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HEADLINE Special Feature

Zenith Rubber: Bringing in Indigenously Manufactured PU Covering Rollers for Indian Paper Industry

“Zenith Rubber Pvt. Ltd. has been supplying indigenously manufactured rubber rollers to the industry for more than 40 years. In fact, we are also exporting rolls to many countries.”

Zenith Rubber Mr. PS Paintal, Mr. HS Paintal
Mr. PS Paintal, Managing Director and Mr. HS Paintal, Chairman, Zenith Rubber Private Limited

Excerpts of the interview with Mr. HS Paintal, Chairman, Zenith Rubber Private Limited:

Paper Mart: “Atmanirbhar Bharat is not about being self-contained or closed to the world; it is about being self-sustaining, self-generating,” PM said with the message that India is walking the path of self-reliance. How do you relate the relevance of this viewpoint for your industry in relevance to the Indian pulp and paper industry?

HS Paintal: For the Indian pulp and paper industry, the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative is getting more and more relevant. The industry has been sourcing many consumables from China and Europe for the past few years. But due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the policy was introduced as a natural outcome of the global economic crisis, premised on the proposition of strengthening the economy. The paper industry has been forced to look for local alternatives to make their purchases for their day-to-day needs.

Zenith Rubber Pvt. Ltd. has been supplying indigenously manufactured rubber rollers to the industry for more than 40 years. In fact, we are also exporting rolls to many countries. We do not import any material for our rubber rolls and all the rolls are manufactured from the domestic raw materials which are readily available. However, for the PU rolls all the raw- material is imported. It’s a completely new and special technology and hence local manufacturers are currently not available.

“In our company, we have also adopted the same in a few machines wherein we have eliminated the need for operators and handed over the process to a computer system.”

PM: What do you think are the different strategies and the kind of investment which is required to develop a globally competitive domestic supply chain for the Indian paper industry?

HSP: The main competition for the Indian suppliers to the paper industry is China. As we all know, the cost of Chinese products may be the same but the Chinese government is extending various subsidies to the industry, for their survival and further development. The government’s intention to rule the global market has been made possible due to their policies which are very industry-friendly.

In the same vein, India also needs to support the industry and the entrepreneurs who are facing tough competition with the Chinese products by implementing extra duty on them that are being exported to India with the intention of harming the local industry. Another aspect is the availability of capital for the investment at a lower cost which is a challenge in India. The country needs to make policies which are favorable to the industrialists and they will be able to get lower cost capital and more tax benefits in the early years.

PM: Please outline the recent product developments at your end and the upgradations you have introduced in the recent past at your production unit.

HSP: Zenith is at the forefront of developing technologies that are friendly for the customers, not only in usage but also on the pocket. We have been in the market for more than 40 years and during the time, we have been developing rubber compounds which are in line with the demands of the domestic paper industry. The paper industry has been increasing production by various means. The roller industry has contributed to this by providing rolls which are capable of taking higher loads for better moisture removal at early stages.

Accordingly, we have developed rubber to take higher loads on the same presses. A better pattern of blind drilling has also been introduced for better performances. A leap in the technology is the introduction of Polyurethane (PU) technology for rolls. These rolls are not only capable of taking higher loads, up to 400 kN/m but also have a longer regrind life. We have already supplied more than 100 rolls to various clients all over the country.

Zenith Rubber

PM: Smart manufacturing together with Industry 4.0 is emerging as the next step towards calibrating manufacturing for the future. What are your strategies and outlook on this technology-driven approach to monitoring and improve manufacturing performance in the paper industry?

HSP: The modern industry has shifted from CNC (Computer Numerical Controlled-Computer based Machining) to AI (Artificial Intelligence)-based Machinery, and IoT (Internet of Things). The question being – why does the industry need this? The main reason for this development is removing the need for human interference from the processing in any industry. Though controls had been given to computers, but there was a need for entry by the operator. Thus, with the development of technology, AI was introduced in the middle for controlling systems and processes, be it – single or repetitive. In our company, we have also adopted the same in a few machines wherein we have eliminated the need for operators and we have handed over the process to a computer system. In addition, we are quite modern in our approach and we’ve been adapting to the latest technologies for the benefit and growth of our company.

“We have already introduced PU rolls which are manufactured at our state-of-the-art Neemrana plant, though the complex raw materials are all bought from various foreign suppliers.”

PM: Modernization of the entire industry will require a huge investment to bring improvement in core competencies such as including a quantifiable increase in productivity, and quality improvement. What kind of trends do you foresee with respect to capacity expansions, quality enhancement, productivity improvements in the sector?

HSP: The modernization of the pulp and paper industry is imperative to sustain the growth and be competent in the global marketplace. The industry is trying hard to lower the cost of production while developing better quality at par with the international standards. Moreover, the industry is adapting to the best available technology in the industry and is also deploying new staff or training existing staff to use it. We, at Zenith Rubber Pvt. Ltd., are keeping an open mind at developing technology in line with the requirements of the industry and we are keen to give the best of the products to our esteemed customers. Recently, we have already introduced PU rolls which are manufactured at our state-of-the-art Neemrana plant, though the complex raw materials are all bought from various foreign suppliers. We are also on the verge of introducing another latest product which is being developed with the help of foreign consultants for the printing industry.