Pratik Shah, General Manager, Shivji ValjiThere is hardly any company engaged in manufacturing that does not need storage space for its raw material or finished goods. From chemicals to automotive parts, and from fabrics to cement manufacturers, all have storage needs unique to their segment. Often these requirements call for novel approaches to the problem while keeping the solutions cost effective. The name Shivji Valji is well known when it comes to such customised solutions. Pratik Shah, General Manager, Shivji Valji, interacts with ICR to share insights on merits of heap covering.
Tell us about your company. Formed by Shivji Valji Gala, the Shivji Valji Group has been serving India since 1910. We are well established in its field for more than a century now. Initially, we had started with jute production and later on we moved to the tarpaulin manufacturing business. We build shades or protective coverings for all types of material storage needs. We are basically into the business of building shades that protect materials from adverse climatic conditions such as rain, wind, hail storm, hot weather, etc. Apart from building shades, we also provide building materials such as tarpaulin, etc. We have our manufacturing unit in Ahmedabad.
Apart from temporary shades, we also build permanent but re-locatable structures made of steel and iron. Our factory has modern machinery and equipment and our services are backed by several years of experience in correct building and designing procedures.
Which sectors do you cater to? We provide services in cement, power, realty, sugar, glass, mining and chemical sector. All those who are looking for cost effective material protection solutions can opt for such temporary shades.
Name a few of your clients in the cement sector? We have several clients in the cement sector. Some of the big names include JK Laxmi and Ambuja Cement.
Tell us more about shade building for cement companies? In cement, we do what is called as ´heap covering´ for raw materials like clinker, limestone, coal, gypsum, etc. The covering is built using tarpaulin, bamboo and coir ropes. The heap itself supports the structure. The covering is constructed in such a way that the raw material is accessible to the factory at all time. So when a payloader comes to the heap, our person, who will be stationed at the site at all time, will open the heap cover just enough to let the payloader pick up the material. Our person will then cover it back.
The covering material is selected to ensure that the specifications of the material stored are not changed in any way. For cement, it is very important that the material is impermeable to moisture. The whole structure is designed in a way that it is impermeable to water even in adverse climatic conditions. We also build wide span shades with about 15m wide entrances that allow the entire payloader to come inside.
Is cost of heap covering serving as deterrent to your industry? No, not at all. The cost of temporary heap covering is negligible compared to the cost of material stored and to the potential loss that may occur due to adverse condition. The cost of permanent brick and mortar building for storage is far more than that of a temporary structure. A permanent structure will occupy space permanently. Whereas a temporary structure exists only as long as the material is present on the site. Besides, it takes-up the shape of the heap so the amount of space consumed is very less. The operating expenditure too is very small. It can be constructed in four to six weeks.
Where do people go wrong while building a tarpaulin heap covers? First is selection of the material with right thickness. The thickness is measured in gsm (grams per square metre). We use 250 gsm material for covering material in cement related raw materials. Secondly, most people wrongly think that a big tarpaulin sheet will offer better protection. This is entirely wrong, since it likely to be blown away more easily by wind than a smaller sheet. One must use small sheets and overlap them in a particular fashion to get protection as well as to ensure reliability.
How aware is the cement industry about using such protection? Materials such as clinker, limestone, coal are mined from earth and are natural resources, which must be used judiciously. Earlier they were available in plenty, but now the resources are getting scarce. The cost of these materials is rising day-by-day, and hence it is important to protect them. Earlier these materials were left open, but today the industry understands the impact of moisture on the material. If coal absorbs moisture then naturally the energy produced from such fuel will be less. The cement industry is slowly appreciating the importance of material protection and is taking measures to cover the raw material.