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We prioritise environmental conservation and air quality

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With a detailed exploration of their state-of-the-art packaging processes, environmental conservation efforts and forward-thinking innovations, Dhananjay Singh Parmar, Senior Manager – Packing Plant, Udaipur Cement Works, talks about the company’s commitment to efficiency, sustainability and quality.

Tell us about the setup and process of cement packaging in your organisation.
At Udaipur Cement Works Limited (UCWL), our cutting-edge facility is equipped with a grinding and packing capacity of 2.2 million tonnes of cement annually, which is currently under expansion to reach 4.7 million tonnes per annum. Our packaging process utilises advanced FLS ventomatic single and double discharge packers, specifically the 8 spout model R-150 (clockwise / anti-clockwise) and 12 spout model R-150 anti-clockwise (2 nos and 1 no, respectively). These packers ensure both precision and efficiency in the packaging process. To further augment our capabilities, our in-house designed bulk cement loading and container loading arrangement have been installed. Notably, our packers feature in-built hardware for automatic correction of weight, enhancing overall accuracy. Additionally, we prioritise transparency by printing the week, month, and year on bags, along with the fly ash percentage, as they traverse the belt conveyor. A distinct code is also printed on bags despatched to each party or depot, seamlessly linked with delivery instructions.
Furthermore, we have initiated an innovative method to transport loose cement by a greener mode of transportation by shifting from diesel-based bulkers to electric-based rakes. We flagged off a one-of-its-kind consignment of bulk cement transport through container rake from Khemli to our Gujarat and Maharashtra markets in association with Container Corporation of India Ltd (CONCOR). With this, UCWL has become the first cement company in the north-west region to implement this inventive step towards achieving logistical efficiency and environmental conservation by saving around 20,000 kg CO2 per rake movement.

What steps is the industry taking to ensure that there is minimum wastage of product during the packaging process?
To minimise product wastage during packaging, the industry is adopting advanced technologies and automated systems. The cement gets recirculated in the system during packing operations, there is a hopper, which collects the cement and feeds it back to the bucket elevator. The product / cement which remains in the burst or torn bag during operations is re-circulated by feeding it in the bucket elevator.
At UCWL, we have also implemented a SAP-based transport management system that includes automatic bag counters and man-less weigh bridges. This not only enhances accuracy in the packaging process but also contributes to minimising product wastage, ensuring optimal utilisation of resources.

Is there any emission of dust during the bagging, packaging and pelletising process? What measures are being taken to control the same?
We prioritise environmental conservation and air quality. To address dust emissions during bagging and packaging, UCWL has invested in efficient emission control systems. Cement is packed in bags at packer with the help of pressure which generates dust. We have provided bag filters which collect the fugitive dust and are re-circulated in the system. Separate bag filters are provided for all three packers and bulker loading systems. These systems
capture particulate matter, controlling the release of pollutants into the atmosphere. Regular monitoring and maintenance ensure the effectiveness of these measures, aligning with our commitment to environmental regulations.

Tell us about the use of automation and technology in this last step of the cement manufacturing process?
Automation and technology play a pivotal role in the final steps of cement manufacturing at UCWL. The computerised operation of material extraction from silo to the loading of bags in trucks streamlines the process, requiring minimal manual intervention once the system is set up. The interconnected nature of our automated systems, including interlocking with hopper levels, ensures a seamless and error-free packaging process, optimising resource utilisation and zero errors. Our SAP-based transport management system, coupled with automatic bag counters and man-less weigh bridges, exemplifies our commitment to efficiency and precision. These technologies not only streamline the packaging process but also contribute to minimising errors and optimising resource utilisation.

Tell us about the material of bags used for packing smaller and bulk cement loads.
Our commitment to delivering a superior product is reflected in the meticulous selection of packaging materials at UCWL. For premium products, we employ high-quality laminated paper-based bags, while for other products, we opt for HDPE bags that adhere to industry standards. The choice of materials is carefully curated to guarantee durability and integrity during transportation and storage. To further ensure the strength of our bags, we conduct random sampling and drop tests, reaffirming our dedication to delivering a reliable and superior product to our customers.

What measures are being taken to protect cement from moisture from bagging to transporting stage?
Preserving the quality of our cement from bagging to the transportation stage is paramount. Rigorous measures are in place to protect the product from moisture, including the use of moisture-resistant packaging materials and adherence to best practices in handling and storage. Cement is stored in silos, and the packing process begins only when transportation is imminent. The loaded trucks are covered with tarpaulin to prevent any moisture-related issue. These measures guarantee that our customers receive cement of the highest quality, unaffected by moisture.

Tell us about the most challenging aspect of bagging and palletising in the cement manufacturing process?
One of the most intricate challenges in the despatch of cement is striking the delicate balance between speed and precision. At UCWL, the extraction of cement from silos and the packaging process are synchronised to ensure efficiency. The empty bags used for packaging are stored separately in a covered godown. The constant challenge lies in maintaining an efficient and error-free packaging process while upholding the highest standards of quality and zero wastage. Our commitment to overcoming these challenges is reflected in our pursuit of continuous improvement and innovation in our processes, driving the evolution of our operational efficiency.

What innovations would you like to see in this domain that can further help optimise and better the packaging process for the cement industry?
In the ever-evolving landscape of the cement industry, we envision innovations that further optimise the packaging process. Continuous advancements in automation, artificial intelligence and sustainable packaging materials are areas where we see potential for improvement. Some of these could be like:
Biodegradable and compostable bags: Traditional HDPE bags are major contributors to landfill waste. Biodegradable and compostable alternatives made from materials like algae, mycelium, or even agricultural waste could be a game-changer. Imagine planting your empty cement bag and watching it nourish your garden!
Interactive and informative packaging: QR codes or augmented reality features on cement bags could offer a wealth of information for users. Imagine scanning a bag to access mixing instructions, safety tips, or even video tutorials for specific applications.
Reusable and refillable containers: Bulk cement delivery is already common for large projects, but smaller-scale reusable containers could gain traction for individual consumers or smaller construction jobs. Think sturdy, refillable plastic or metal containers that could be easily transported and returned for refills, reducing waste and potentially lowering costs.
Automated robotic packaging systems: The integration of advanced robotic systems in the packaging process can enhance speed, accuracy, and efficiency. Robotic arms could automate tasks such as bagging, stacking, and sealing, reducing reliance on manual labour and minimising the risk of errors.
Embracing these innovations can enhance efficiency, reduce environmental impact and contribute to the overall progress of the cement industry. We remain committed to staying at the forefront of such advancements to better serve our customers and contribute to a sustainable future.

  • Kanika Mathur

Concrete

New appointment at TMEIC

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TMEIC Industrial Systems India, a Group company of TMEIC Corporation, Japan, has announced the appointment of Hidekazu Matsushima as the new Managing Director. Matsushima has been associated with Mitsubishi Electric FA division for domestic market in Japan since 1991 and been assigned in Industrial division in 1994, where he rolled out his mission of sales, marketing and business development of General industry (GI) such as paper, film, Oil & Gas, petrochemical, cement, food, automobile, semiconductor industries in Japan. During the establishment of TMEIC in Japan in 2003, he was assigned with the responsibility for domestic GI market Sales in Japan HQ, and then in plant and energy sales department.

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Concrete

Social Impact Award for Ambuja Cements

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The West Bengal CSR unit of Ambuja Cements has won the 6th ICC Social Impact Award 2024 in the large industry category. It was recognised for its efforts in advancing ‘Gender Equality and Women Empowerment’. The CSR arm received a letter of appreciation from the Office of the Governor of West Bengal, further amplifying recognition of the organisation’s contributions to societal advancement. The initiatives undertaken by Ambuja Cements in West Bengal under the Women Empowerment programme harness the power of rural women as breadwinners, community leaders and change-makers. Encouraging women to form Self-Help Groups and Federations plays a key role in helping them achieve socio-economic empowerment.

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Concrete

UCWL unveils new plant in Dabok, Udaipur

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JK Lakshmi Cement, a subsidiary of Udaipur Cement Works Limited (UCWL), has inaugurated its state-of-the-art cement mill IV at their Dabok plant in Udaipur, Rajasthan. The new mill pushes the plant’s cement capacity from 2.2 million MT to 4.7 million MT, making it one of the key players in the industry. The new facility is expected to enhance efficiency, productivity and provide exceptional product quality owing to its cutting-edge technology equipment while incorporating innovative measures to minimise its environmental impact. The event shows UCWL’s stern commitment to excellence and its contribution to the region’s infrastructure sector.

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