Cemtech Asia 2014

Published 04 August 2014

The fifth Cemtech Asia Conference and Exhibition took place over 15-18 June 2014, in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, drawing an audience of over 200 delegates from 30 countries. Now firmly established as a leading event on the regional cement industry calendar, the three-day gathering provided an insight into the emergence of important global and Asian market trends, recent investment projects by key cement producers active in the area and guidance on the best production optimisation, energy recovery and alternative fuels utilisation techniques and much more...

Cemtech Asia 2014 welcomes over 200 delegates from 30 countries to the heart of the Malaysian capital, KL

Official proceedings began on a particularly encouraging note as the opening presentation by Yuri Serov of Morgan Stanley (UK) pointed towards a more promising outlook for global cement demand.  Since the last Cemtech Dubai meeting held in February this year, the research house has upgraded its forecasts with growth in 2014 of around 3.1 per cent (excluding China) – marking the third-consecutive year of growth around the three per cent rate. The main drag this year is set to be a decline in the countries of the former Soviet Union, largely due to the impact of the Ukrainian crisis. On the other hand, Mr Serov envisages that the final “bottoming out” of western Europe’s correction will be an offsetting factor. Improvements are also expected this year in India, MENA (with Egypt being key), Latin America and the United States.

Asian market updates

Focussing specifically on ASEAN markets, Martin Wilkes of PT Marandale (Indonesia) remarked that consumption growth in the Cemtech host market of Malaysia is expected to advance by around 4-5 per cent in 2014 and 2015. Capacity increases are underway with clinker capacity to hit 25Mta from around 20Mta today – more or less in line with demand growth. Thailand’s market expansion is being derailed by current political disruptions, but Vietnam is expected to return to growth following two years of decline in 2012 and 2013. In the Philippines, where the market is expected to continue exhibiting strong advances, Mr Wilkes anticipates the LafargeHolcim combination is likely to lead to a shake-up in the status quo of the industry’s domestic production base. The country’s top two producers are currently exploring the combination of their businesses and the possible disposal of some assets currently held by Lafarge.

Turning attention to developments in the Indonesian market, Randolph Wintgens of Wintgens Associates commented that 21.3Mta of new capacity by existing producers will come online between 2013-17. In addition, seven projects by new entrants are also likely to come on-stream over the same period, amounting to a further 14.4Mta. Another 30 projects have been announced but are deemed uncertain or unlikely to be realised. In terms of the outlook for cement demand, Mr Wintgens forecasts strong demand going forward but at a slower rate than in the past two years.

Moving on to the world’s second-largest cement producing nation, industry consultant Alok Agarwal provided a detailed analysis of the Indian market where a long-awaited return to higher demand growth levels may be just around the corner. Despite Indian producers continuing to face pricing pressures due to overcapacity and concerns over input costs, Mr Agarwal pointed to a number of long-term opportunities in terms of the country’s immense housing and infrastructure requirements. In the short-term, he believes recovery in cement demand growth is “certain from this financial year,” growing at around six per cent per annum at the lower end of the scale if the new BJP government is slow in decision making, or 8-9 per cent per annum at the higher end of the spectrum if conditions are favourable.

On the trading front, a presentation by Marilyn Gardner of MGardner Consultancy stressed that a general build-up in capacity in the Asia Pacific region will see trade playing an increasingly important role for producers to manage their surpluses and stabilise markets.

Producer perspectives

As always, Cemtech proceedings featured a strong line-up of speakers from some of the region’s leading cement producers. The keynote speech, presented by Pavel Cech of Lafarge Asia, focussed on the global cement major’s ecology approach and the abundant opportunities in Asia. Lafarge’s industrial ecology approach is inspired by the functioning of ecosystems and harnessing the potential to decrease environmental impacts. Illustrating the role of co-processing and its recognition by regulatory authorities in Asia, Mr Cech cited a business case whereby Lafarge Industrial Ecology has been appointed by Malaysia’s Department of Environment to assist with the disposal of approximately 6000t of solid waste under diligent supervision and process control conditions. “We are here with this unique ‘total’ disposal method to do more for the country, industries and communities,” Mr Cech underlined.

Sunil Gupta charts the construction of

ACC’s 5Mta integrated plant at Jamul, India

A superb paper by Sunil Gupta of India’s second-largest producer, ACC Ltd, outlined the company’s major 5Mta Jamul integrated facility which is replacing older lines and enhancing grinding capacity. Part of the clinker produced in Jamul is earmarked for the expanded Sindri grinding unit and the new grinding works in Kharagpur and Kanti. The Jamul project included a number of ‘firsts’ such as the first time an Indian expansion project has been executed under an EP+C concept, with the three main contractors being Humboldt Wedag Germany, Humboldt Wedag India Pvt Ltd and McNally Bharat Engineering Pvt Ltd. It was also the first time raw grinding would be carried out with a roller press at an ACC plant and the first IKN clinker cooler to be installed by the company.

Cemex Philippines is another regional company very much in expansion mode as it looks to keep pace with steady domestic demand growth. Sherwin San Pablo of Cemex Philippines’ Solid Cement division talked delegates through investments being undertaken at the company’s Apo cement plant where an anticipated shortfall in cement capacity has resulted in the investment of a new 200pth mill. Cemex is also looking to resolve dispatch bottlenecks by installing a new bulk dispatch system while upgrades to terminals in Davao and Iloilo will strengthen its distribution network.

Lafarge Philippines is also investing in new grinding capacity and, speaking from a supplier standpoint, Didier Bourbon of Fives Group outlined the scope of work being undertaken at the cement producer’s Norzagaray and Teresa works. These essentially identical orders include the supply of grinding workshops fitted with the FCB Horomill® 3800, FCB TSV™ 4500 classifier, associated with a dryer-aerodecantor and a TGT™ Filter. The new grinding plants will add 850,000tpa of capacity to each Lafarge plant.

Turning to sustainability practices, Numpol Limprasert of Siam Cement Group (SCG) presented the key measures undertaken by Thailand’s number one cement producer and regional leader in basic building materials. In the last five years, SCG’s energy and climate change initiatives have involved a total investment of THB17,000m (US$525m) resulting in annual savings of THB5700. Sustainable practices include the use of agricultural and industrial waste from both SCG and other industries to achieve an actual substitution rate of 13 per cent in 2013. Coupled with the launch of its ‘green products’ as well as its biodiversity and occupational health and safety efforts, SCG is well on its way to its goal of being recognised as a role model in corporate governance and sustainable development.

Energy, fuel and power opportunities

The theme of achieving more efficient and environmentally-sustainable operations continued throughout proceedings with particular emphasis on energy efficiency and power generation.

With the adoption of waste heat recovery (WHR) systems helping cement producers reduce net energy consumption and remain competitive, Chongren Zhong of Anhui Conch Kawasaki outlined some of its pioneer project successes in Asia. These included the first WHRPG for cement plants in Vietnam (Ha Tien II Cement) and the Vishunupuram plant in India. The longest-performing WHR to be installed by the company is at Taiheiyo Cement’s Kumagai plant in Japan which has demonstrated stable and continuous power output for over 30 years.

Continuing the waste heat theme, Bernard Huybens of IKN (Germany) focussed his presentation on how to improve energy efficiency of WHR systems and the pyroline by recirculating vent air back to the cooler.
Alternative fuels (AF) provided yet another central theme, particularly as its use in Asia is advancing rapidly. Brian McGrath of Resource Co (Australia) put forward a risk-based approach to the implementation of AF projects. This detailed paper looked at the key ingredients for success including engagement with relevant stakeholders, ensuring consistent and reliable volume and quality of fuel, understanding the process, quality and environmental impacts of a change in fuel type, a reliable feed system fit for purpose and learning from experience to optimise the benefits of the fuel.

Also under the AF umbrella, Nicolas Morata of Fives Pillard demonstrated how to achieve high-level alternative solid fuel substitution in the main burner. In addition, Joerg Domros of BMH Technologies explained how the company is helping regional producers overcome the challenge of converting Asian municipal solid waste into high-quality alternative fuel using its Tyrannosaurus® technology.

Technical guidance

The conference continued with a range of presentations focussing on all areas of cement manufacturing with specific references to projects across the region. Contributions included a paper by Amit Purohit of ABB Global Industries (India) exploring how raw mix composition can influence a cement plant’s operation, energy consumption and cement strength.

In terms of pyroprocessing advances, an indepth presentation by Tahir Abbas of Cinar (UK) provided case studies on low capex approaches to calciner/preheater and kiln operation for increased output.
The story of Holcim Untervaz’s ETA cooler upgrade was told by Andre Voz of Claudius Peters Projects who detailed the replacement of the old satellite clinker cooler at the Switzerland-based plant with an ETA Cooler 856M. This latest technology utilises exhaust air for waste heat recovery which, according to the German equipment specialist, offers the benefits of lower operating costs and reduced maintenance. 
The modernisation of mill separators for grinding systems was the focus of a paper by Christian Pfeiffer’s Joe Khor as he described the modification of a competitor-modified third-generation separator at Holcim Malaysia’s Pasir Gudang works. The Christian Pfeiffer re-modified QDK separator resulted in output increasing by 10tph and power consumption reduced by 4kWh.

The use of chemical additives in blended cement was detailed by Jorg M Schabback of Sika Services (Germany), who looked at the targets achieved in projects undertaken in the Asia-Pacific region.
Advanced conveying was the focus of a paper by Vesa Peurakari of Aumund Asia as he evaluated the benefits of rebuild versus new-build conveying technologies.

Continuing to the very end of the production chain, the latest bagging advances were highlighted by Mark van der Merwe of by BillerudKörsnas with ways in which producers can optimise their paper sack packaging. Ulrich Hock and Soravudh Chotivanich of Beumer (Germany) also took to the Cemtech stage to present the company’s state-of-the-art conveying, filling and packaging technologies, citing how the simple modification of an existing packer at Lafarge’s Iligan works in the Philippines led to packer accuracy improving by more than 65 per cent. Thierry Bogaert of Bogaert Architecture (France) rounded off technical proceedings by presenting architectural perspectives on cement plant design, explaining how a well-considered approach should bring together productivity targets within a plant’s urban context and surrounding landscape.

Exhibition area

An international exhibition, featuring many of the leading equipment suppliers to the global cement industry, provided a central point for further discussions on a one-to-one basis. For suppliers and cement makers alike, this busy hub provided an excellent opportunity to catch up with industry developments, renew contacts and create new business relationships all under the one roof.

A taste of Malaysia

A variety of traditional music and dance entertained delegates during the Cemtech Asia 2014 Gala Dinner

As always, Cemtech’s warm hospitality was extended to all participants during the event. Sightseeing tours to some of KL’s most popular landmarks and attractions were arranged for accompanying partners, enabling them to learn more about Malaysia’s rich culture and heritage. An alfresco Welcome Reception as well as outdoor lunches enabled delegates to soak up the tropical climate and take in the  magnificent views of the iconic Petronas towers. And for the much-anticipated grand finale, the Cemtech Gala Dinner saw delegates dine in five-star fashion whilst being entertained by a variety of traditional music and dance, offering a flavour of Malaysia’s diverse multicultural make-up.

Article first published in International Cement Review, August 2014.