Illinois' cement keeps flowing
When Illinois Cement, part of the Eagle Materials group, suffered a severe blockage of Type I in its 80,000t storage silo, it turned to Martin Engineering to come up with an effective and safe solution that employs remotely-controlled pneumatic cleaning technology. By Martin Engineering, USA.
Founded in 1964, Eagle Materials is one of the USA’s largest cement providers, with four plants in Illinois, Nevada, Texas and Wyoming supplying a combined total of about 4Mta. In 2007, the Illinois Cement facility completed a significant upgrade and expansion, facilitating a dramatic improvement in manufacturing capacity, energy consumption and per-unit production costs. Capacity increased to 1.1Mta, while the cost structure was reduced by 20 per cent.
Like most cement manufacturers, the plant uses large storage vessels to hold finished material until it is ready for shipment. At LaSalle, the domed storage unit is 30m (99ft) tall and 57m (186ft) in diameter.
However, during the course of normal operations, the cable connectors on the reclaim screw worked themselves loose, causing the auger to fall onto the pile and halting the material flow. The only way to rectify the situation was to position a crane over the top and lift the conveyor out, so the cable could be reattached. But to do that, operators first needed to clear out enough material to access the disabled equipment, a massive task in light of the nearly-full dome.