The Indian cement industry excels because of innovation. There is strong urge to think out of the box. The skill level is very high and training and retraining keep them abreast with the latest in technology.
Indian cement industry has something special, which makes the industry different from a global perspective. One has to agree that in terms of innovation India is among the top few. This particular trait is inherent in our psyche which helps us to succeed amidst several challenges. Other than adoption and amenable to modern technology there are some behavioral aspects of the men behind the machines which help the Indian plants to excel. The Indian cement industry has transformed from a crude state in the seventies to one of the most modern and respectable industry in India.Hunger for innovation
There is an insatiable hunger to do something new. Here in India the sky is the limit. There is a constant ongoing effort of tweaking and optimising. Plants do it in a quiet manner without any fanfare. In developed countries there is too much thrust on standard operating procedures (SOPs). It is fine but many a times it kills the enthusiasm of innovators. Amendments have to be made in SOPs to incorporate changes which are time consuming process, where you have to involve so many people with diverse views resulting in loss of interest. The Indian ‘Jogarh System’ works very well in cement industry.
I have seen charge hands and foremen coming out with timely extra-ordinary solutions in emergency situations. There are no unnecessary presentations, fanfare etc. a small group deliberates on issues and with the plant manager’s approval, thing are implemented/restored with minimum stoppage time. They are risk takers and always want to improvise. Except the workers most of the employees are highly educated. However the workers and are always keen to share their ideas. The plant management is always receptive and in many cases plant problems have been sorted out by shop floor workers. This is more so in plants not falling under groups/multinationals. An instinct to do better than the predecessor
This behavioral aspect has deep roots in the plant management. All are keen to surpass previous best and create new records. Production is stretched more than rated capacities in spite of many challenges like difficult raw materials/fuels (poor grade of limestone/coal/ gypsum) technical issues etc. Also it is ensured that improvements are sustainable. Focus and dedication
The plant staff are usually highly motivated with strong attachment to their respective plants. Cement is in their blood. Their children also reflect these characteristics as they see their fathers’ dedication day in a day out. For them to get employment in cement plant is an ambition. These people are not polluted by the sparkles of city life and such children are too loyal. The Indian cement industry recruits wards of employees which has a positive influence on the dedication and loyalty of other employees. A blend of such dedicated employees and fresh highly talented students from reputed educational institutions create a win-win situation. Although the turnover of employees from urban areas is high, it is the core local employees who hold the fort under all circumstances. The dedication of these employees is unquestionable and this is one of the main reasons of Indian plants during so well. These employees have long unconditional loyalty and treat the plant like their priced belonging. Their focus is never diluted or disturbed unlike in an urban set up. Reward and recognition
The plant staff is adequately compensated for good performance and rewarded and recognised in a timely manner. Now-a-days there are ample opportunities to progress at a faster rate. An array of designations keep them motivated as Indian society is highly sensitive to designations and status. Performance based incentives are given by most of the manufacturers which keep the workforce highly motivated. Good performers are rewarded and projected in important gatherings, which satisfies there self- esteem.Healthy competition and benchmarking
Plants in a group are always competing to be the best in the group. Similarly there is a strong urge to be the best among competitors. Employees are conversant of what is going on in other plants and strive for the best jointly with management. A strong psychological thinking has emerged now-a-days that if they can why not us.‘Kitna Deti Hai’ is the mantra
Whether it is buying a car or a refrigerator, Indians are wedded to this concept. That is the reason that our plants are the best in energy efficiency. Even the older plants are day in day out continuously improving their energy efficiency. The kiln production is continuously on the rise without diluting quality. Going the extra mile is nothing new for the Indian cement industry. Plants have been practicing it for quite some time quietly without fanfare. Running machines at stretched capacities is not easy. All plant staff are on their toes monitoring and taking timely actions. When it is energy saving everyone is so involved to find the slightest avenues of improvement in their own areas. This area is more or less the talk of the town. This area has top priority in daily production meetings. Stretching machines to over capacity does not necessarily mean shorter life. Many would shirk from it but our men take this risk because they are confident of their predictive and preventive maintenance and above all they have confidence in themselves and their respective teams. Each plant team works in a sort of military scenario where everyone is mentally and physically prepared to work extra, odd hours/ week ends, take calculated risks, work in teams and a follow the leader.Sustainable development
The Indian cement industry ensures that all achievements are sustainable. There is a growing desire to make the plants safe and environmental friendly. CSR activities are on the rise with some plants adopting villages around their sites. There is constant touch with locals, local Govt.administration etc. The plant renders all possible help to the stakeholders at times of need. They norture the locals as partners which helps in smooth operation of the factory.Management style
Unlike some multinationals which are head heavy the Indian cement industry believes in nurturing the talent down below the ladder. They believe that the actual working hands are shop floor critical mass. This helps them to take faster decisions involving the critical mass. The mature Indian players do not leave their good retired staff because they know that these are the people who know the ins and out of managing plants in remote areas. They have stood the test of time and made industry successful. Age old autocratic style of management style has transformed into team best management where anyone gets opportunity to contribute. From an attitude of ‘do not go home do not take leave" it is now "be efficient and enjoy life." Man management has evolved from purely personnel management to human resource management. Job enrichment has been given due weight age and compensation schemes have been made very attractive. The employees now see a well planned career growth chalked out for them.Job security and welfare
Unlike in the West where the sword of Damocles always hang on your head, the Indian cement industry employees enjoy a much safe and secure employment. This helps them to focus on job and plan their future. Employees enjoy good medical facilities, children education allowances, scholarships, retirement benefits; leave travel assistance, bonuses, promotions etc. Lately the remunerations and incentives in Indian Cement plants have become very attractive which is further improving the motivation of the employees. Going to Middle East/ Africa is no longer lucrative.Tenacity
The remarkable tenacity of the plant staff is worth mentioning. They are always available for exigencies 24x7x52. They never complain because their first objective is to keep the operations running smoothly.Colony life and family support
Staying in colony adjacent to factory is one of the biggest trump cards. This breeds comradeship. The family including children sacrifice the benefits of city life. The ladies keep themselves busy by conducting various lady’s club programmes. The Spouse of unit head takes a leading role. So strong in the attachment between ladies that no one is left to feel lonely. If anybody is sick, help is available from all members of lady’s club. This type of comradeship may not be available in an urban set up. The families never complain about the long/odd duty hours of the men folk rather they support them by managing all house hold activities, grocery, children education etc.Summary
The Indian cement industry excels because of innovation. There is strong urge to think out of the box. The skill level is very high and training and retraining keep them abreast with the latest in technology. The employees are focused and dedicated and are ready to sacrifice their personal well- being for the sake of the plant. They are voluntarily available 24x7x52. This does not mean that other industries do not have the same capabilities but the difference in cement industry is that most of the plants are located in remote areas with less number of people, small residential colonies lesser amenities etc. To excel in such environment is really commendable. With their extra ordinary feats in recent years they have elevated the Indian cement Industry to World class and made it highly respectable in India. The hunger still persists to make it the best in the world.
Advertising or branding is never about driving sales. It’s about creating brand awareness and recall. It’s about conveying the core values of your brand to your consumers. In this context, why is branding important for cement companies? As far as the customers are concerned cement is simply cement. It is precisely for this reason that branding, marketing and advertising of cement becomes crucial. Since the customer is unable to differentiate between the shades of grey, the onus of creating this awareness is carried by the brands. That explains the heavy marketing budgets, celebrity-centric commercials, emotion-invoking taglines and campaigns enunciating the many benefits of their offerings.
Marketing strategies of cement companies have undergone gradual transformation owing to the change in consumer behaviour. While TV commercials are high on humour and emotions to establish a fast connect with the customer, social media campaigns are focussed more on capturing the consumer’s attention in an over-crowded virtual world. Branding for cement companies has become a holistic growth strategy with quantifiable results. This has made brands opt for a mix package of traditional and new-age tools, such as social media. However, the hero of every marketing communication is the message, which encapsulates the unique selling points of the product. That after all is crux of the matter here.
While cement companies are effectively using marketing tools to reach out to the consumers, they need to strengthen the four Cs of the branding process – Consumer, Cost, Communication and Convenience. Putting up the right message, at the right time and at the right place for the right kind of customer demographic is of utmost importance in the long run. It is precisely for this reason that regional players are likely to have an upper hand as they rely on local language and cultural references to drive home the point. But modern marketing and branding domain is exponentially growing and it would be an interesting exercise to tabulate and analyse its impact on branding for cement.
Indian cement industry is well known for its energy and natural resource efficiency
Dr Hitesh Sukhwal, Deputy General Manager – Environment, Udaipur Cement Works Limited (UCWL) takes us through the multifaceted efforts that the company has undertaken to keep emissions in check with the use of alternative sources of energy and carbon capture technology.
Tell us about the policies of your organisation for the betterment of the environment.
Caring for people is one of the core values of our JK Lakshmi Cement Limited. We strongly believe that we all together can make a difference. In all our units, we have taken measures to reduce carbon footprint, emissions and minimise the use of natural resources. Climate change and sustainable development are major global concerns. As a responsible corporate, we are committed with and doing consistent effort small or big to preserve and enrich the environment in and around our area of operations.
As far as environmental policies are concerned, we are committed to comply with all applicable laws, standards and regulations of regulatory bodies pertaining to the environment. We are consistently making efforts to integrate the environmental concerns into the mainstream of the operations. We are giving thrust upon natural resource conservation like limestone, gypsum, water and energy. We are utilising different kinds of alternative fuels and raw materials. Awareness among the employees and local people on environmental concerns is an integral part of our company. We are adopting best environmental practices aligned with sustainable development goals.
Udaipur Cement Works Limited is a subsidiary of the JK Lakshmi Cement Limited. Since its inception, the company is committed towards boosting sustainability through adopting the latest art of technology designs, resource efficient equipment and various in-house innovations. We are giving thrust upon renewable and clean energy sources for our cement manufacturing. Solar Power and Waste Heat Recovery based power are our key ingredients for total power mix.
What impact does cement production have on the environment? Elaborate the major areas affected.
The major environmental concern areas during cement production are air emissions through point and nonpoint sources due to plant operation and emissions from mining operation, from material transport, carbon emissions through process, transit, noise pollution, vibration during mining, natural resource depletion, loss of biodiversity and change in landscape.
India is the second largest cement producer in the world. The Indian cement industry is well known for its energy and natural resource efficiency worldwide. The Indian cement industry is a frontrunner for implementing significant technology measures to ensure a greener future.
The cement industry is an energy intensive and significant contributor to climate change. Cement production contributes greenhouse gases directly and indirectly into the atmosphere through calcination and use of fossil fuels in an energy form. The industry believes in a circular economy by utilising alternative fuels for making cement. Cement companies are focusing on major areas of energy efficiency by adoption of technology measures, clinker substitution by alternative raw material for cement making, alternative fuels and green and clean energy resources. These all efforts are being done towards environment protection and sustainable future.
Nowadays, almost all cement units have a dry manufacturing process for cement production, only a few exceptions where wet manufacturing processes are in operation. In the dry manufacturing process, water is used only for the purpose of machinery cooling, which is recirculated in a closed loop, thus, no polluted water is generated during the dry manufacturing process.
We should also accept the fact that modern life is impossible without cement. However, through state-of-the-art technology and innovations, it is possible to mitigate all kinds of pollution without harm to the environment and human beings.
Tell us about the impact blended cement creates on the environment and emission rate.
Our country started cement production in 1914. However, it was introduced in the year 1904 at a small scale, earlier. Initially, the manufacturing of cement was only for Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC). In the 1980s, the production of blended cement was introduced by replacing fly ash and blast furnace slag. The production of blended cement increased in the growth period and crossed the 50 per cent in the year 2004.
The manufacturing of blended cement results in substantial savings in the thermal and electrical energy consumption as well as saving of natural resources. The overall consumption of raw materials, fossil fuel such as coal, efficient burning and state-of-the-art technology in cement plants have resulted in the gradual reduction of emission of carbon dioxide (CO2). Later, the production of blended cement was increased in manifolds.
If we think about the growth of blended cement in the past few decades, we can understand how much quantity of , (fly ash and slag) consumed and saved natural resources like limestone and fossil fuel, which were anyhow disposed of and harmed the environment. This is the reason it is called green cement. Reduction in the clinker to cement ratio has the second highest emission reduction potential i.e., 37 per cent. The low carbon roadmap for cement industries can be achieved from blended cement. Portland Pozzolana Cement (PPC), Portland Slag Cement (PSC) and Composite Cement are already approved by the National Agency BIS.
As far as kilogram CO2 per ton of cement emission concerns, Portland Slag Cement (PSC) has a larger potential, other than PPC, Composite Cement etc. for carbon emission reduction. BIS approved 60 per cent slag and 35 per cent clinker in composition of PSC. Thus, clinker per centage is quite less in PSC composition compared to other blended cement. The manufacturing of blended cement directly reduces thermal and process emissions, which contribute high in overall emissions from the cement industry, and this cannot be addressed through adoption of energy efficiency measures.
In the coming times, the cement industry must relook for other blended cement options to achieve a low carbon emissions road map. In near future, availability of fly ash and slag in terms of quality and quantity will be reduced due to various government schemes for low carbon initiatives viz. enhance renewable energy sources, waste to energy plants etc.
Further, it is required to increase awareness among consumers, like individual home builders or large infrastructure projects, to adopt greener alternatives viz. PPC and PSC for more sustainable
What are the decarbonising efforts taken by your organisation?
India is the world’s second largest cement producer. Rapid growth of big infrastructure, low-cost housing (Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna), smart cities project and urbanisation will create cement demand in future. Being an energy intensive industry, we are also focusing upon alternative and renewable energy sources for long-term sustainable business growth for cement production.
Presently, our focus is to improve efficiency of zero carbon electricity generation technology such as waste heat recovery power through process optimisation and by adopting technological innovations in WHR power systems. We are also increasing our capacity for WHR based power and solar power in the near future. Right now, we are sourcing about 50 per cent of our power requirement from clean and renewable energy sources i.e., zero carbon electricity generation technology. Usage of alternative fuel during co-processing in the cement manufacturing process is a viable and sustainable option. In our unit, we are utilising alternative raw material and fuel for reducing carbon emissions. We are also looking forward to green logistics for our product transport in nearby areas.
By reducing clinker – cement ratio, increasing production of PPC and PSC cement, utilisation of alternative raw materials like synthetic gypsum/chemical gypsum, Jarosite generated from other process industries, we can reduce carbon emissions from cement manufacturing process. Further, we are looking forward to generating onsite fossil free electricity generation facilities by increasing the capacity of WHR based power and ground mounted solar energy plants.
We can say energy is the prime requirement of the cement industry and renewable energy is one of the major sources, which provides an opportunity to make a clean, safe and infinite source of power which is affordable for the cement industry.
What are the current programmes run by your organisation for re-building the environment and reducing pollution?
We are working in different ways for environmental aspects. As I said, we strongly believe that we all together can make a difference. We focus on every environmental aspect directly / indirectly related to our operation and surroundings.
If we talk about air pollution in operation, every section of the operational unit is well equipped with state-of-the-art technology-based air pollution control equipment (BagHouse and ESP) to mitigate the dust pollution beyond the compliance standard. We use high class standard PTFE glass fibre filter bags in our bag houses. UCWL has installed the DeNOx system (SNCR) for abatement of NOx pollution within norms. The company has installed a 6 MW capacity Waste Heat Recovery based power plant that utilises waste heat of kiln i.e., green and clean energy source. Also, installed a 14.6 MW capacity solar power system in the form of a renewable energy source.
All material transfer points are equipped with a dust extraction system. Material is stored under a covered shed to avoid secondary fugitive dust emission sources. Finished product is stored in silos. Water spraying system are mounted with material handling point. Road vacuum sweeping machine deployed for housekeeping of paved area.
In mining, have deployed wet drill machine for drilling bore holes. Controlled blasting is carried out with optimum charge using Air Decking Technique with wooden spacers and non-electric detonator (NONEL) for control of noise, fly rock, vibration, and dust emission. No secondary blasting is being done. The boulders are broken by hydraulic rock breaker. Moreover, instead of road transport, we installed Overland Belt Conveying system for crushed limestone transport from mine lease area to cement plant. Thus omit an insignificant amount of greenhouse gas emissions due to material transport, which is otherwise emitted from combustion of fossil fuel in the transport system. All point emission sources (stacks) are well equipped with online continuous emission monitoring system (OCEMS) for measuring parameters like PM, SO2 and NOx for 24×7. OCEMS data are interfaced with SPCB and CPCB servers.
The company has done considerable work upon water conservation and certified at 2.76 times water positive. We installed a digital water flow metre for each abstraction point and digital ground water level recorder for measuring ground water level 24×7. All digital metres and level recorders are monitored by an in-house designed IoT based dashboard. Through this live dashboard, we can assess the impact of rainwater harvesting (RWH) and ground water monitoring.
All points of domestic sewage are well connected with Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) and treated water is being utilised in industrial cooling purposes, green belt development and in dust suppression. Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) installed for mine’s workshop. Treated water is reused in washing activity. The unit maintains Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD).
Our unit has done extensive plantations of native and pollution tolerant species in industrial premises and mine lease areas. Moreover, we are not confined to our industrial boundary for plantation. We organised seedling distribution camps in our surrounding areas. We involve our stakeholders, too, for our plantation drive. UCWL has also extended its services under Corporate Social Responsibility for betterment of the environment in its surrounding. We conduct awareness programs for employees and stakeholders. We have banned Single Use Plastic (SUP) in our premises. In our industrial township, we have implemented a solid waste management system for our all households, guest house and bachelor hostel. A complete process of segregated waste (dry and wet) door to door collection systems is well established.
Tell us about the efforts taken by your organisation to better the environment in and around the manufacturing unit.
UCWL has invested capital in various environmental management and protection projects like installed DeNOx (SNCR) system, strengthening green belt development in and out of industrial premises, installed high class pollution control equipment, ground-mounted solar power plant etc.
The company has taken up various energy conservation projects like, installed VFD to reduce power consumption, improve efficiency of WHR power generation by installing additional economiser tubes and AI-based process optimisation systems. Further, we are going to increase WHR power generation capacity under our upcoming expansion project. UCWL promotes rainwater harvesting for augmentation of the ground water resource. Various scientifically based WHR structures are installed in plant premises and mine lease areas. About 80 per cent of present water requirement is being fulfilled by harvested rainwater sourced from Mine’s Pit. We are also looking forward towards green transport (CNG/LNG based), which will drastically reduce carbon footprint.
We are proud to say that JK Lakshmi Cement Limited has a strong leadership and vision for developing an eco-conscious and sustainable role model of our cement business. The company was a pioneer among cement industries of India, which had installed the DeNOx (SNCR) system in its cement plant.
NTPC selects Carbon Clean and Green Power for carbon capture facility
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