Additives for competitive limestone cement in Asian markets: Jorg Schrabback, Sika Services AG (Germany)

Filmed at Cemtech Asia 2015, 21-24 June, Grand Hyatt, Bangkok, Thailand


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I want to talk about Limestone cement and especially about competitive Limestone and for that's perspective I want to first define what means competitive. In general it's to offer solution which allows gaining a technical or economical advantage compared to other available solution. This can be on the one side in construction material, for example concrete versus steel as you can see at the picture from Singapore skyline, it's really competitive solution over there. The different skyscrapers using different technologies, everyone tries to be the best, the most efficient. So we've to ask the questions then, what is the cost performance or in other words how much benefits do I get for the cost which I have to invest? But I also have to ask the question, do I have the possibility to achieve the same performance with a different way? Finally, what would be the cost of this alternative solution?

So, what applies to concrete applies also to cement. I have cement from Producer A, and cement from Producer B, or Limestone Cement versus Fly Ash cement and so on. So, I always can compare different solutions, and I always have to ask myself what is the cost performance? Do I have different possibilities to achieve the same performance, and what is the cost for that?

And finally that applies also to chemical additives. I have chemical additives from Producer A or B and I have Technology C or D, so I can compare these technologies, and always these questions of cost performance apply. So, the target is to provide the competitive edge, and in this case I'm talking about the competitive edge which the chemical industry wants to supply to the cement producer.

We heard a lot about the cement market share in Asia and I don't want to go into detail. It's a very important mark, it's dominated by China but we also have very big market here in South East Asia. However, it's still very large proportion of ordinary Portland Cement which we find here in this market, which offers a huge potential to cost savings and environmental benefits using blended cements. However, there are strong differences within the region and that applies on the one side to the industry and available clinker replacements, but naturally also to the local challengers and to the local standards which are necessary to follow.

So, Limestone is a key element to improve the plant profitability, to reduce the carbon footprint, and to achieve cement volumes which are necessary to fulfill the market demands. The share of Limestone varies quite significantly in the region from zero or 5% in India and Thailand to quite substantial parts in the Philippines, and Indonesia.

And also the composition varies significantly. When we see, we sometimes have only 10% Limestone in the cements while other producers go up to 30 or even more percent. Limestone offers a lot of opportunities, it's the material which is the most available, so we have even more Limestone than clinker naturally.

So the lowest footprint, carbon footprint, and the lowest cost. So, Limestone is a very attractive clinker replacement which should be considered. However, it incorporates technical challenges. One of the challenges from the production point of view, yes it's true, Limestone is easy to grind and with this we can easily achieve the Blaine value but we also have the big risk of coating of the mill internals which then negatively affects the production.

Frequently, people struggle already just to incorporate 15% of Limestone because the material is easy to over-grind and then has negative effects also on the clinker grinding. And finally, also the workability of the concrete

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