Mumbai — Indian plastics extrusion machinery and equipment manufacturer R.R. Plast Extrusions Pvt. Ltd. is tripling the size of its existing plant in Asangaon, about 45 miles from Mumbai.
"We are investing about $2 [million] to $3 million in the additional area, and expansion is in line with market requirements, as demand for PET sheet lines, drip irrigation and recycling lines are growing," said Jagdish Kamble, managing director of the Mumbai-based company.
He said the expansion, which will add 150,000 square feet of space, will be completed in the first quarter of 2020.
Established in 1981, R.R. Plast earns 40 percent of its sales overseas, exporting machines to more than 35 countries, including Southeast Asia, the Persian Gulf, Africa, Russia and the Americas, including the United States. It said it's installed more than 2,500 machines in India and globally.
"We have installed the biggest polypropylene/high impact polystyrene sheet line, having a capacity of 2,500 kilos per hour at a Dubai site and a recycling PET sheet line at a Turkish site last year," Kamble said.
The Asangaon factory has the capacity to produce 150 lines annually in four segments -— sheet extrusion, drip irrigation, recycling and thermoforming. It launched its thermoforming business about two years ago. Sheet extrusion accounts for about 70 percent of its business.
Despite growing voices over restricting the use of plastic, Kamble said the company remains optimistic about the future of polymers in a growing economy like India.
"Increasing competition in the global market and the constant drive to improve our living standards would open new areas and opportunities to grow," he said. "The scope for use of plastics is bound to increase manyfold and make the production double in the coming years."
There is growing concern over plastic bottle waste in India, and machinery makers have identified it as a new opportunity to grow.
"We have been focusing on recycling PET sheet lines for plastic bottles for the past three years," he said.
With Indian government agencies discussing bans on single-use plastic, machinery makers are gearing up to offer a wider range of high-capacity recycling lines.
"Plastic waste management rules envisage extended producer responsibility, which makes it mandatory to use 20 percent recycled material, which will spur demand for PET recycling lines," he said.
India's Central Pollution Control Board said the country generates 25,940 tonnes of plastic waste every day, of which 94 percent is thermoplastic or recyclable materials such as PET and PVC.
The demand for PET sheet lines has spiked by about 25 percent, he said, as PET bottle scrap has piled up in cities.
"We have also expanded our PET sheet line range from 200 to 2,500 kilos per hour," he said.
As well, growing stresses on India's water supplies is boosting demand for the company's drip irrigation machinery.
The government-backed think tank Niti Aayog has said growing urbanization will lead to 21 Indian cities being water stressed by next year, forcing states to adopt measures to manage ground water as well as agricultural water.
Demand for drip irrigation lines are rising as farmers look for more efficient ways to use water.
"The demand in the drip irrigation segment also increased towards high-capacity systems that produce more than 1,000 kilos per hour, whereas hitherto, the demand was more for lines that produce 300-500 kilos each hour," he said.
R.R. Plast has a technology tie-up for flat and round drip irrigation systems with an Israeli company and claims to have installed 150 drip irrigation pipe plants around the world.