The unit will reach full capacity in the second year of production
December 7, 2015
Workers are busy at Tamil Nadu Newsprint and Papers Ltd’ (TNPL) 300-acre factory site at Mondipatti, 35 km from Tiruchi. A 330-metre-long machine to make packaging board sits fully assembled and a 30 MW power plant is all set to power this Goliath.
With a production capacity of 2 lakh tonnes a year, the board-making machine from Voith of Germany is the largest of its kind in India. More than twice the length of a suburban train, it is capable of churning out packaging board at a speed of about 600 metres a minute.
Commissioning work on the Rs. 1,650-crore factory, TNPL’s second unit, has started. By mid-December raw material pulp will be fed into the machine; trial production will start next month; and the ‘saleable product’ will be available in February, say company officials confidently.
The unit will reach full capacity in the second year of production. It will generate 800-1,000 jobs directly and as many indirect jobs, making it a key contributor to the industrially backward region.
This also marks the fastest implementation of a project of this scale in the paper industry in the country — it is being commissioned in less than two years of ground breaking, say company officials. Over 1,500 workers, about 35 expatriates from the German equipment supplier who are now giving finishing touches to the machine, and officials from TNPL’s first unit have worked on the project over the past 22 months.
For the company, this is a significant milestone, as it will take its total output to 6 lakh tonnes a year, including the 4 lakh tonnes of printing and writing paper from its first unit in Karur, about 100 km away. In a full year of operation the new unit will add about ₹1,000 crore to the company’s topline, now at about ₹2,300 crore.
The Mondipatti unit is expected to give TNPL a significant presence in the market for high-end, coated, multi-layered packaging board. Its product range will include folding box board, cup stock and solid bleached sulphate boards.
Driven by a thriving retail market, the demand for packaging board is estimated at about 2.4 million tonnes a year, and is growing at 13-14 per cent, which is three times that of printing and writing paper.