Penden Cement clarifies on underweight cement bags

Around the end of December 2023, there was viral video circulating in social media platform accusing Penden Cement Authority Limited (PCAL) management on dispatching underweight cement causing concerns.

The video captures a man expressing dissatisfaction with the weight of cement, claiming it to be 3-5kg less than the actual weight. Initially, the weights displayed on the cement bags are 47.50kg, 45kg, and 46.95kg. The man questions a worker about the discrepancy, and the worker asserts that the bags are packaged in that condition directly from the manufacturing plant.

An official from the PCAL commented, “In the year 2023 alone, we have dispatch more than 5.2 million bags in domestic and export market, and we haven’t received any established complaint from the customers, however, in the larger interest of the customers, and as a part of after sales service to the customers, we have compensated. For that particular lot, we have cross verified with our weighbridge record and the total weight is slightly more than that of the challan quantity, therefore, the discrepancy in individual’s bag is may be due to some technical error during loading of that particular truck.”

“Furthermore, management has increased the frequency of cement bags checking in the digital weighing scale two to three times a day to avoid any weight discrepancy. Beside this, the Performance Monitoring Division and Sales and Marketing Division shall carry out random inspections fortnightly. All regional managers of the PCAL selling depot have been instructed to randomly check the weight of cement bags lying at three depots. As a control measure, PCAL is exploring for the laminated bag which can control pilferage during transit and handling time,” the official added.

The management shared that the trucks transporting cement undergo a meticulous weighing process at the plant. Initially, empty trucks pass through our weighbridge to record the tare weight in metric tons before being loaded with cement. The cement bags are filled at predetermined spouts, each set to 50.25 kg. To ensure accuracy, digital weighing machines are installed at each loading point for cross-verification.

Following loading, a site supervisor inspects the trucks, and any discrepancies prompt the vehicle to be returned for correction. Once weighing is finalized, drivers receive a weighment slip and invoice copy. Every truck, whether empty or loaded, must pass through the weighbridge inside PCAL.

To maintain the specified weight of cement bags, the Automation Engineering unit calibrates rotary spouts regularly. Loaded cement bags undergo verification according to ISO procedures, with the Automation Engineering Unit and Packing plant responsible for checking and recording weights at each spout.

If a bag’s weight deviates, immediate rectification is performed, followed by accurate weighing at the packing plant. A tolerance of 50 kg + 0.5% (50.25 kg) is adhered to as per BIS guidelines, and any dispatch beyond this range prompts weighbridge personnel to return the truck for correction. Periodic weighbridge calibration is conducted to minimize inaccuracies.

He further added, “The company consistently ensures the use of appropriately branded and logoed bags for the packing and loading of cement. Presently, the quantity of cement dispatched in loaded trucks exceeds the recorded challan quantity according to our weighbridge records. Additionally, the company adheres to Standard Operating Procedures for cement bags, including protocols for bursting and weighment, which are developed in accordance with IS standards.”

The newspaper interviewed multiple contractors and cement agents, who revealed that they have never encountered such situations because they typically do not weigh the cement bags.

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