now also be filled in PE bags.

?The market had recognised the general advantages of filling into PE bags and made positive experiences. So, about one year ago we got the request to expand the technology so that it would also handle the typical package sizes of 1, 5 or 10 kg,? recalls Reploh. Since then the specialists at Haver & Bocker have been busy expanding the filling weight range.

The new Haver & Boecker Roto-Packer Adams-? Mini reaches speeds of up to 600 bags/hr at steplessly selectable weights of 1-10 kg. Today, filling into bags made from a tubular film or into every type of pre-manufactured bag is possible. And by using an additional module, the bags can be formed directly from a flat film within the Roto-Packer system. Meanwhile, the experts at Haver?s Innovation Management are already concentrating on increasing the speed to 1,200 bags/hr.

Service has top priority
Apart from high performance, ease of operation and noise protection range among the key features of modern filling systems. The complete enclosure of the Haver Adams keeps noise development at a low level, leading to high noise insulation as well as significantly reducing dust. Thanks to The system, consisting of a touchpad and integrated camera and software, enables operators, service technicians and specialist workers to directly communicate via a high-speed internet connection. The result:
short reaction times and higher machine availability.
The filling system offers optimum product protection and extended storage times, even in case of adverse weather conditions. The machine delivers resilient packaging and a clean logistics chain in all fields of application. With its compact dimensions, the Haver Adams is suited for all production environments. For the building materials and minerals industry this means: an entirely new, yet well-tried process FFS filling of powder-type products and products with challenging flow properties into PE bags.

Haver & Boecker
Haver & Boecker is a traditional family-managed, midsize company with headquarters in Oelde, Westphalia, Germany. Under the umbrella of Haver & Boecker OHG, one finds the wire weaving and machinery divisions. The machinery division specialises in packing and weighing technology. It develops, produces and markets systems and plants for filling and processing loose, bulk materials of every type. The product range includes packing and loading systems for powder-type and granulated materials, packing machines for filling food and animal feed, as well as filling stations and complete filling lines for liquid and pasty products. The product range is supplemented by screening machines, machines for washing, pelletising plates, agitators, mixers, palletising and loading systems, silos, ship loading and unloading equipment.

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Price hikes, drop in input costs help cement industry to post positive margins: Care Ratings

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Region-wise,the southern region comprises 35% of the total cement capacity, followed by thenorthern, eastern, western and central region comprising 20%, 18%, 14% and 13%of the capacity, respectively.

The cement industry is expected to post positive margins on decent price hikes over the months, falling raw material prices and marked drop in overall production costs, said an analysis of Care Ratings.

Wholesale and retail prices of cement have increased 11.9% and 12.4%, respectively, in the current financial year. As whole prices have remained elevated in most of the markets in the months of FY20, against the corresponding period of the previous year.

Similarly, electricity and fuel cost have declined 11.9% during 9M FY20 due to drop in crude oil prices. Logistics costs, the biggest cost for cement industry, has also dropped 7.7% (selling and distribution) as the Railways extended the benefit of exemption from busy season surcharge. Moreover, the cost of raw materials, too, declined 5.1% given the price of limestone had fallen 11.3% in the same aforementioned period, the analysis said.

According to Care Ratings, though the overall sales revenue has increased only 1.3%, against 16% growth in the year-ago period, the overall expenditure has declined 3.2% which has benefited the industry largely given the moderation in sales.

Even though FY20 has been subdued in terms of production and demand, the fall in cost of production has still supported the cement industry by clocking in positive margins, the rating agency said.

Cement demand is closely linked to the overall economic growth, particularly the housing and infrastructure sector. The cement sector will be seeing a sharp growth in volumes mainly due to increasing demand from affordable housing and other government infrastructure projects like roads, metros, airports, irrigation.

The government’s newly introduced National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP), with its target of becoming a $5-trillion economy by 2025, is a detailed road map focused on economic revival through infrastructure development.

The NIP covers a gamut of sectors; rural and urban infrastructure and entails investments of Rs.102 lakh crore to be undertaken by the central government, state governments and the private sector. Of the total projects of the NIP, 42% are under implementation while 19% are under development, 31% are at the conceptual stage and 8% are yet to be classified.

The sectors that will be of focus will be roads, railways, power (renewable and conventional), irrigation and urban infrastructure. These sectors together account for 79% of the proposed investments in six years to 2025. Given the government’s thrust on infrastructure creation, it is likely to benefit the cement industry going forward.

Similarly, the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana, aimed at providing affordable housing, will be a strong driver to lift cement demand. Prices have started correcting Q4 FY20 onwards due to revival in demand of the commodity, the agency said in its analysis.

Industry’s sales revenue has grown at a CAGR of 7.3% during FY15-19 but has grown only 1.3% in the current financial year. Tepid demand throughout the country in the first half of the year has led to the contraction of sales revenue. Fall in the total expenditure of cement firms had aided in improving the operating profit and net profit margins of the industry (OPM was 15.2 during 9M FY19 and NPM was 3.1 during 9M FY19). Interest coverage ratio, too, has improved on an overall basis (ICR was 3.3 during 9M FY19).

According to Cement Manufacturers Association, India accounts for over 8% of the overall global installed capacity. Region-wise, the southern region comprises 35% of the total cement capacity, followed by the northern, eastern, western and central region comprising 20%, 18%, 14% and 13% of the capacity, respectively.

Installed capacity of domestic cement makers has increased at a CAGR of 4.9% during FY16-20. Manufacturers have been able to maintain a capacity utilisation rate above 65% in the past quinquennium. In the current financial year due to the prolonged rains in many parts of the country, the capacity utilisation rate has fallen from 70% during FY19 to 66% currently (YTD).

Source:moneycontrol.com

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Wonder Cement shows journey of cement with new campaign

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The campaign also marks Wonder Cement being the first ever cement brand to enter the world of IGTV…

ETBrandEquity

Cement manufacturing company Wonder Cement, has announced the launch of a digital campaign ‘Har Raah Mein Wonder Hai’. The campaign has been designed specifically to run on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

#HarRaahMeinWonderHai is a one-minute video, designed and conceptualised by its digital media partner Triature Digital Marketing and Technologies Pvt Ltd. The entire journey of the cement brand from leaving the factory, going through various weather conditions and witnessing the beauty of nature and wonders through the way until it reaches the destination i.e., to the consumer is very intriguing and the brand has tried to showcase the same with the film.

Sanjay Joshi, executive director, Wonder Cement, said, "Cement as a product poses a unique marketing challenge. Most consumers will build their homes once and therefore buy cement once in a lifetime. It is critical for a cement company to connect with their consumers emotionally. As a part of our communication strategy, it is our endeavor to reach out to a large audience of this country through digital. Wonder Cement always a pioneer in digital, with the launch of our IGTV campaign #HarRahMeinWonderHai, is the first brand in the cement category to venture into this space. Through this campaign, we have captured the emotional journey of a cement bag through its own perspective and depicted what it takes to lay the foundation of one’s dreams and turn them into reality."

The story begins with a family performing the bhoomi poojan of their new plot. It is the place where they are investing their life-long earnings; and planning to build a dream house for the family and children. The family believes in the tradition of having a ‘perfect shuruaat’ (perfect beginning) for their future dream house. The video later highlights the process of construction and in sequence it is emphasising the value of ‘Perfect Shuruaat’ through the eyes of a cement bag.

Tarun Singh Chauhan, management advisor and brand consultant, Wonder Cement, said, "Our objective with this campaign was to show that the cement produced at the Wonder Cement plant speaks for itself, its quality, trust and most of all perfection. The only way this was possible was to take the perspective of a cement bag and showing its journey of perfection from beginning till the end."

According to the company, the campaign also marks Wonder Cement being the first ever cement brand to enter the world of IGTV. No other brand in this category has created content specific to the platform.

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In spite of company’s optimism, demand weakness in cement is seen in the 4% y-o-y drop in sales volume. (Reuters)

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Cost cuts and better realizations save? the ?day ?for ?UltraTech Cement, Updated: 27 Jan 2020, Vatsala Kamat from Live Mint

Lower cost of energy and logistics helped Ebitda per tonne rise by about 29% in Q3
Premiumization of acquired brands, synergistic?operations hold promise for future profit growth Topics

UltraTech Cement
India’s largest cement producer UltraTech Cement Ltd turned out a bittersweet show in the December quarter. A sharp drop in fuel costs and higher realizations helped drive profit growth. But the inherent demand weakness was evident in the sales volumes drop during the quarter.

Better realizations during the December quarter, in spite of the 4% year-on-year volume decline, minimized the pain. Net stand-alone revenue fell by 2.6% to ?9,981.8 crore.

But as pointed out earlier, lower costs on most fronts helped profitability. The chart alongside shows the sharp drop in energy costs led by lower petcoke prices, lower fuel consumption and higher use of green power. Logistics costs, too, fell due to lower railway freight charges and synergies from the acquired assets. These savings helped offset the increase in raw material costs.

The upshot: Q3 Ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) of about ?990 per tonne was 29% higher from a year ago. The jump in profit on a per tonne basis was more or less along expected lines, given the increase in realizations. "Besides, the reduction in net debt by about ?2,000 crore is a key positive," said Binod Modi, analyst at Reliance Securities Ltd.

Graphic by Santosh Sharma/Mint
What also impressed analysts is the nimble-footed integration of the recently merged cement assets of Nathdwara and Century, which was a concern on the Street.

Kunal Shah, analyst (institutional equities) at Yes Securities (India) Ltd, said: "The company has proved its ability of asset integration. Century’s cement assets were ramped up to 79% capacity utilization in December, even as they operated Nathdwara generating an Ebitda of ?1,500 per tonne."

Looks like the demand weakness mirrored in weak sales during the quarter was masked by the deft integration and synergies derived from these acquired assets. This drove UltraTech’s stock up by 2.6% to ?4,643 after the Q3 results were declared on Friday.

Brand transition from Century to UltraTech, which is 55% complete, is likely to touch 80% by September 2020. A report by Jefferies India Pvt. Ltd highlights that the Ebitda per tonne for premium brands is about ?5-10 higher per bag than the average (A cement bag weighs 50kg). Of course, with competition increasing in the arena, it remains to be seen how brand premiumization in the cement industry will pan out. UltraTech Cement scores well among peers here.

However, there are road bumps ahead for the cement sector and for UltraTech. Falling gross domestic product growth, fiscal slippages and lower budgetary allocation to infrastructure sector are making industry houses jittery on growth. Although UltraTech’s management is confident that cement demand is looking up, sustainability and pricing power remains a worry for the near term.

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