“We want to grow in the Indian paper industry. The Indian paper manufacturers are increasing their investments in new machinery, technologies… The favourable market prospects of the industry make India a top consideration to be a global manufacturing hub”, says Mr. Shuhei Endo, Area Sales Manager, Asia Oceania Sales Division, Maintech Co. Ltd.
Maintech Co. Ltd. is known for its technologies to avoid deposits on dryer fabrics, rolls, and dryer cylinders of paper machines. With an aim to support ‘eco-friendly papermaking’, the company provides its technologies to paper machines across the world. Its considerable experience and expertise enable it to provide the best combination of chemicals, equipment, and application to each customer. The technology is imported by Marubeni India Pvt. Ltd., a 100 percent, wholly-owned subsidiary of Marubeni Corporation. In an interview with Paper Mart, Mr. Shuhei Endo, Area Sales Manager, Asia Oceania Sales Division, Maintech Co. Ltd. talks about the product portfolio and growth prospects of the company in the Indian market.
Paper Mart: To begin with, could you please shed some light on Maintech Co. Ltd. and the key accomplishments of the company so far?
Shuhei Endo: Headquartered in Japan, Maintech was established in the year 1967. Our major technology for the Indian market is solutions for deposit prevention for paper machines in the dryer section. We have been providing this technology for more than thirty years. After creating this technology in Japan, we started distributing it to the Chinese market. Soon after, we introduced this technology in the Indian market as well.
PM: Kindly describe the product portfolio of the company – the technologies you provide for the paper industry.
SE: Our major customers are recycled paper-based mills. The recycled fibers contain a lot of deposits such as – adhesives, inks, coatings, fillers, etc. While producing recycled papers, these kinds of deposits accumulate on the machine and cause a lot of issues like sheet breaks, uneven moisture, and require frequent cleanings in addition to downtime in the production line. Cleaning the machine manually can be risky and dangerous. Besides, it requires aggressive chemicals that can harm the environment by causing pollution.
Our technology can remove these contaminants, and keep the dryer section clean so that there are no sheet breaks, and thus, no more cleaning work for the operators. Thus, the customers can get 100 percent performance out of the machines and improve the overall quality of the paper. Moreover, maximising productivity and production capabilities is an important factor in this expanding Indian market. The solutions enable the paper mill to maximise the productivity of the machine and save costs. In this way, we help the paper manufacturers to address the challenges of the paper machines and remove the production bottlenecks.
PM: Tell us about the key strengths of the company.
SE: Essentially, we have two major strengths. First and foremost, our strength is precipitation technology. Our technology is an integration of the chemicals and the applying equipment and also the overall experience it brings to the paper machine. Due to our expertise in developing sophisticated technology in this sector, we are capable of solving a number of challenges faced by paper manufacturers. While we have competitors in various markets including China, the performance of the application of our technology and equipment is much more effective.
The second major strength of the company would be our after-sales services. In many instances, the supplier of machinery or technologies is only concerned with selling their products. Thus, after-sales services which include maintenance, repairing, etc., incur a lot of costs to the customers. However, Maintech is cognizant of the fact that one of the most important considerations of the paper mills should be safe operations because their machine works 24X7. We provide after-sales support, so as to keep the application and operations in a consistent manner.
PM: How do you view the growth prospects of the company in the Indian market?
SE: We want to grow in the Indian paper industry. The Indian paper manufacturers are increasing their investments in new machinery, technologies, and so on. The favourable market prospects of the Indian paper industry make India a top consideration to be a global manufacturing hub for paper production. Moreover, the manufacturing industry in China, including the papermaking industry, has been deeply impacted and disturbed due to a number of factors and India has advantages in terms of being strategically located.
At this point, the paper industry is projected to have more capacity expansions and further development. With the expected expansion of the paper industry, more recycled fiber would be required. Also, the production operations should be further optimised. We believe that we can help paper manufacturers in manufacturing optimisation and capacity expansion.
PM: What are the new developments at Maintech?
SE: We are focusing on the dryer screen section of the packaging machinery and concentrating on expanding in the packaging sector of India. Meanwhile, in Japan, we have been developing new technology for paper machinery – an online monitoring system to check the condition of the machines. In the future, we would certainly like to bring this technology to the Indian market.
PM: Kindly describe the importance of Industry 4.0, automation, and technological advancements in the Indian paper industry.
SE: Automation is really important in the paper industry. On visiting a number of countries, I have witnessed that paper mills are usually operated by a few people. However, in India, there are a large number of employees working at paper mills. In the future, with the rise in automation in the manufacturing systems, it would not be required to employ so many people. Also, I would like to mention that presently, the capacity and scale of paper machines are still relatively smaller in India. In order to keep pace with the capacity expansions, production lines with large capacities will further increase.
PM: What are the future plans of the company in the country?
SE: We wish to grow in the Indian market first and get experience in the paper industry. Also, we wish to demonstrate our products and solutions. Perhaps, what we can do is different in this country from what we have been doing in other countries. We would like to work to increase our recognition first and thereby contribute to the development of this industry.
As a matter of fact, all the paper mills, in a number of Southeast Asian nations like Japan, China, Thailand, Philippines, etc., are using the technology supplied by Maintech. However, in India, the paper mills do not seem that receptive to understanding the importance of this technology.
Many paper mills in the country still like to depend upon manual labour to do tasks like cleaning the machine and so on. On the contrary, in the southeast nations, everything is automated. Of course, that makes the production process more efficient. Another aspect is that India is a growing market with an increasing export share in the industry. Whether you are engaged in paper or the finished products, when you are going for exports, the quality is an important consideration. And the technology supplied by Maintech ensures a better quality of the paper.
I would also like to add that, the Indian paper industry, especially the kraft paper segment is largely unorganised. The kraft paper mills still prefer traditional papermaking processes and do not automatise their production lines. They are going for capacity expansions of their machines, but neglecting aspects like using better chemicals, and increasing the runnability of the machines. The mills are not making investments in these aspects as they measure everything on a cost basis. However, the mills can get a better ROI by using these chemicals. Slowly and steadily, the paper industry needs to transform its mindset and approach towards increasing automation. It is a need of the hour for the paper mills.