Dear Mr. Roy, dear Mr. Burgel, you both personally launched the project in 2018 by handshake. Is this the first project between ANDRITZ and Hindalco?
Mr. Roy: We had a slitting line from Sundwig, which was relocated from Rogerstone, UK and recommissioned in Hirakud FRP in 2013. We have long relationship with ANDRITZ.
Mr. Burgel: It is the first direct project in India between both parties for a new capital investment – of course, business relations already existed between ANDRITZ and companies belonging to the Aditya Birla Group.
What kind of products will these lines produce? Are there special quality requirements from your customers and was there a change in their demand within the last years?
Mr. Roy: These lines were procured for processing highly sensitive surface grade of aluminium (transport, electronics, road signage, composite panels, road sound barriers etc.). Meanwhile, there were some changes in the market. The building and construction industry asks now for materials with thinner gauges, high surface quality and flatness below 3I. This TLL should be able to produce this product.
The Kick-Off of the projects was in March 2019, less than a year before Covid-19 outbreak. Especially India was affected very hard. How is it possible to realize two projects like this, even when 80 % of the project took place during pandemic times?
Mr. Roy: This was a big challenge for both Hindalco and ANDRITZ to continue the project even during Covid-19. We had mobility issues but thanks to the online support, we could continue our job, though at slower space. Also, ANDRITZ ensured delivery of the equipment in time and also ensured presence of the installation team at the site, even during the peak of Covid-19 time.
Mr. Burgel: For me, the following four reasons were crucial for the successful project implementation under these completely new circumstances: Trust between the parties, the project teams already saw each other f2f before the Covid-19 lockdowns, local setup of ANDRITZ with less dependency from Germany, new technologies like HoloLens used during the installation phase.
How important do you think it is, that the project team of Hindalco, ANDRITZ Metals Germany, ANDRITZ Technologies and ANDRITZ Metals Austria never changed during the entire execution time?
Mr. Roy: This was very useful. As both the lines had critical commitments in term of product performance, having one team with the same people from start till the end of the projects was key to successfully reach all performance acceptance parameters. Most of our jobs happened during Covid-19 time. So even online meetings were productive as people knew each other.
Mr. Burgel: This is the key for successful project execution – to know the partner on the other site and to build up a partnership and a trustful relationship. Not all agreements will be executed in a contract change, it is important to trust each other and keep your word, and both project teams did not live this contract in terms of a customer-supplier relationship. They acted as partners and supported each other during these difficult times.
More than 60% of the equipment was sourced in India by our local ANDRITZ entity in Bangalore. How much do you think this contributed to the success of the project?
Mr. Roy: It had brought down our cost considerably and also was easy for us to regularly monitor and inspect budgets, deliveries, parts, etc.
Mr. Burgel: First of all, this was the key for ANDRITZ to be competitive. Especially with the Covid-19 lockdowns occurring during execution, it was important that ANDRITZ employees were able to be on site and support our customer with the support from the German colleagues using new technologies like HoloLens.
Mr. Roy, do you expect the same setup for future projects?
Mr. Roy: Definitely yes. We will continue with this approach for all our future projects
Mr. Burgel, what do you think: How will the project management be like in the future, in 10 years for example? Also f2f or only online?
Mr. Burgel: The only “positive” side of Covid-19 was that virtual meetings got a push and acceptance, which would have taken an additional 5-10 years without the pandemic. It will change execution in some ways. Regular meetings can be held more remotely, but it will never replace the face-to-face contact between the project execution teams. As mentioned in one of the other questions a trusting, open and honest relationship is the key for a successful execution, For this, personal contact is still necessary, and that’s a good thing. During commissioning and optimization, new technologies will make the troubleshooting easier, as the specialists around the world can see the situation through the eyes of person on site and help with their experience and knowledge.
The company Hindalco Industry Limited belongs to the Aditya Birla Group and is part of one of the biggest conglomerates of the world. How important is the business in India and also the expansion in hard alloy projects for your group?
Mr. Roy: We are expanding our capacity in India and we will be ordering similar equipment within next 3 -6 months.
The new phase 2 of the hard alloy project in Sambalpur Lapanga plant is located only few kilometers from phase 1 in Hirakud. A giant field with new hot and cold rolling mills is in construction phase. Would you be willing to share some details?
Mr. Roy: As mentioned before, we are going to have a similar set up there.
How important is it for ANDRITZ to get involved in this expansion project and (hopefully) be the supplier of the finishing lines?
Mr. Burgel: India is a very interesting market for ANDRITZ. Based on the successful execution of phase 1, we are eager to participate in phase 2 and with the established setup between the product home in Europe and our local entity in India, we will be able to make a competitive offer, with all the advantages in terms of spare parts, known technology and practices of phase 1.
Change of topic: We have seen that throughout the entire works, only the highest safety standards and concepts are being applied. Can you explain your company’s approach to HSE?
Mr. Roy: Health and Safety of our staff and onsite is of utmost importance for us. I must congratulate the entire project team including ANDRITZ for zero incidence during the project team
Mr. Burgel: AFR is only a KPI, for sure an important one. For me, it is much more important to work on a safety culture. All employees shall consider safety to be a top priority, that they directly approach team members if they are working unsafely, taking short cuts, etc. But also to give people feedback on positive safety behaviors. It is our most important obligation as an organization to ensure that all our employees leave their working place healthy.
Green steel production has become very important. Is there a similar approach for aluminum production?
Mr. Burgel: Of course, the upstream production facilities have a much greater impact than that of downstream equipment. But here also, we have to develop smart application to reduce our GHG footprint.
Mr. Roy: Our products are greener, smarter and stronger. We consider sustainability while conceptualizing project in term ICP (Internal Carbon Pricing ) IRR and ICP NPV. Hindalco is set on a decarbonization journey to net ‘0’ carbon. Decision makers need to keep that in mind while approving energy intensive projects.
Final question to both of you: Any plans to meet in person?
Mr. Burgel: I will visit our office in Bangalore in December. If possible, I will also try to meet Sandip during this trip.
Mr. Roy: Looking forward to our personal meeting.
Mr. Sandip, Mr. Burgel, thank you for this very interesting interview and I wish you all the best. We hope to continue this story with phase 2 at the Lapanga plant in Sambalpur.