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Cement industry has become more cost effective and efficient by implementing environmental regulation.

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Wonder Cement is a cement manufacturing company, enriched with the heritage of R.K. Marble, a leading name in the marble industry. The cement plant is located in Nimbahera, District Chittorgarhin Rajasthan, with three production lines, has a capacity of producing 9.50 Million Tons Per Annum (MTPA) of clinker. With the commencement of grinding unit in Dhule, Maharashtra and Bhadnawar, Madhya Pradesh, with the capacity of 2 MTPA each, it’s cement manufacturing capacity has increased to 11MTPA. Now, the company is going to commission its third grinding unit in Jhajjar, Haryana so as to facilitate an increase in combined production capacity of 13 MTPA by January, 2021.

Interview with Vivek Patni, Director, Wonder Cement

1.How do you see the year ahead in terms of sale and capacity utilization post pandemic of Covid-19? How about the revival of construction sector?
We see the demand revival from October – December 2020 quarter. We see capacity utilization to be in the range from 65% to 70% on all India basis However, in North region, where we are working, capacity utilization will be in the range of 75%.

2.How has environmental regulation affected the cement industry in the past one decade and how do you expect it to influence it over the next decade?
The Cement Industry has responded to environment regulation very positively. The industry has become more clean and green in last two decade. The industry under its responsibility towards environment has implemented the regulation very effectively. I feel that industry has become more cost effective and efficient by implementing environmental regulation.
The Industry is continuously working on reduction of Greenhouses Gases.

3.What impact you think this will have on the competitiveness of the cement industry, the cost of production, product quality and profitability?
The Cement Industry has become more cost effective by implementing stringent environment regulations. The carbon foot print has reduced by increasing blended Cement, WHRS installation and uses of alternate fuels and Raw materials. These measures not only made industry more environmentally friendly but it reduces the Cost of Production and also improves its efficiency parameters.

4.What are the chances of climate change groups directly or indirectly influencing the Indian cement industry in terms of limiting capacity additions, affecting the choice of fuels, influencing the product mix, etc? What are likely to be the future drivers?
The climate change groups are becoming more and more active. These groups will ask for reduction of CO2 and Nox (both are greenhouses gases). With the new development in technologies and research going, CO2 capturing will be possible. With changes in Cement manufacturing process, Nox reduction is also very much possible. However, the new technology of CO2 capturing and Nox reduction becoming technically and commercially viable may take some time but it will be possible to reduce/minimize the impact on climate change by technology adoption.

The real challenges on capacity addition/size of plant are from the land owners in the context of cement industry. With the new regulations of land acquisition, it is becoming very difficult to acquire the mining and plant land. Therefore, I see bigger challenges from Environmentalist on account of land acquisition and rehabilitation of project affected area.

5.How has the implementation of the latest environmental norms in the cement industry fared so far and how do you see it faring in the future, in terms of the ease or difficulty in the actual implementation of the environmental norms, financial impact, technical difficulties, etc. and do you think these norms need any re-visit?
The implementation of latest regulations of Environment did not pose big challenge. The industry has adopted and implemented regulations upto great extent. The new regulations of SPM of 30 mg/NM3 are very well adopted by industry. The Indian Cement Industry is working on controlling NOx as prescribed by regulating authorities.

Achieving the latest regulations on NOx has been a challenge for industry. The industry is in process of installing SCNR and also re-designing the process to minimize NOx generations.

The regulations of Land Acquisition and rehabilitation are bigger challenges. The land acquisition is delayed the project implementations.

The other challenges for industry are drawing of underground water. Because of NGT orders, it has become very difficult to get permission/renewal ground water withdrawal. However, industry is switching over to technology where water consumption can be minimized/eliminated. One such example is the raw material grinding in roll press. Grate cooler is designed without water spray. The ESP is being replaced with Bag filters to avoid uses of water.

6.What is your expectation in the availability and pricing of coal in India over the next decade? Is there a likelihood of environmental groups effectively dissuading the industry from using coal? What alternatives are likely to arise?
I do not see availability of Coal for manufacturing Cement will be a constraint during next decade. However, the Industry focus will be there to reduce uses of Fossil Fuel. Following will be the drives:

(i)Increase uses of Alternate Fuel like Industrial Waste and Bio Mass.
(ii)Reduction of specific power and fuel consumption.
(iii)More and more uses of Power Generated from Waste Heat.
(iv)Increase of share of Renewal Energy
(v)The present TSR (Thermal Substitution Rate) in Indian Cement Industry is around 3 to 5%. However, industry is now putting of equipment and machinery gearing upto use all type of Waste material generated by industrial units. The Bio mass is already being utilized in Cement Kiln and Power Plants.

7.What has been the extent of Alternative Fuels & Raw Materials (AFR) usage in the cement industry in general and your cement plants in particular in the past and how much Thermal Substitution Rate (TSR) do you think we can achieve over the next decade?
The present TSR in Cement Industry is around 5%. With growing awareness about disposal of waste in Cement Kilns, I am very sure that TSR is going to increase in days to come.

The Cement Industry is gearing up to dispose of any type of waste material in their Kilns by installing waste handling and processing Equipment.

We at Wonder Cement have started working on uses of AFR. The Capex has been sanctioned. The installation work is in progress. We expect to start using AFR by 2021.

I feel by next decade, the Industry will have minimum TSR of 25%. The challenges in increasing the uses of AFR are getting clearance of Pollution Board.

8.How has information technology impacted the cement industry in the past two decades and how do you expect it to change over the next decade? What are likely to be the future drivers?
The IT had played key role in the manufacturing process of Cement. More and more processes are being automated. In coming year, Industry will adopt many tools to monitor sales and will strengthen sales force to improve their sales, generate leads and convert leads to sales. IT will have bigger role in controlling logistic cost by way optimizing whereas locations, distributions from plant and warehouses, it will also optimizing fleet size. The Industry is moving paper less operations.

9.How the deteriorating limestone quality in future will have impact on cement manufacturing in next 10 years. What type of innovations in equipment or Process Technology do you foresee to tackle this problem?
Lime stone beneficiation will be the key to use low grade lime stone quality. Lot of R & D work is being done for beneficiation of Lime Stone. Wonder Cement is also working on such project for beneficiation.

Vivek Patni is the young member of Patni family and Director of Wonder Cement.

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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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