Century Ply Started Its Ambitious Wood Panel Manufacturing Plant In Andhra Pradesh

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Century Plyboards (India) Ltd. announced the grand inauguration of the company’s largest integrated wood panel manufacturing plant at Badvel, YSR Kadapa district in Andhra Pradesh. The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Shri Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy; Chairman of CenturyPly, Shri Sajjan Bhajanka along with other notable dignitaries graced the occasion with their presence. The company had allocated an investment of Rs. 1000 crores for the laminate, MDF and PVC unit in Andhra Pradesh. The first phase of production comprises 2 large size presses of laminates, which is operational currently. MDF unit and PVC Unit are in the advanced stage of commissioning. Talking to the Ply Reporter, Mr Keshav Bhajanka, Executive Director, CenturyPly said, “The new unit will add to double our footprint in MDF.”

Q. Our congratulations on the opening of India's largest Wood Panel Industry in Andhra Pradesh. Can you provide a brief on the total investment and further plans for this project?
"Thank you, Pragat Ji, for your warm wishes. This venture represents a momentous achievement in our brand's evolutionary journey. A substantial investment of nearly INR 1000 Cr. has been dedicated to establishing the laminate, MDF, and PVC unit in Andhra Pradesh. The first phase, featuring 2 large-size presses of laminates, is currently operational, while the MDF unit and PVC unit are in the advanced stages of commissioning. The second phase of this plant involves an additional investment of INR 1000 Cr., emphasizing our dedication to expansion.

This plant is a testament to our commitment to boost the broader economy. It marks a significant milestone, contributing to local economies, creating jobs, and supporting sustainable growth in the wood panel industry. It aligns with our vision for a prosperous industrial sector in the country.

Q. What is the size of the plant area, and what other infrastructure is available?
The entire plant spans across an area of 100 acres, equipped with comprehensive infrastructure to support its operations. A significant water reservoir, boasting a capacity of 67,000 kl, sourced from Brahma Sagar Dam, ensures abundant water availability. Situated strategically near Bangalore and Chennai ports, the plant enjoys logistical advantages for streamlined material transportation. As the first industrial plant in the Gopavaram Industrial Area, Kadapa district, it pioneers industrial development in the region. The plant's power infrastructure is robust, with a 132 kV dedicated power supply derived from BADVEL substations. This design minimizes power interruptions and ensures quality supply. All these strategic elements cement our objective of achieving operational efficiency, and preparedness to meet the demands of the industrial landscape.

Q. How much is the production capacity at this facility?
At our state-of-the-art facility, we will produce a diverse range of wood panel products. The MDF production capacity stands at 950 CBM. Pre-Lamination Boards which form a significant part of our production portfolio, stands at a daily capacity of about 4000 Boards. In the Wood Composite PVC category, we are targeting for a daily production capacity of 40 tons per day.

"This encompasses the establishment of another 950 CBM MDF unit, additional presses for laminates, along with the integration of a state-of-the-art plywood manufacturing unit. This strategic initiative underlines our dedication to innovation, product diversification, and staying at the forefront of the industry. We are keeping ourselves ready for the ever- growing demands of new India."

Q. Century Laminates has recently initiated the production of large-size laminates. What kind of products do you produce in HPL? How much is the export share from this plant?
This expansion enables Century Laminates to offer a diverse range of products to meet various customer requirements. We will now offer a range of sizes and thicknesses, including 10x4ft, 12x6ft and 14x6ft sized sheets and boards measuring 10x4.25ft, 12x6ft and 14x6ft, with thickness options of 12mm, 16mm, 18mm, and 22mm.

Determining the exact export share from this plant is challenging at this moment. However, it is anticipated that exports will constitute a significant portion of the overall production.

Q. What are the specialities of the new MDF plant coming here? Any unique features compared to existing other plants in India?
The entire MDF production line is of Siempelkamp Make which is regarded as the industry-leader in Conti Press lines. There are many standout features in the entire production line, for example a state-of-the-art Mat scanner which plays a pivotal role in identifying poor-quality boards before production, ensuring a higher quality standard of finished products and reinforcing our commitment to delivering superior quality.

The inclusion of an adjustable magnet in the mat former is a strategic choice aimed at reducing machinery downtime during transitions between different thickness requirements. Furthermore, the plant features an advanced press fume system, ensuring minimal emissions within the facility and aligning with environmental standards.

Safety takes centre stage throughout our production line. Every facet, from the Mat former to intermediate storage, is equipped with high-end safety features. This emphasis on safety not only prioritizes the well-being of our personnel but also safeguards the integrity of our equipment, contributing to a secure and reliable manufacturing environment.

Notably, the facility is designed with provisions for extending the press, demonstrating flexibility and scalability for potential future increases in production capacity.

This MDF plant operates within a single campus housing three major units: the MDF Unit, HPL Unit, and PVC/ WPVC Unit. This integrated setup facilitates seamless coordination and operations across these units, enhancing overall efficiency and collaboration within the facility.


_ AP CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, Chairman Century Ply Mr Sajjan Bhajjanka along with other dignitaries during Inauguration of Plant

Q. What is the scenario of timber availability for this plant? What are the plans for making it geographically sustainable?
The timber scenario for our plant is currently favourable, with an abundance of wood available within a 100 to 150 KM radius of our location. Our plant's strategic location in the middle of the eastern, western, and northern regions of Andhra Pradesh facilitates easy transportation of wood, optimizing logistical efficiency. This geographical advantage not only streamlines our supply chain but also contributes to our overall operational resilience.

In line with our sustainability goals, we have already initiated a comprehensive plan for Eucalyptus plantations spanning approximately 80,000 acres. This strategic move aligns with our commitment to environmental stewardship and supports local farmers by encouraging cultivation of Eucalyptus wood. By adopting these sustainable practices, we strive not only to fulfill our operational requirements but also to make a positive and lasting impact on the environment and the communities where we operate.

Q. You have entered into PVC boards and Door Frames manufacturing from here, what is your view about these products’ acceptance now?
The reception for our WPC/PVC Boards has been exceptionally positive, largely due to their inherent "Everything Proof" quality, be it Water Proof, Borer Proof and Termite Proof. These boards are gaining widespread acceptance for their resilience and durability across various applications.

"You have entered into PVC boards and Door Frames manufacturing from here, what is your view about these products’ acceptance now? The reception for our WPC/PVC Boards has been exceptionally positive, largely due to their inherent "Everything Proof" quality, be it Water Proof, Borer Proof and Termite Proof. These boards are gaining widespread acceptance for their resilience and durability across various applications."

Similarly, our WPC door frame has garnered a very favourable response. Customers appreciate the fact that it addresses common issues associated with wooden frames while maintaining the aesthetic appeal of wood. This product eliminates concerns such as cracks, knots, shrinking, and swelling, offering a robust and long-lasting alternative that mimics the appearance of wood without its inherent vulnerabilities.

This positive feedback highlights our success in delivering innovative and reliable solutions in the wood panel and decorative industry. We will continue to focus on providing products that not only meet but exceed the expectations of our customers.

Q. When do you expect to reach to two third capacity utilization of this plant? How much annual sales revenue do you think will be added during next two FY from this set up?
We are optimistic about our new plant's capacity utilization trajectory. We are currently targeting our first MDF board by the end of Q4 and the subsequent optimization and scale-up phase is projected to span over the next 5-6 months. We anticipate reaching two-thirds capacity by second half of FY 24-25.

In terms of annual sales revenue, while specific figures are contingent on various market factors and operational dynamics, we are dedicated to upholding our robust Asset Turnover ratio, currently among the industry's best at close to 1.45x. Sustaining this ratio instills confidence in our ability to generate significant turnover from our investment in Andhra Pradesh.

Q. Century Ply has announced an investment of Rs. 2000 cr here, and the first phase of Rs 1000 crhas been already invested, when is the second phase of investment planned in terms of capacity expansion, new products lines etc?
As we progress, our commitment to enhancing manufacturing capabilities and meeting the evolving needs of our customers remains steadfast. In the second phase of our investment plan, our focus is on comprehensive capacity expansion. This encompasses the establishment of another 950 CBM MDF unit, additional presses for laminates, along with the integration of a state-of-the-art plywood manufacturing unit. This strategic initiative underlines our dedication to innovation, product diversification, and staying at the forefront of the industry. We are keeping ourselves ready for the ever-growing demands of new India.

"This expansion enables Century Laminates to offer a diverse range of products to meet various customer requirements. We will now offer a range of sizes and thicknesses, including 10x4ft, 12x6ft and 14x6ft sized sheets and boards measuring 10x4.25ft, 12x6ft and 14x6ft, with thickness options of 12mm, 16mm, 18mm, and 22mm."

Q. How do you see the new-year 2024 performing for wood panel sector and organised industries?
The wood panel sector is poised for exceptionally strong and robust growth. This positive trajectory is driven by factors such as increased real estate activity and government support for domestic manufacturing. While challenges like fluctuating raw material costs and inflationary pressures exist, the overall outlook remains highly optimistic.

Customers, who give priority to organized players, are attracted to the assurance of superior product quality and service offered by well-established brands. This preference for organized entities adds further strength to the positive outlook of the industry. Overall, the wood panel sector is on track for a year of exceptionally strong growth in 2024, navigating through a dynamic landscape with a plethora of opportunities.

Q. What suggestions would you provide to fellow stockists concerning their action plan amidst the increasing competition in the Indian wood panel trade?
At CenturyPly, trust is the core pillar of our foundation. We consider our dealers not just as associates but as valued partners in our journey. Amidst the intensifying competition in the Indian wood panel trade, my suggestion to fellow partners is to adopt a proactive and strategic approach. Stay abreast of market trends, leverage digital platforms for market intelligence, and diversify your product offerings to cater to evolving consumer preferences. Embrace innovation, and enhance customer engagement to build loyalty. Remember, in the face of challenges, resilience and adaptability are key. At Centuryply we say “Raho Befikar“– stay fearless in your pursuit of success.

 

Note: This article was originally published in Ply Reporter's January 2024 print issue.

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