A century is much more than an occasion to celebrate, especially in an evolving and competitive world! For us, at The Tinplate Company of India Ltd (TCIL), entering our glorious 100th year in 2020, is a time for introspection and to re-live the vision of our founders. It is a time to stay committed to our stakeholders by strengthening our unshakeable foundations and ensuring steadfast growth.
Our endeavour has been a pursuit for excellence through service as torchbearer for the tinplate industry. We have set the pace not just with technological sophistication but stewardship in corporate social responsibilities and employee welfare, with a deep and abiding commitment to the environment in the true Tata tradition.
As we approach our 100th year of existence, TCIL stands tall, catering to seventy per cent of India's prime tinplate market and exporting a fourth of its products to discerning buyers in multiple geographies through its recyclable products basket. As always, we are at the frontlines of India's technological march forward, devoted to nature while touching lives across the board. We stand ready to lead for the next hundred years while being NaturAlly No. 1.
CONVERGENCE OF LEADERS;
With World War 1 choking all imports to the subcontinent, oil can fabricators, using tinplate, found themselves bereft of material. This war-time opportunity inspired two Indian enterprises, Burmah Oil and The Tata Iron & Steel Company to jointly incorporate an enterprise on January 20, 1920.
FOUNDING A FUTURE;
BUILDING NEW INDIA
Quick to the chase, the new company, The Tinplate Company of India Ltd (TCIL), appointed the American firm, Perin & Marshall as Consulting Engineers. Structural steel for the plant and some of the machinery arrived from USA and UK by November 1921 and, within a year, the plant was up at Golmuri, near the Tata Steel works at Jamshedpur.
QUICK TO THE MARKET;
ACHIEVING IMMEDIATE SUCCESS
With the first Hot Dip Plant in place, finished tinplate rolled out by December 18, 1922. By April 1928, the Victoria brand of kerosene oil produced by Burmah Oil was packed in cans made from the tin sheets produced at TCIL.
CARING FOR COMMUNITY
Provision for erection of 100 additional Indian quarters was sanctioned for employees in 1935. TCIL had its own works hospital and overall healthcare set up right next to its plant. In 1941, a small crèche was added to the works hospital. The company had also initiated work safety practices as early as in the 1960s.
With the outbreak of World War 2, the company faced the worst crisis in its history as supplies of both tin and palm oil from Malaysia were restricted. Making an all-out bid to keep operations going through the war years, TCIL diversified into the manufacturing of un-tinned black plates used in Jettison tanks for the royal air force. To augment production, it also took over processing of steel from sheet mills of Tata Steel.
Tinning, rolling and finishing technology underwent a revolutionary change. TCIL decided to modernise the Golmuri works. Production from existing mills touched 82,778 tonnes in 1963, though the mill had a rated capacity of 28,000 tonnes, a remarkable achievement for the company!
A TECHNOLOGICAL LEAP;
IMPROVING PRODUCTIVITY AND QUALITY
TCIL was ready to adapt newest technologies, a breakthrough as the company entered into an agreement with Wean United Canada, the world's most experienced suppliers of tin-mill equipment, to switch to Electrolytic Tinning Process. In 1973, ETL1 was commissioned with a capacity of 90,000 tonnes per annum. It was capable of producing tinplate and tin free steel. A wider range of products, including thinner tinplate were added for the first time to TCIL's product basket.
ELIMINATING RAW MATERIAL UNCERTAINTIES
Close to the new millennium, TCIL setup its first Cold Rolling Mill Complex (CRM-1) in 1996, with a capacity of 1,10,000 tonnes per annum, as part of backward integration to produce TMBP coils as raw material for the tinning line. This did away with the dependence on imports and uncertainty associated with imported TMBP coils in terms of price and availability.
STEPPING TOWARDS DOWNSTREAM PRODUCTS
With production and processes in fine fettle, it was time for forward integration and injecting greater value into existing products. TCIL invested in a state-of-the-art Printing and Coating line in 2005. This created a win-win situation for TCIL and its customers by way of offering a sophisticated high-quality product and reducing supply chain inefficiencies. The supply from these lines ensured improved differentiation, and enhanced packaging life.
ATTAINING MARKET LEADERSHIP
As markets expanded, so did TCIL's output. It doubled capacity in 2007 with commissioning of the second Tinning Line (ETL-2), enhancing the mill capacity from 179,000 mt to 379,000 mt. These investments helped the company achieve 70 per cent of the prime domestic market share. TCIL also exported 25 per cent of its production to discerning markets across the world, from South-East Asia to Europe, including the Middle East.
There was constant thrust for driving operational excellence and upgradation of facilities to augment production. TCIL set up its second Cold Rolling Mill (CRM-2) facility in 2008 to meet the requirements of TMBP coils to feed the second tinning line ETL-2. These assets had a dramatic impact on company's turnover with production and sales crossing 360,000 tonnes in 2018-19, prompting the company to think about the next level of organic growth.
FOCUS ON DOWNSTREAM PRODUCTS;
A STEP CLOSER TO BRAND OWNERS
2018 marked the birth of 'PAXEL', India's first branded tin can for packaging edible oil. Produced in TCIL's Service and Solution Centres, PAXEL sales scaled up in no time due to its adherence to timely availability, process hygiene, safety and overall product quality. TCIL selected some of the finest can-makers of the country as Service and Solution Partners (SSPs) and partnered them to move closer to edible oil brand owners. The assurance was a high performance product made from genuine, best quality tinplate manufactured by TCIL. By deploying a robust supply-chain management, PAXEL services were aligned to the growing demand for better quality cans for port-based oil hubs, thus ensuring immediate success.
SHAPING THE FUTURE;
EYES ON SUSTAINABLE GROWTH
For the last 100 years, TCIL has been serving the nation with its pioneering achievements. It is now ready to shape the future through innovation and transformation. With increased awareness about environment, health and need for sustainable packaging solutions, demand for tinplate is poised to grow faster than it grew in the last 100 years. Footprints for growth of sustainable packaging are visible through increase in multi-brand retail, nuclearisation of families, increasing middle class and urbanisation. Food safety, packaging integrity and environment protection are expected to be the growth drivers for tinplate in the years to come. Devoted to nature, touching lives across the board we lead the tinplate revolution remaining NaturAlly No. 1.