Cement Factory Quality Control Course

By David Hargreaves

A six-week modular course exploring the quality control of cement manufacture, including the different quality control challenges faced by different cement factories around the world, plus the philosophies, testing, tools and equipment used to address those quality control challenges.

Course Content

Module 1 explores the quality control challenge presented by cement manufacture. Cement is a hydraulic binder used in conjunction with other materials whose performance can only inferred and predicted during its manufacture. As a consequence there is an overriding requirement to minimise variability in material composition and processing throughout the manufacturing process. Quality assurance systems must be developed to control the composition of all inputs to the manufacturing process and all processing conditions. Cement products may be developed for multiple applications but the requirement to minimise variation remains paramount.

Module 2 – Statistical process control (SPC) relies on the centering of quality targets on the requirements of the customer or application, followed by the reduction of the variation about those targets to ensure that non-compliant material is never produced. It is therefore the methodology to be used in the quality control of cement manufacture and the main topic of module 2 of the course. This use of statistical process control needs to extend far beyond the laboratory and composition testing of the materials. It needs to be extended to control the manufacturing conditions within the process. Progressive reduction of variation using SPC techniques leads to the continuous improvement which is demanded of all quality management systems.

In module 3 we explore the detail of the quality control throughout the cement manufacturing process. Raw material chemistry control and raw mix design, kiln feed particle size and reactivity control, clinker real mineralogy control via microscopy or XRD. Cement surface area and particle size distribution, gypsum dehydration and calcium sulphate mineralogy, extender quality and storage or transportation considerations. Finally the physical testing of cement to ensure that the manufacturing quality control addresses the needs of the cement in its concrete and mortar applications.

Course Material

Throughout the course the lectures are supplemented with exercises allowing participants to relate course material to their cement factories, or the cement factories of their clients in the case of equipment or service suppliers to the cement industry. Certification is achieved by completing a satisfactory level of exercises, and by end of module exams.

The course is complete with downloadable handouts of the lectures, exercises, and reading material for the training record.