Indian paper industry is poised to grow and touch 25 million tonnes from 20.37 million tonnes to 2019-20 from 2017-18 at the rate of 10% per annum, according to The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) recent paper.
India has emerged as the fastest growing market when it comes to consumption, posting 10.6% growth in per capita consumption of paper in 2017-18, reveals the ASSOCHAM paper.
India produces many varieties of papers, namely, printing and writing paper, packaging paper, coated paper and some speciality paper. Varieties under printing and writing paper are creame wove paper, super printing paper, maplitho paper (non-surface and surface size), copier paper, bond paper and coating base paper and others. The varieties under packaging paper are kraft paper, boards, poster paper and others. The other varieties under coated paper are art paper/board, chromo paper/board, and others. There are approximately 600 paper mills in India, of which twelve are major players.
Indian paper industry can be more competitive by adding improvements of key ports, roads and railways and communication facilities, revision of forest policy is required for the wood-based paper industry so that plantation can be raised by industry, cooperatives of farmers, and state government. Degraded forest land should be made available to the industry for raising plantations. Import duty on waste paper should be reduced, duty-free imports of new & second-hand machinery/equipment should be allowed for technology up gradation.
The paper industry in India looks extremely positive as the demand for the upstream market of paper products, like, tissue paper, tea bags, filter paper, lightweight online coated paper, medical grade coated paper, etc., is growing up.
The following prime grades of paper are imported from USA, Europe, Dubai and Singapore: label stock, wet strength papers, tea bag tissue, soft tissue, filter paper, insulation kraft, extensible kraft, decorative laminates, overlay tissue, thermal papers, digital papers, coated papers/boards and some specialities.
It exports following grades of papers to Middle East, South Eastern countries, Eastern Europe and USA: A4 copiers, wood-free (mostly from bamboo and agro waste by several small mills), MG varieties (from small agro based mills), coated duplex (mostly recycled fibre) and large quantity of converted products like stationery items, calendars, books, magazines, children’s play books and comics.
Major issues confronting India’s pulp and paper industry are high cost of production caused by inadequate availability and high cost of raw materials, power cost and concentration of mills in one particular area, non-availability of good-quality fibre, uneconomical plant size, technological obsolescence and environmental challenges, highlighted the ASSOCHAM paper.
There are not many mills that have integrated wet-end systems in the overall control strategy. The paper mill, is the formative stage in a paper making process and any forward control strategy results in impressive gains in terms of quality. Likewise, energy, being the significant portion of production cost, is getting less attention in terms of monitoring the overall consumption of power across various sections of the plant.
Integration of electrical systems, including intelligent motor control centres with mill distributed control systems (DCS), will help in monitoring the overall energy consumption. Another area is integration of raw material flow information on real-time basis and utilising the same to effectively control the quality at various stages.
Enterprise solutions, such as enterprise resource planning systems, manufacturing execution systems or collaborative production management systems, and supply chain management systems have not received adequate attention from the paper industry management. Also there exists a lack of coordination between the automation department and IT within the mill. As a result, the pulp and paper industry in India lags behind its Asian and global counterparts.
Collaborative production management systems will improve the mill management and business systems radically. Quality control labs with statistical models can be linked to give advantage to both production and quality control personnel. Dealers and end users can track their orders as the product moves through various stages of production. Businesses will not survive with just traditional automation systems. Only integrated automation and enterprise systems will enable these industries to achieve sustainable competitive advantage.
Essentially, there is a huge potential for automation and system integrators to work collaboratively with India’s pulp and paper companies and help them acquire the competitive edge. This means paper mills in India have tremendous opportunity to improve their profit margin by increasing their investments in automation systems and enterprise solutions, and integrating them to achieve collaborative production management. With the country’s economy growing robustly, the paper consumption in India is bound to expand, and the existing gap is a good indicator of the industry’s growth potential.