MRL gears up to meet growing demand


At the Paperex 2017 exhibition in Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, Modinagar Rolls Pvt. Ltd. (MRL) was present in strength with a fairly large stand, which indicates the seriousness with which they are looking at the pulp and paper manufacturing industry. MRL is a leading manufacturer of precision custom rolls and also offers a variety of repair and maintenance services to various industrial applications. Since its formation in 1995, MRL has grown to become a one-stop shop for manufacturing all kinds of rollers such as rubber, PU and hard chrome. Over the years, MRL has added separate divisions such as MRL Printing Rolls and MRL Coaters and Platers to form a consolidated group of industries to service customers in India and overseas. Packaging South Asia met Vaibhav Agarwal, director, MRL, for a discussion on the company’s exhibits at the event and how they see this market evolving.

Agarwal said, “Paperex is always one of the best exhibitions in the paper industry. We have been participating in this event since the earliest editions and will continue to mark our presence later as well. In India, MRL serves 90% of the paper mills, which includes supply of different types of rollers to players like ITC, Century Mills and others. The Indian paper industry has been growing with larger plant sizes, higher productivity and better quality. The pulp and paper manufacturing sector is going through a number of changes and we’re keeping pace with those changes and meeting the requirements. This is a capital-intensive industry where even the smallest players can have a turnover of over Rs. 100 crore. Therefore, the stakes are quite high for vital component suppliers like MRL.”

Speaking about the importance of rollers in the pulp and paper manufacturing process, Agarwal said, “In the entire process of paper manufacture, it’s a combination of rollers throughout the length of the machine. These include the suction roll, combining roll, press rolls, dryer rolls, felt rollers, size press, rewinder roll and many others.” MRL manufactures many different types of rolls that a paper mill needs barring a few which they service as and when required. Such services involve recoating, grinding and dynamic balancing of rollers for different industries, including the pulp and paper industry.

As per Agarwal, MRL is in the process of developing services and specializations that customers in India have been buying from overseas. The whole idea is to integrate with the government’s ‘Make in India’ mission, wherein customers won’t have to procure their rollers from overseas since MRL will meet all their requirements locally. With the requirement for paper expected to increase in the years ahead with the expansion of the packaging industry, MRL is preparing for higher demand as more paper mills will come up to meet the growing requirements. When asked about the fast-growing imported paper market in India, Agarwal said that there are different varieties of paper available all over the world and even the paper-exporting countries don’t have all these varieties. A market of India’s size will have to meet its requirements with both local production and imports and there is huge scope of growth in local manufacture of paper despite high volumes of import.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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