FICEM-APCAC XXX Peru 2013

Published 05 November 2013

Tagged Under: FICEM-APCAC peru latin america 

Peru, currently home to one of the world’s fastest-growing cement markets, played host to the annual FICEM-APCAC Technical Congress on 2-4 September 2013 at the Delfines Hotel and Casino in Lima. A resounding success, the conference and exhibition attracted a record 358 delegates from across the Latin America and the Caribbean regions, making it one of the largest meetings ever convened by the association.

Gladys Triveño Chan Hang, Peru’s minister of production, cuts the ribbon to mark the official opening

of the FICEM-APCAC XXX Technical Congress and Exhibition in Lima, Peru

The formal opening of the conference included a presentation by Gladys Triveño Chan Hang, Minister of Production, Government of Peru, who highlighted country’s solid economic growth, supported by successful mining and construction sectors, which have been primary engines of growth in recent years.

Ricardo Rizo Patrón, president of the local cement producers’ association, Asocem, and president of Peru’s cement market leader Unión Andina de Cementos SAA (Unacem), welcomed delegates to the meeting, highlighting some key statistics: “In 2012 the construction sector achieved 11 years of continuous growth, hand-in-hand with the growth of the country,” he said. “In 2008, the construction sector grew by 16.5 per cent while GDP expanded by 9.8 per cent. We had a similar situation in 2010 when construction expanded by 17.4 per cent while GDP rose 8.8 per cent. We closed 2012 with a 15.2 per cent growth in the sector (versus 6.3 per cent in terms of economic growth), marked by the high dynamism of the provinces.”

Acknowledging the important role played by the domestic cement industry in the Peruvian economy, Mr Patrón, explained the substantial level of investment by the sector, which has increased capacity from 10Mta to 14Mta over the past five years from 2008. Capacity will climb even further by a projected 5Mta over the next five years to 2018, with particularly strong growth in the Sierra, North and South.

International perspectives

The first session of the congress provided an international context for the meeting. Edgar Ortegón, a member of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, presented a political, economic and social panorama of the region, highlighting its developmental potential, but also cautioned on the region’s overreliance on the extractive industries. To prosper going forward, countries will have to try to reverse the decline of manufacturing, tackle the poor distribution of wealth and open their economies to greater external investment.

An overview of global cement sector trends was then presented by Thomas Armstrong, International Cement Review’s managing editor, who offered key insights from the latest edition of The Global Cement Report. Latin America remains a continent with great growth potential and with a range of 200-400kg per capita, cement consumption levels remain significantly below the global average of 513kg. In terms of industry consolidation, Mr Armstrong noted that the financial inflexibility of the traditional majors has opened up opportunities for the emerging players to expand their activities, particularly in Latin America. A case in point was the news released during the meeting that Lafarge had sold its Honduras operations to Cementos Argos (Colombia), in its efforts to reduce debt.

Technical programme

Over the course of three days, a comprehensive speaker programme engaged with the full spectrum of cement manufacturing technologies, from quarrying to pyroprocessing, through to milling and dispatch.

Alternative fuels featured as Peter Windmoeller of Vecoplan Fueltrack, provided a case study on the preparation of RDF from municipal solid waste for use as fuel in preheaters and main burners. Meanwhile, Pedro Montes de Oca introduced the Mjolnir mill for alternative fuels preparation which can achieve a size reduction from 150mm to 5mm in one grinding step, while drying the fuel ready for combustion.

Stephan Oehme, Claudius Peters, presented a review of customised clinker cooler modifications and a case study of the Holcim Siggenthal ETA cooler which demonstrated the cooler’s low maintenance design.

Alfredo Martin de Frutos of ThyssenKrupp Resource Technologies presented the evolution of the vertical roller mill (VRM) working principle for cement grinding, which has seen the adoption of driven rollers to increase the efficiency of modern VRMs, while enabling the production of products with higher fineness.

Meanwhile, Camilo Andres Buitrago Suarez of Scheuch GmbH (Austria) reviewed the application of SCR and DeCONOx technologies in cement plants, while industry consultant John Kline provided an expert review of mercury mitigation technologies for cement plants.

Sustainability agenda

Overall, sustainability issues dominated the agenda and Philippe Fonta, director of the Cement Sustainability Initiative, was on hand to introduce the ‘Getting Numbers Right’ database, which allows producers to benchmark their CO2 and energy performance against global cement industry standards. Mr Fonta called upon Latin American cement producers to contribute to the GNR programme, which already covers 880Mta of production capacity worldwide.

Several case studies focussed on successful projects by cement producers in relation to accident prevention, pollution control and improving community relations. In the latter category, David Cueto presented Unacem’s US$38m investment into an 8.2km underground pipe conveyor, designed to transport cement and clinker to the company’s Conchan export terminal as well as receive coal for the kiln. Through this major investment, the company has vastly reduced the environmental impact of its transport operations on the neighbouring community, while optimising logistics and reducing related CO2 emissions.

And the winner is…

Following a vote by delegates attending the conference, Bladimir Mestra of Cementos Argos was awarded first prize for his paper on the integral energy management system at the company’s Toluviejo factory in Colombia. The paper showed that by instigating a culture of sustainability and responsible energy usage among plant staff, in conjunction with a multidisciplinary programme aimed at incremental operational improvements throughout the plant (but focussed on milling optimisation), Toluviejo was able to reduce its specific energy consumption by 13 per cent over three years to 94.5kWh/t of cement, representing a cost saving of approximately US$1.34/t.

In second place, Martha Azpur of Unacem (Peru) was acknowledged for her inspirational presentation, describing the company’s contribution to the sanitation services of neighbouring communities in southern Lima. Working in association with the local population and regional authorities, and involving an investment of PEN3m (US$1m), Unacem was able to provide vital drinking water and sewage systems to the community, greatly enhancing the quality of life for thousands of people.

In third place, Jorge Quiroa of Cementos Progreso (Guatemala) was recognised for his case study describing the 70 per cent reduction in costs related to the drying processes in his company’s vertical mills. The savings were achieved as a result of a process innovation that harnessed waste heat gases from the clinker cooler, greatly reducing the usage of increasingly costly fossil fuels.

Rounding off this successful event was a lively farewell dinner held at the Restaurante Huaca Pucllana, where the prizes for these best presentations were announced. In addition, Fernando Dueñas, Cemengal (Spain) was also awarded the much sought-after prize of a complimentary booth for next year’s Technical Congress, following his presentation on the Plug & Grind mobile grinding concept.

Plant tour

On the last day of the event, delegates were invited to join a field visit to Unacem’s Atocongo cement plant. An upgrade of Kiln No 1 completed earlier in the year saw clinker capacity increased from 1.2Mta to 2.4Mta, raising total clinker and cement capacity at the plant to 4.8Mta and 5.5Mta, respectively (see ICR August 2013 for more details).

Article first published in International Cement Review, November 2013.