Indian Cement Review organises a flagship cement industry event every two years, which incorporates a conference on relevant topics of the industry sector, and an exhibition called as "Cement Expo", which provides a wonderful opportunity to all stakeholders of the industry to showcase their products and services as applicable. On the second day of the event, the much-awaited and coveted ICR Cement Awards are given away. This time in December 2018, there were however, two things done differently, in this biennial event. One was that the event was held in Hyderabad, for the first time outside Mumbai. Hyderabad being the true centre of gravity of the southern cement industry and the deccan cement clusters, this shift of venue attracted many a new participants from the southern zone of India.
The other new introduction was a parallel workshop in the afternoon of day one, on the highly relevant topic of O&M practices in the cement industry. This session, even though held concurrently with a very important afternoon session of the conference proper, held its sway and garnered a strong audience from amongst the expo visitors. This was probably because the organisers thought it fit to structure the workshop on unconventional but extremely interesting operational topics. It was quite satisfying to note that in spite of the ambient expo noise and transient disturbances, the participants in the workshop, speakers and listeners alike, were immersed in exchange of knowledge.
The workshop opened with a presentation by Satyabrata Sharma of Orient Cement, talking about application of SNCR in dealing with NOx in cement plants. The presentation covered the situations of excess NOx while firing pet coke in the kiln, and the practical adjustments carried out in ammonia injection nozzles, etc., thereby giving an idea of how NOx can be dealt with, in cement kilns.
The next speaker was Rajeev Kumar Laharia of Calderys Refractories, Nagpur, talking about the potential of shotcreting technology in constructing monolithic refractory lining for cement kilns, including typical advantages of such applications. This method avoids formwork, and reduces porosity. This application methodology saves time, which is very very important particularly in sold out markets.
Berthold Kren, Director, Geocycle India (the AFR arm of ACC and Ambuja Cement) spoke next, and made a detailed case for feeding alternative fuels into cement kilns, sharing valuable experiences from Europe. According to Kren, fuels from municipal wastes hold out considerable promise, provided the same is handled segregated, stored and fed appropriately.
The last presentation, entitled "Safety in Cement Plants - A case for Stronger Systems and Discipline" by V Sashikumar, was the correct capstone for the session on O&M Practices. Operation and Maintenance of cement plants are not complete without a strong regime of safety. Sashikumar made a very convincing case for heightened focus on safe practices in cement plants, with particular references made to root-cause analysis of accidents, and encouraged plant teams to improve safety parameters in cement plants.
The session was moderated by Sumit Banerjee, Chairman, Editorial Advisory Board of ICR. Our grateful thanks are due to Prof K Bhattacharjee of AKS University, Satna, Madhya Pradesh, who gracefully volunteered as the official workshop reporter.
- SUMIT BANERJEE