“Apcotex is constantly incorporating the latest manufacturing and processing technologies and introducing new products to meet the evolving customer requirements” – Mr. Manish Goel
In an interview with Paper Mart, Mr. Manish Goel, Vice President-Commercial/Sales, Apcotex Industries Limited sheds light on the product range for the paper industry, the key strengths of the products, details about their manufacturing unit, the market presence, and the future roadmap of the Company going forward.
Paper Mart: Could you please take us through the business journey of Apcotex Industries Limited and an overview of the product range for the paper industry?
Manish Goel: Started as a division of Asian Paints in 1980, Apcotex Industries Limited has pioneered in the manufacturing of vinyl pyridine latex and carboxylated styrene-butadiene latex in India. Constituted as a Public Limited Company listed on the stock exchange as Apcotex Lattices Limited in 1990, its name was later changed to Apcotex Industries Limited in 2005.
The installed capacity of saleable latex at our manufacturing unit in Taloja (Maharashtra) has increased from 40,000 MTPA to 55,000 MTPA (wet) in 2015 and will further increase to around 70,000 MT in 2021. We have also completed the acquisition of Omnova Solutions’ Indian business of nitrile rubber and high styrene rubber to create synergy in 2016, and then, we entered into the XNBR latex business for gloves application. Now, we are planning to expand the XNBR latex capacity in 2021.
We are one of the pioneers in XSB latexes for paper and paperboard coatings in India suitable for all kinds of coatings and pigments. Recently, we have introduced a premium range of SA (styrene-acrylic latex) for better gloss and printability applications. Our vision is to be a global leader in customer delight in terms of product quality, customer service and innovation, plant technology, cost competitiveness and sustainable environmental processes.
“Our products are approved and demanded by all the major coated paper and paperboard manufacturers in India, such as BILT, ITC-PSPD, JK Paper, NR Agarwal Industries, Gayatrishakti Paper and Boards, Khanna Paper Mills etc. to name a few.”
PM: Kindly shed some light on the various benefits and unique features offered by your product range?
MG: Our products are known for properties like excellent dry pick resistance, superior print performance of coated paper, high sheet gloss and print gloss and excellent rheology at high shear rate. Also, the benefits of the products include achieving good runnability at high machine speeds, versatile and suitable for all kinds of coating systems blade, bar and air knife coaters. This provides high wet and dry binding strength. Moreover, we have certain specialty products that are produced in compliance with FDA 176.170 and 176.180 as well as in compliance to the Chinese (GB) and BfR standards.
PM: Could you please outline the manufacturing capabilities of Apcotex Industries and share details about the infrastructure of your production unit?
MG: Our manufacturing plants are strategically located in Taloja, Maharashtra (50 km from Mumbai and 35 km from JNPT Port) and Valia, Gujarat, close to Dahej and Kandla ports. The manufacturing facilities incorporate the state-of-the-art emulsion polymerization technology as well as an adequate monomer and finished goods storage facilities with efficient utility support. Additionally, the sophisticated DCS control systems ensure fine control over operating parameters.
PM: What is the current market presence of the company – both domestically and internationally? Are there any plans of furthering your domestic and global market presence in the near future?
MG: Our products are approved and demanded by all the major coated paper and paperboard manufacturers in India, such as BILT, ITC-PSPD, JK Paper, NR Agarwal Industries, Gayatrishakti Paper and Boards, Khanna Paper Mills etc. to name a few.
We have a major global presence and currently exporting to 36 countries, and are a government recognized export house. Slowly and steadily, we are also expanding our reach to the SEA and ME countries. Our products are already demanded in countries like Iran, Egypt, Indonesia, etc.
PM: What do you think are the kind of growth prospects of the paper industry?
MG: The Indian paper industry is poised for a growth of 8-10 percent — particularly due to the upsurge in the packaging paper as well as packaging boards with the ongoing rise of the e-commerce. However, the government has to support the proposition of the ‘Make in India’ initiative as well; as cheap imports, due to negligible or zero duty under certain FTAs, are making a particular dent in the overall business.
While the raw materials for latex attract certain import duties whereas the finished product is being imported from other ASEAN nations with zero duty, this, in turn, creates an inverted duty structure. Also, the paper manufacturers are pitching for anti-dumping duty for their finished products. We are certainly hopeful that the Indian paper industry has a long way to go.
PM: As some of the major concerns with respect to the characteristics are superior binding strength and improved inkjet print quality, how do you ensure that the product meets these key parameters?
MG: Apcotex is constantly incorporating the latest manufacturing and processing technologies and introducing new products to meet the evolving customer requirements. A range of sophisticated laboratory analytical instruments, well-equipped pilot plant facilities and close interaction with renowned institutions helps the company in adding value for its customers.
We have a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility for emulsion polymers and in-house pilot reactors for the developments and to scale-up operations. Our research and development laboratory is recognized by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Government of India. The R&D facility and manufacturing unit is situated at the same site, and is led by highly qualified personnel to create synergies between product development and manufacturing. Also, we can simulate certain print tests in our application lab such as – dry pick (medium and high viscosity oil, process color inks, high tack inks), print gloss, wet pick and wet repellence, mottle (back trap mottle) mottle (water interference mottle), ink set off, stain length, helio test, and roughness test etc.
“We have a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility for emulsion polymers and in-house pilot reactors for the developments and to scale-up operations.”
We also have tie-up with prestigious print houses where we can undertake pilot test runs along with our esteemed customers to have feedback on the product performance to further innovate as per the customers’ or end users’ requirements. Apart from that, we also engage experienced international experts for the continual improvements both in terms of – the application as well as our manufacturing capabilities.
PM: Has there been any recent development at Apcotex Industries that you wish to talk about? What is the future roadmap of the company going forward?
MG: We plan to increase our latex capacity to 70,000 MTPA at Taloja plant. As mentioned earlier, we have completed the acquisition of Omnova Solutions’ Indian business of nitrile rubber and high styrene rubber to create a synergy and entered into XNBR latex business for gloves application. Now, we plan to expand XNBR latex capacity. We wish to be the first-rate company in all the segments that we operate in as we relentlessly strive towards excellence.