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“We plan to produce high end surface sized printing and photocopying paper” : Dr. Ajay Satia

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Read an Exclusive Interview of Dr. Ajay Satia, Chairman & Managing Director of Satia Industries, highlighting the expansion plan and other development in biodegradable deliverable packaging along with table cutlery.

“We plan to produce high-end surface sized printing and photocopying paper”: Dr. Ajay Satia

Satia Industries Limited is one of biggest Wood and Agro-based paper plants in India manufacture Paper using wood chips, veneer waste, wheat straw, sarkanda etc. The company has manifested itself as quality producer of writing/printing paper. The Company commenced commercial operations in August, 1984 the name was subsequently changed to Satia Industries Ltd. Over the years number of modernization-cum-expansion schemes were undertaken. Recently The Pulp and Paper Times got the opportunity to Interact with Dr. Ajay Satia, Chairman & Managing Director of Satia Industries over various issues. Here are the excerpts of his Interview:

Q. Satia started its paper production 1984, how do you evaluate your journey in paper industry? Are you satisfied with Satia’s contribution in economic growth as well as in literacy enhancement?

Satia started its journey in the most tumultuous circumstances in Punjab when terrorism was at its peak in Punjab; despite having taken the brunt still, we managed to sustain and grow from a size of 15 tpd to nearly 400 tpd coupled with stupendous growth in our industrially backward area leading to direct employment of over 1000 and indirect employment of over 10000 persons and brought about significant positive social, economic and lifestyle changes in the rural economy of the area. We have been a major supplier to textbook boards pan India for almost last twenty years and contributing to govt of India literacy mission and economy.

Q. Currently, Satia Industries is working upon on doubling of paper manufacturing capacity, please share the expansion plan in detail? GSM range & Machine deckle etc.

Looking forward to the gap created due to growing demand of paper and minimal investment coming in writing and printing paper; we have decided to go in for this expansion with a total project cost of under 500 crore by way of utilising existing infrastructure in pulping, soda recovery and power generation. We shall be installing a new paper machine supplied by allimand; augment our wood pulping to 300 tpd and agro pulping to 250 tpd. to meet any contingency and to avail benefit of low raw material price, we propose to install 150 tpd andritz deinking pulp line too.

Since this is one of the latest state of art 3.25 meter deckle paper machines with top former, shoe press, sim sizer, and top calendaring system - making paper from the wood pulp, we hope to place our product at par with a grade mill.

Q. What is the total outlay investment for this new expansion? And how the resource for this project will be deployed?

The company has already done the financial closure for the project and is availing foreign currency loan for the paper machine and rest of the funding is being done by Indian banks.

Q. What new manufacturing standards Satia Industries will set in it expansion?

With adoption of latest energy-efficient technology in papermaking, we plan to produce high-end surface sized printing and photocopying paper with optimum utilisation of all resources.

Q.Rising Paper imports to India has become a ‘bone of contention’ for paper manufacturers; how do you justify your huge capacity expansion in the shadow of imports?

With globalization, we can not isolate ourselves under any govt protective umbrella for long. We have to excel in our efforts to conserve energy and other resources, control costs and give international quality paper to survive and succeed in times to come. We cannot leave potential demand growth to be fulfilled by way of imports while our prime minister calls for 'make in India'.

Q. Packaging Paper is one of the highest demanded papers in all segments, instead of Writing & Printing, why not packaging paper is on you priority list for manufacturing?

No doubt that growth of demand in packaging paper is on the higher side and so is the competition and all major new expansions are coming in that segment except for tissue. We feel we have synergy and our strength in writing and printing segment; hence took this call.

Q. In recent past some paper mills have come into bagasse-based tableware products to serve the food segment. Is Satia Industries also planning to come into Food and Cutlery Segment please share the plan in detail and what market opportunity do you see in disposable industry?

We have plans to enter biodegradable deliverable packaging along with table cutlery with an initial investment of 10 tpd. We have shortlisted two suppliers and shall finalise the order once corona issue ends.

                     

Q. Paper industry was expecting a doubling of import duty on coated paper in budget but it was not implemented. How do you analyse the paper import scenario? Is it really damaging Indian Paper Industry? 

Most damaging is the dumping of newsprint in India and newsprint manufacturers are shifting to writing and printing paper which is dampening the prices on the lower side. Imports from Asean and FTA countries are growing alarmingly as European markets are shrinking and India is becoming new dumping ground for one and all; and industry has to work on two sides - within our house we have to ensure optimum utilisation of resources to reduce cost and improve quality and simultaneously represent strongly to the govt for timely action.

Q. Resources optimizations are the important key techniques by which a paper mill can improve its profitability and fulfills its duty to conserve the environment, where is Satia up to now?

Satia has been making efforts to optimise resource utilisation keeping in view both economic and environment aspects. The focus has been on increasing yield, reducing and recycling wastes, reducing water consumption and energy conservation. we have reduced our energy consumption per ton of paper produced in both pat cycles much above the target given by bee, ministry of power, govt of India.

Q. Do you think the ‘Social Forestry’ by the paper mills is in line with Prime Minister Modi’s vision to double the farmer income by 2022? Is Satia planning any new experiment in social forestry programme? Or any new wood species?

Satia has been encouraging farmers to plant eucalyptus and poplar and teaching them the same with our own example where we have developed forestry of over 500 acres and seeing the returns more and more farmers are joining hands with us.

Q. Commercial Power cost plays an important cost factor in deciding the finish paper cost. What are your plans to meet the upcoming power requirement? What is the feasibility in Punjab to source regular power from other states?

We are fully self-dependent for all our power requirement which is produced using biomass as fuel with lesser co2 emissions and get rec income on a regular basis for the same. for our expansion, we are adding a new biomass-based 14 MW cogen power plant.

Q. As the paper industry is increasing its size, working on process integration for optimized utilization of resources, now Industry envisages next target i.e. Industry 4.0 for more production with better productivity. How does Satia Industries assess Industry 4.0 Concept?

When computers were introduced in industry 3.0, it was disruptive; now thanks to industry 4.0 computers are connected and communicate with one another to ultimately make decisions without human involvement. a combination of cyber-physical systems, the internet of things, and the internet of systems make industry 4.0 possible and the smart factory a potential reality. However, industry is struggling to find the right talent and knowledge to know how to adopt it for best use.

In Satia, we are using it for machine running parameter analysis, wireless networking, optimization of data, data storage and application-based data sharing.

Q. If we take the example of global paper mills, what and where our Indian paper mills lacking in terms of reducing cost of production to compete with globally?

Globally we produce just 4-5% of total production of paper and paper board and we are lacking in economies of scale, technology adaptation financial cost and above all, most big global players have their own massive forest-based raw material resources. Our growth coming with consumption strength; we must adopt new technologies for optimum utilisation of resources and quality products to ensure that ' small is also beautiful' and competitive too.

Q. Any working to enhance the in-house consumption of paper through installing the paper converting section?

No, we don’t have any such plans.

Q. Share your CSR activities for our readers?

Satia has been fulfilling its obligation to the society thru close interaction with the rural folk and helping the village community in improving their health, hygiene, education, skill development and enhancing human values thru its association with DAV institutions in the area and other NGO's working in the field

 

                     

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