i.lab: A World Class Research Centre
Zuari Cement's parent company - the Italcementi Group - recently unveiled a world class research laboratory in Bergamo, Italy, created to develop solutions for new construction materials......
Zuari Cement, the Bengaluru-based, Indian arm of the Italcementi Group, recently inaugurated Europe's first USGBC Platinum LEED structure 'i.lab', a research and innovation centre. Built at a staggering cost of € 40 million, the centre has been designed by renowned architect Richard Meier for the 148-year-old, fourth generation Italcementi Group. The centre has been created to develop technological, functional and aesthetic solutions for new construction materials.
The inauguration was indeed a cause for celebration for all stakeholders and was attended by
Italian Minister for Environment Corrado Clini; Giampiero Pesenti, Chairman, and Carlo Pesenti, CEO, Italcementi Group
, along with the group's top management and representatives and journalists from 18 countries. i.lab is the first USGBC LEED Platinum-certified building in Europe, the highest rating for energy-efficient and sustainable buildings. The construction methods adopted, materials used and recourse to renewable energies (photovoltaic/solar thermal panels, geothermal energy) enables i.lab to save up to 60 per cent more energy than a traditional building of the same size and end-use destination.
Maurizio Caneppele, Managing Director, Zuari Cement
, was also present at the inauguration of the i.lab. Zuari Cement grew from just 0.5 million tonne capacity in 1995 to 6 million tonne in 2011. With manufacturing units at Yerraguntla and Sitapuram, this recently named 'Master Brand' (by CMO Council, Asia) enjoyed a turnover of over €220 million in 2011.
In 2010, Zuari Cement expanded the production capacity at its Yerraguntla plant by installing a second burning line with a designed production capacity of 2.3 million tonne of cement per year and adopting top-of-the-line technical solutions with a particular focus on energy performance. Due to this the production almost doubled and a grinding centre at Chennai of one million tonne capacity was commissioned in May 2011. A captive power plant with a capacity of 43 MW has already been set up at the company's cement manufacturing facility at Sitapuram. The company's manufacturing units at Yerraguntla and Sitapuram are ISO-certified units and maintain the highest quality standards in line with the global quality policy.
With over 5 per cent market share in the south Indian cement market and sales of about €166 million in 2010, Zuari Cement has chalked out ambitious plans for the future. This includes strengthening its presence in the Maharashtra, Orissa and West Bengal markets. While technology is just one of its strengths, there are many other factors that contribute equally to Zuari's success. These include high-level organisation and decentralised quality assurance teams to guarantee full compliance with customers' expectations. From a group that views cement "not just as a commodity but a versatile material that accompanies mankind throughout the history of construction" as expressed by the
Carlo Pesenti, CEO of the Italcementi Group
, one would expect nothing less.