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Sri Andal Paper Mills: Going for Major Expansion

Sri Andal Paper Mills has ordered key technologies from Valmet for its new 200,000 TPA containerboard-making line in Tamil Nadu. The start-up of the machine is scheduled for the first half of 2021.
Sri Andal Paper Mills
Mr. P. Subramaniam, Managing Director, Sri Andal Paper Mills Private Limited

In an exclusive interview given to Paper Mart, Mr. P. Subramaniam, Managing Director, Sri Andal Paper Mills Private Limited, talks about his company, product range and future goals.

Excerpts:

Paper Mart: Could you tell us a little bit about your company, especially its infrastructure and product range?

P. Subramaniam: Sri Andal Paper Mills (P) Ltd. (SAPML) was started in the year 2000 with a 20 TPD production capacity in Kraft paper manufacturing business. It is now a 20-year-old professionally managed and well-maintained industrial unit located in Erode District, Tamil Nadu.

SAPML manufactures plain Kraft paper and special high burst-factor packaging paper out of local waste paper, old corrugated containers purchased from local and overseas markets and purchased unbleached wood pulp.

The company presently manufactures plain Kraft paper on the following paper machines (basis weight range – 100 to 240 grams per sq. m., and burst factor range – 12 to 28):

  • Machine 1 – Capacity of 50 TPD with a reel trim of 2200 mm
  • Machine 2 – Capacity of 80 TPD with a reel trim of 2850 mm
  • Machine 3 – Capacity of 185 TPD with a reel trim of 3100 mm

SAPML is a professionally managed company with all the modern technical plant and machinery and control systems in place – from the raw material processing stage to the treatment of waste water from the plant.

“The lack of availability of trained and motivated manpower for not only the operation of plant and machinery but to take care of the highly automated sections is another big challenge.”

The company practices stringent quality control norms, and each stage of manufacture compulsorily passes through tight quality/quantity control tests. The entire manufacturing process is monitored by a qualified and well-trained team of core members.

PM: You have recently ordered key technologies for a 200,000 TPA containerboard machine from Valmet. What are the special features of this machine? Could you tell us about the technical aspects of this delivery from Valmet?

PS: Valmet’s delivery will include three OptiFlo Fourdrinier head boxes for excellent cross machine profiles and good formation, an OPTIPRESS linear press section to achieve high dewatering capacity, good runability and excellent end product properties, and an OPTISIZER Film size press with an automated starch supply system. This delivery will also include a start-up package of spare parts and consumables, a Valmet DNA machine control system, VALMET DNS Distributed Control System for Process control, Valmet IQ quality measurement system and Valmet Performance Centre connectivity for real time trouble shooting from remote location.

The 4,800-mm-wide (untrimmed sheet width on reel) will produce recycled liner, recycled fluting, and corrugated Kraft (Kraft top recycled liner) grades with the basis weight range of 70-300 g /m2. The design speed of the machine will be 750 m/min and annual capacity 200,000 tonnes.

PM: What made you choose Valmet as your supplier for containerboard machine technologies? What is the value and scope of this order/project?

PS: Sri Andal was looking for a holistic combination of critical components for the manufacture of high-quality uncoated packaging grades meeting the quality requirement of indigenous and overseas market. In this quest, Sri Andal availed the help of Valmet Technologies in the selection of critical components of not only the paper machine but also for fibre preparation 7 approach flow sections. Valmet offered its valuable suggestions for achieving Sri Andal’s objectives. Valmet has a strong reputation, and we believe that Valmet’s technology will help us in achieving our high-quality targets. It was vitally important for Sri Andal to maintain a good management-level relationship with Valmet Technologies.

PM: What are your target markets?

PS: The rise in demand for Kraft paper in various end-use industries, such as food and beverages, building and construction, cosmetics and personal care, automotive, and consumer durables, is the key factor that is projected to drive the growth of the Kraft paper market across the globe.

Continuous growth in the demand from the retail sector is expected to bolster paper-bag sales. This growth in demand is due to the strong consumer preference for biodegradable packaging and gradually emerging mindset of environment-protection agencies. This is bound to create high sales opportunities. There will be a lot of emphasis on eco-friendly products to promote the market growth of bio-degradable and recyclable packaging material.

PM: The market in India is rather price-sensitive. How do you strike a balance between price and quality?

PS: The packaging market is definitely price-sensitive. An entrepreneur in this line has to strike a balance between technology and operating cost. That is one reason why we chose Valmet Technologies to deliver all the critical components of the machine; our fibre processing line is from KADANT LAMORT of France and Approach Flow System is from KADANT NOSS of Sweden. The non-critical components too are procured from reputed manufacturers in China, GAW Paper Coating Technology of USA and RUNTECH Systems of Finland. All these systems are being integrated for us by a well-known engineering consultant M/s Mech Tech Projects, Chennai.

The manufacturing process, being highly automated, will enable us to manufacture the required quality products on a sustained basis. We have selected pieces of equipment that are highly power-efficient. Once the plant operation is optimised, we will stabilize our operating cost to deliver the required quality products on a sustained basis.

“Our fibre processing line is from KADANT LAMORT and Approach Flow System is from KADANT NOSS. The non-critical components are procured from reputed manufacturers in China, while other critical components are sourced from GAW Paper Coating Technology of USA and RUNTECH Systems of Finland.”

PM: What challenges does the container-board segment in India face today?

PS: The major challenge in the container-board segment is sustained availability of raw material at a stable price. Another big challenge that is faced by the pulp and paper industry is environment protection. The industry is highly water-intensive, and any new venture will have to ensure a bare minimum of water consumption and NIL effluent generation, which calls for a very high capital investment. Handling and disposal of solid plastic waste and other materials in the fibre preparation plant pose a big challenge, as end use is extremely limited. The lack of availability of trained and motivated manpower for not only the operation of plant and machinery but to take care of the highly automated sections is another big challenge.

“The rise in demand for Kraft paper in various end-use industries is the key factor that is projected to drive the growth of the Kraft paper market across the globe.”

PM: What are your views on having integrated containerboard manufacturing and corrugated packaging companies in India?

PS: We are very positive on integrated containerboard manufacturing and corrugated packaging because recycling can be done at a higher rate and real time. Integrated units can lead to sustained high strength of products and reduction in transportation cost because of backward integration.

PM: What are your goals for the future?

PS: We will concentrate on the Kraft paper manufacturing process only. In the long term, Sri Andal will make special efforts to meet the demand of the market for quality and quantity of products through continuous upgradation of manufacturing technology in partnership with reputed manufacturers, as quality and technology are inseparable partners.