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Company Focus Interviews

TNPL The Green Delight

The government organization doesn’t do well, everything goes haywire, no control, no improvement and lack of efficiency… we all live with this notion in our minds. But, TNPL proved this wrong by settings its mark not only in India but internationally too. Their growth arrow has always seen an upward visage. Started with the vision to produce Paper from Eco friendly raw-material, they outcaste every challenge which came in their way. They attained the honor of being the world’s largest bagasse based Paper mill through their world class R&D and the execution. TNPL is the apt example of the saying “where there is a will there is a way”. Interacting about their journey, challenges etc team PAPER MART presents you the dialogue of the briefings.

The Journey

Tamil Nadu Newsprint and Papers Limited (TNPL) was promoted by the Government of Tamil Nadu during early eighties to manufacture Newsprint and Printing and Writing Paper using bagasse as primary raw material. TNPL commenced operations in the year 1984 with an initial capacity of 90,000 tonnes per annum (TPA). At that time, the technology of manufacturing newsprint from bagasse was not well established and there were doubts about the feasibility of producing newsprint from bagasse. With the concerted efforts, TNPL perfected the technology and produced newsprint and printing and writing paper consistently at over hundred percent of the capacity and made the project a ‘success story’.

Having gained confidence in producing newsprint from bagasse, in the year 1992 TNPL drew up plans for doubling the capacity to 1,80,000 TPA. For which, a new higher capacity machine was selected as an exclusive newsprint machine with specific features to support bagasse pulp to run at a speed of around 900 mpm. The mill was able to install the machine by January 1996 and attain full production within a very short span.

Thereafter, TNPL looked into the avenues for increasing the machine productivity through upgrading the Paper Machines and installed Shoe Press for the first time in the country in both the machines. The consequent increase in operating speed enhanced production from 1,80,000 TPA to 2,30,000 TPA with minimum capital investment.

Then in the year 2003 the Company looked into the possibility of increasing the capacity and finally decided to implement the expansion scheme in two phases. Under the first phase named Mill Development Plan, a new 300 TPD Hard Wood Pulp line with Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF) bleaching and a 550 TPD ECF bleaching plant for Chemical Bagasse Pulp were installed with recovery boiler, Evaporator and Turbo Generator. The MDP was completed in May 2008. This has made the company more environmental friendly and more cost effective. Under the Second phase named Mill Expansion Plan, a new Paper Machine with a production capacity of 1,55,000 TPA and a new power boiler is being installed. Along with backward integration of Chemical Bagasse Pulp line was done to increase the pulping capacity. The project is expected to be completed by October 2010. This will enable the Company to reach the capacity of 4,00,000 TPA from November 2010.

Thus, there has been continuous investments and consistent growth. TNPL will take up implementation of four new projects namely – setting up a 300 TPD De-inking Plant, Revamping of steam and power system, setting up a 600 TPD Mini Cement plant under the lime sludge and fly ash management system and a 160 TPD PCC plant through Omya, Switzerland. All the four projects will be taken up for implementation during the current year and completed by December 2011.

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TNPL believes in the saying that there is no finishing line in the race of Excellence.

Challenge the Challenges

TNPL uses bagasse as primary raw material. Bagasse availability in the open market is very negligible. To meet the requirement of large quantity of bagasse, TNPL entered into barter arrangement with sugar mills in neighbouring area for procuring bagasse in exchange of steam. This barter arrangement is in operation right from inception till date as a standing example for ‘Inter-Industry co-operation’. Currently, TNPL requires 1 million tonne of depithed bagasse and TNPL procures bagasse through tie-up arrangements with 7 sugar mills. To supply steam to the sugar mills, TNPL has to put up multi-fuel boilers in the sugar mills involving additional capital investment. Transportation of coal from TNPL factory to the sugar mills and transportation of bagasse from sugar mills involves huge logistics & recurring cost.

Now, the Government is encouraging the sugar mills to go in for co-generation using bagasse as fuel. Higher tariff is allowed for bagasse based co-generation. Consequent to this, the sugar mills are more interested in setting up bagasse based co-generation plants rather than giving bagasse for paper manufacture. This is increasing the bagasse cost as the sugar mills have to be compensated for tariff differential.

Adopting New Technologies

With the continuous ploughing back of profits, TNPL has implemented latest available technologies. Introduction of size press & shoe press in the paper machine in the year 2002 were the “first of its kind” in the industry in India. Many of the most updated versions of the process control systems introduced, is reflected in the high quality of the products manufactured. The ushering-in of ECF bleaching technology, introduction of biomethenation plant to generate methane gas from effluent etc are developments towards environment improvement. TNPL’s biomethenation plant was considered as an “Innovative Project” by CII and it was registered with United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) as a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Project, a first project from the Indian Paper Industry. A Precipitated Calcium Carbonate plant is being proposed on a BOO basis. The 15 tpd fully integrated Chlorine di-oxide Plant installed in TNPL in the year 2005 is another “first of its kind in India”.

Quality – R&D

TNPL R&D has been spearheading the development of several products based on market requirements with bagasse as major raw material. Some of them worth mentioning include Pink Newsprint, Copier, Copy Crown, Ultrawhite Maplitho, Elegant Maplitho, Ace Marvel. The products not only achieved domestic acceptance but also satisfied export market demands. Quality Control department ensures that the products which satisfy the strict in-house rules alone are dispatched to the customers otherwise the product is marked as retree or repulped, as the case may be.

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Product Portfolio

In the initial years, TNPL was producing mostly newsprint and non-surfaced sized printing and writing paper. Over the years, TNPL has switched over to hundred percent printing and writing paper and introduced many high quality surfaced sized and non-surfaced sized papers to suit the requirements of hi-tech printing machines in a wide spectrum of GSMs for various end applications.

On-line process control system in the manufacturing process helps maintain the critical parameters on-line. Currently, TNPL exports about 25% of its production to over 40 countries across the globe mainly due to its product quality and diversed product portfolio. In the new PM 3, to be operational from November 2010, TNPL will be producing pigment printing paper which can be a paper of printers’ choice meant for multi-colour high end applications.

Sustainable Development

Sustainable development has always been in the fore front of TNPL business activity. The commitment to the environment is reflected in its minimum impact best process technology making TNPL one of the most environmentally compliant paper mill in the World. Usage of 1 million tonne of bagasse saves cutting of trees in about 35,000 acres of land every year.

The introduction of ECF bleaching and various other water conservation measures have resulted in substantial reduction in water consumption and effluent discharge. The effluent discharge which confirms to pollution control standard norms in all respects is one of the lowest in the industry at about 42 m3 per ton of paper produced. The entire effluent discharge is used for on-land irrigation which has transformed the once dry land into a lush green area with cultivation of sugarcane, coconut, groundnut, sunflower, etc., Harnessing green energy through setting up wind farm of a capacity of 35.5 MW, setting up the climate change and CDM cell for monitoring of CDM projects installation of bio-methanation plant and using the methane gas generated in the bio-methanation plant

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in replacement of 16,962 KL of furnace oil in lime kiln upto 31.03.2010 are some major gains in the path towards sustainable development. Planting of 50,000 trees on a single day on 31.10.2008 in thesurrounding areas, growing Pulpwood plantation in 51,220 acres in just 5 years, increasing the plantation by 15,000 acres per annum to reach the target of 1 lakh acres by the year 2012-13 are some of the ongoing measures being taken by the Company in achieving a sustainable development.

TNPL has received FSC Chain of Custody (C-o-C) and controlled wood certificate for complying with FSC-STD-40-004 and FSC STD-40-005 standards. TNPL as a first mill in paper industry has introduced ozone treatment in the final treated effluent water as tertiary treatment to bring down the colour.

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Corporate Social Responsibility

TNPL’s CSR activities pertaining to social and inclusive development covers different sectors viz., infrastructure works and basic amenities for the neighbourhood, construction of drainages and retaining walls, improvement schemes for providing drinking water supply, education, career development and training, medical camps and cattle care camps, sports and games for rural youth, agriculture and environment, promotion of art and culture, assistance for differently abled and other community welfare activities.

Since inception, TNPL has been implementing community development measures in the negihbourhood regularly. TNPL has ingrained the philosophy of CSR deeply into its value system. The emphasis has increased in the last three years. During the year 2009-10, the Company spent 2.52 Crore on CSR activities. The CSR budget for the year 2010-11 has been increased to Rs.3.78 Crore equivalent to 3% of the profit earned during 2009-10. TNPL got the CSR Award for the year 2007-08 for the exemplary services rendered in rural development.

Customer Oriented Strategy

In a competitive environment, the manufacturers cannot fix the price on the basis of cost plus margin. The customers have the option to source their requirements from different sources. The customers also expect high quality products from the manufacturers to meet their hi-tech printing machine requirements and their customers’ expectations. Therefore, it is necessary for manufacturers to find means for producing thegoods at low cost through investments in technology, productivity improvement, process improvements, sustained growth, efficient cost management innovation, and optimum utilization of resources. TNPL examines all the above aspects on a regular basis through constant internal discussions and reviews and availing the services of experts whenever necessary to keep the cost at the optimum level. The lessons learnt in the past and best practices adopted in the industry are taken for guidance in every endeavour. TNPL has been successful in keeping its cost at optimum level over the years and remain as one of the lowest cost producers in the country.

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