Visit to Carborundum Universal Limited

Carborundum Universal Limited (CUMI), is a Multi-Billion company leading by Murugappa Group. CUMI is one of the giants, dealing with abrasives, Electro-Minerals, Industrial Ceramics, Super Refractories etc. They have a number of factories which are distributed around the globe. To know more about CUMI, kindly go through their website.

Recently Team NeoGreen Labs visited one of their factories; which is situated near Edapally, where they manufacture  Brown Aluminum Oxide Grains from Bauxite. The factory is spread over almost 100 acres.

Few days before our visit, We got a picture of the Typical Kerala Effect;  Labour Strike at CUMI. This strike seems really interesting. The workers start their strike by 9.30am, with all Inquilab Zindabad but they stop it by 10.am and then go to their work. Thank God, We reached there after the Strike Session, by around 11 am.

Our goal was to see and understand the processing of bauxite to a material which can be used for the manufacturing of abrasives. This process is done inside a furnace (Kiln). The raw materials has been added to the kiln at regular intervals and the materials are melted using Electric Arc formed by three huge electrodes. The working temperature is above 1000 Degree Celsius and so, the kiln is cooled using water. One batch consists of 28 tons of raw material and it takes long 20hrs to melt them. Later it is allowed to cool and it takes almost two weeks for the complete cooling. Then the frozen material is crushed in to grains using a crusher which makes lot of dust and later the grains are transported to the manufacturing unit using a huge conveyer belt system. The entire atmosphere was so hot and noisy and i got surprised to see, workers walking and working in that severe atmosphere.

Then we visited the power and control setup of the kiln and electric arc system. There are almost 5 kilns and each kiln has its own control station. The three phase transformer of   Electric ARC rod is manufactured by General Electric and each Arcing Rod takes an AC current of 6000A !!!

We also visited the 66KV Substation of CUMI. I never saw such a huge substation and controls before. They told us that CUMI is buying electric power from open market (till then i didn’t had much idea about the electricity supply in open market, but they explained it well) during night time at a lower rate. CUMI also has a 12MW hydel electric power project at Maniyar Kerala.

The best part of this factory is that, there is no waste except the Dust produced during the crushing of cooled material. All other materials are converting in to different products. They are also trying to improve their overall energy efficiency by continuously improving their manufacturing process. And, I am sure that this may be the two main reasons that keep CUMI the best in their domains.

Note: We were invited to do a feasibility study on improving the efficiency of their manufacturing process. I don’t have any Photos since we were not allowed to take our mobiles inside the campus. Er. Shibili Rahman, Er. Cherian Varghese and Mr. Baby Philip were with me for this visit.

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