GRI: New mixing plant on schedule
With global demand for its specialty tyres on the rise, Sri Lankan off-highway tyre maker GRI is expanding its manufacturing capacity through a range of projects, including construction of a new mixing plant in Mirigama, 40 miles east of Colombo. GRI is investing US$25 million to set up the facility, which will have a capacity of 200 tonnes a day.
Two of the planned six mixing lines are already completed and operational. “We have introduced a state-of-the-art production system to this plant with high-tech machinery from Germany that will be used for mixing and milling,” shares Ananda Caldera, executive director at GRI. “Furthermore, we are also using a fully automated powder feeding system for carbon black, so that no dust particles are released into the atmosphere. It is a programmed and automated system that is fully sealed and is the first of its kind in Sri Lanka.”
Installation of the other mixing lines is progressing, with completion planned for mid-2022. “As we increase our tyre manufacturing capacity, we will also be gearing up the mixing capacity for both solid and pneumatic tyres,” Caldera adds.
Reducing environmental impact
As mentioned above, sustainability and environmental impact are addressed by equipment that prevents the release of dust particles from the production process into the atmosphere. “We have installed the automatic weighing and feeding system so that we do not manually handle any powder material. We have provided sufficient dust retractors so that dust will not be released into the environment,” explains Caldera. He adds that GRI will install solar panels on the factory roof to enable the facility to be powered by clean energy, whilst all plant machinery utilise variable speed motors and drives to ensure that energy is used carefully and efficiently.
“With the Covid-19 pandemic delays were experienced in the construction process, however, work is progressing well despite the challenges,” the executive director concludes.