Innovative cement delivery with combilift & mini silos
Innovative cement delivery with combilift & mini silos

Innovative cement delivery with combilift & mini silos

The combilift and mini silos from Meher Velsycon is a new-age solution that saves cost, improves efficiency and averts pollution to contribute towards ´Clean India´ drive, writes Anil Tandon.

Converting bags to bulk is a win-win for all stake holders. Meher Velsycon, Mumbai has introduced a new Combilift & Mini Silo system, which helps cement companies as much as it increases efficiency for builders and logistics service providers.

Several big users of cement are already using silos and get cement and fly ash in bulkers. But there are many others who do not have silos. And hence are not able to take advantages of loose bulk. This new solution consists of a truck with combilift, making deliveries to various client sites in 16-20 tonne mini silos. The truck leaves the cement filled silo at construction site and comes back to pick up empty silo, only when the customer has used the cement.

At construction site, the user does not require any infrastructure at all. No silos, no compressors, no godowns, nothing at all.

With labour and space becoming an ever-increasing challenge, mechanisation and optimum usage of space is the only way to complete projects in time. Mini silo is a major solution to help overcome these challenges and a cost-effective alternative in the current work practices. Vertical storage in mini silos and that too movable to the place of consumption of cement are a big plus.

Cement industry in India is largely dominated by bag market with the cement mostly available in 50 kg bag unit. But since last few years, when infrastructure projects started picking up, there was a real need to complete the projects as fast as possible. This demanded efficiency at work site and more work to be done on a daily basis. Cement was demanded in loose bulk, in bulkers. It was practically not possible to handle so many bags each day and hence cement bulkers was a solution.

But in the last 10 years, out of 100 per cent of cement bag market, only 15-20 per cent got converted into bulk. The remaining 80 per cent is still in bags. With this new system, hopefully, another 20-25 per cent will get converted to loose bulk as the benefits are many.

Cement companies need not invest in new packers as more and more cement can be despatched in loose bulk. Construction companies would prefer this system, as after pouring concrete with RMC, the secondary work can now be sped up. A lot of downstream mechanisation is possible with mini silos. One can connect pumps, plastering machines, and mixers etc to mini silo outlets and can convey materials to higher floors as well.

New solution savings
The customers today don´t want to invest a huge amount in erecting silos and install accessory equipment like compressor, as the project demand does not justify such an infrastructure. Combilift and mini silos have addressed this problem effectively and economically. The mini silo can be used to transport cement in bulk that involves zero cost on bags, labour charge, and storage. This also saves from contamination, theft, etc. In this system, the end-user, the client of the cement company, does not have to pay anything since there is no need of silo, power, labour, godown and machine. Cement company or its transporter will come with the truck with the loaded silo to project site, and the driver by himself will unload and erect the silo as the truck is capable to do this. Neither founda¡tion, nor special flooring is required, just well compacted soil is fine.

After the erection of the silo, the driver will go back with the truck. The silo will remain at the site till the cement is completely used. The cement inside the silo can be accessed through a butterfly valve, which can open and the cement will flow down with gravitational force. Once the cement is consumed, the cement company will send a new truck with filled silo which comes, erects the new filled silo and take back the empty silo.

The silo comes in various capacities of 5 tonne to 30 tonne. It´s a win-win for all stake holders

Benefit to cement companies
Each truck fitted with Combilift can save more than 3,00,000 bags per year. Three lakh bags not be be bought, not to be filled, not to be handled, with just one Combilift and few silos.

It provides quick despatches from plants and grinding units, and better capacity utilisation. The whole process is environment-friendly and very safe. Cement companies will have great advantage as their carbon footprint will improve because of the power saving by not using bagging machine. Another advantage is that there is no pollution and a good working environment for people, which is a corporate social responsibility. There will be no spillages and no wastage. The plant will become less accident prone because of less people, less machine, etc are involved. All these are big benefits to cement companies.

Benefit to transporter
The transporter is the second element of this logistics chain. With one truck, he can handle many mini silos. Thus his output per truck goes up. He does not have to wait at loading/unloading points, so his number of trips goes up. Now even in the night, or very early morning, the truck can deliver and erect the silo. In such a delivery system, the transporter can employ 2-3 drivers a day on 8 hour duty round-the-clock, because he has to only go, leave the filled silo, pick the empty silo and come back. So, at the end of the month, the revenue generated per vehicle goes up tremendously, which is the bottom line for him.

Benefit to construction company
The construction company doesn´t have to invest either in godowns or in machines, bag opening, labour, etc. They only have to give a place for the silo, and their savings are huge. Normally, cement bags are stored in the godown and moved to the point of consumption either by people or by elevators or cranes etc. From mini silos, one can directly pump it to 30-40 floors. and even higher floors by pumping again. First-in-first-out will now bring better quality in construction. Usually, we order more bags of cement when the earlier is about to be finished. So, once the new lot comes in, the bags down below do not get used and overtime will become non-usable. This is wastage and also decreases the quality of construction. This is completely eliminated by the new system.

The mini silo can be connected to a wide range of ancillary equipment. To facilitate heavy-duty cement pumping for the construction of high-rise buildings, Meher Velsycon supplies a pump fitted with a battery and diesel genset. On-site mixers together with plastering spray guns and other machinery is also available.

Efficiency and faster completion
This is a significant advantage. With this mechanisation, the buildings can be completed earlier than planned, and the construction projects can be completed ahead of time. This is a big saving of Interest on Capital cost. A project of Rs 50-100 crore when completed earlier, by a month, can bring in great savings. Bigger project will have much bigger savings.

Total cost advantage
When a cement company does not have to buy a bag costing Rs 10-12, it doesn´t have to fill and load at a cost of Rs 5-6 per bag, and unloading at site Rs 5-6 per bag.

So the overall cost saving for the whole chain is Rs 20-25 per bag which is huge. Further savings of no godown at site, wastage of 2-3 per cent, are extra and would vary from site to site. Pollution free and environment friendliness are added advantages.

Flexibility and multi-function
During monsoon and low season period, when construction sites are not working as fast requirement of these silos can be less. During these occasions, the cement company or the transporter will have the truck available to use. With some minimal changes, the truck with Combilift can do bag deliveries during this period. Bags can be palletised or just put inside a container or body.

Way ahead
Availability of labour and space is a major challenge. We are sitting on an upcoming construction boom and mechanisation is the only way forward. In this scenario, the Combilift & Mini Silos from Meher Velsycon is going to be a new revolution in the market.

Mini silos at Ambuja Cement
Ambuja Cement has recently bought 20 silos from Meher Trailers, in which 10 units are deployed in Mumbai and 10 in Kolkata for service.

Operating cost comparison: Bags vs Mini Silos
With 50 kg bags With mini silos
Particulars Unit of measurement Amount Rs Rs/tonne/km Unit of measurement Amount Rs Rs/tonne/km
Pay load 20 16 T
No of trips/day 1 2.5
Load/day 20 40T
No of working days/month 28 28
Tonnage load/month 560 tonne 1,120 tonne
Lead distance (40 x2) 80 km 80 km
Fuel mileage 3.5/km/litre 3.5/km/litre
Fuel required 640 litre 1600 litre
Fuel cost 640 litre x Rs 52 33,280 1,600 litre x Rs 52 83,200
Tyre cost 3,718 9,296
Cost of maintenance 15,000 25,000
Crew cost 22,000 45,000
Cost (A) 73,998 1.65 1,62,496 1.8
Additional costs for bagged deliveries:
Bag cost 12x20x560 1,34,400 0
Bagging/loading cost 2x20x560 22,400 0
Unloading cost 5x20x560 56,000 0
Cost (B) 2,12,800 4.75 0
Total costs/km/tonne 6.4 1.8
For 1,120 tonne work done by Mini Silo savings.....Rs 5.15 lakh/month
When 3 trips/day are possible, the savings are.......Rs 6.18 lakh/month
Annual saving: Rs 60-75 lakh
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