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Indian Cement Industry: A Technology Perspective

Dripto Mukhopadhyay

Indian cement industry has passed through many ups and down. It was under strict
government control till 1982. Subsequently, it was partially decontrolled and in 1989, the
industry was opened for free market competition along with withdrawal of price and
distribution controls. Finally, the industry was completely de-licensed in July 1991 under the
policy of economic liberalization and the industry witnessed spectacular growth in production
as well as capacity. Over time, the industry has also witnessed spread of the plants in several
regions of the country as presented in Table 1- 2, which were previously concentrated in
close proximity to the raw material.

Capacity and production in MT

250
200
150
100
50
0
1950

1980

1900

Capacity

2000

2009

Production

Fig 1. Capacity, Production and Capacity Utilization in Indian Cement Industry

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250

Consumption in MT

200

150

100

50

0
200304

200405

200506

200607

200708

200809

200910

Fig 2. Cement Consumption in India

100
87

83
74

80
67

75

60
40
20
0
1950

1980

1900

2000

Capacity Utilization

Fig 3. Capacity Utilization in Indian Cement Industry

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2009

Table 1: Distribution of Cement Plants with Installed Capacity above 0.50 MnT
State
Andhra Pradesh
Assam
Bihar
Chhattisgarh
Gujarat
Haryana
Himachal Pradesh
Jharkhand
Karnataka
Madhya Pradesh
Maharashtra
Meghalaya
Orissa
Punjab
Rajasthan
Tamil Nadu
Uttar Pradesh
Uttarakhand
West Bengal

Installed Capacity above 0.5 Million Tonnes


No. of Plants
32
1
1
8
11
2
5
3
8
11
9
1
4
2
18
17
8
2
7

Percentage Share
21.33
0.67
0.67
5.33
7.33
1.33
3.33
2.00
5.33
7.33
6.00
0.67
2.67
1.33
12.00
11.33
5.33
1.33
4.67

Table 2: Distribution of Cement Plants with Installed Capacity Less than 0.5 MNT
Installed Capacity less than 0.5 Million Tonnes
State
Andhra Pradesh
Assam
Chhattisgarh
Delhi
Gujarat
Haryana
Himachal Pradesh
Jammu & Kashmir
Jharkhand
Karnataka
Kerala
Madhya Pradesh
Maharashtra
Meghalaya
Punjab
Rajasthan

No. of Plants
3
1
2
1
3
1
1
1
2
3
2
1
1
3
1
2

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Share in %
9.09
3.03
6.06
3.03
9.09
3.03
3.03
3.03
6.06
9.09
6.06
3.03
3.03
9.09
3.03
6.06

Technologies Adopted by Indian Cement Industry


Generally cement manufacturing process involves following stages:
1. Quarrying raw materials
2. Crushing
3. Pre-homogenization and raw meal grinding
4. Pre-heating
5. Precalcining
6. Clinker production in the rotary kiln
7. Cooling and storing
8. Blending
9. Cement grinding
10. Storing in the cement silo
India is the second largest cement producing country in the world with a distinction of
operating plants with varying capacity and varying technologies. Some of the modern plants
can be compared to the best plants in the world in terms of variety, quality and energy
efficiency. Indian cement industry remained proactive in adopting technological
advancements taking place all over the world. The share of energy inefficient wet process
plants had slowly decreased from 94.4% in 1960 to 61.6% in 1980. Currently, the share of
wet process is only about 1% according to industry sources.
During the 80's and 90's, major technological advancements took place world over in design
of cement plant equipment/systems primarily in the following major areas:
a)
b)
c)
d)
e)

Pre-calcination
High pressure grinding
Automation in process control
High efficiency particle separation
Clinker cooling

These resulted in significant transformation of the production process globally. The Indian
cement industry closely followed the international trend. Energy conservation has been the
prime objective that propelled major technological changes in the industry. A few recent
technologies that helped Indian cement industry to consolidate in sustained energy savings
are broadly discussed below.

Raw Material Grinding:

Raw material grinding is a critical mechanical operation that

determines the sizing of equipment in cement plant. This process consumes about 20% of

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total energy consumed in the plant. Depending on the raw materials physical characteristics,
various grinding systems are used in Indian cement industry:
a)
b)
c)
d)
e)

Ball mills
Vertical Roller Mills (VRM)
Ball mills with high pressure grinding rolls.
High pressure grinding rolls
Horizontal roller mills

Vertical roller mills have been widely accepted for combined grinding and drying of moist
raw materials due to their excellent drying capacity and low energy consumption. While a
number of plants are still using ball mills, many have installed pre-grinders like roller press to
improve energy efficiency. Here, the extent to which the roller press is loaded determines the
efficiency of the grinding circuit. Use of roller press alone as a finish grinding equipment to
give the final product is also a new development.
Horizontal roller mill is yet another improvement in grinding systems incorporating the
advantages of vertical roller mill and roller press. An additional advantage with the horizontal
roller mill is its low space requirement. A compact horizontal roller mill with an in-built
separator is now in the process of development. This kind of a mill would eliminate many
small conveyors carrying material to separator and from separator.
The efficiency of the grinding circuit and power consumption of the mill fan largely depend
on the performance of the classifier. Perhaps classifier is the part that has undergone
maximum changes and has been the target part for efficiency improvement. A variety of high
efficiency classifiers are employed in grinding circuits.

Pyro-processing:

Pyro-processing section in a cement plant comprises pre-heater, rotary

kiln and clinker cooler. This section is considered as the main element of cement plant as
cement clinker formation takes place in kiln. This section determines the size of a cement
plant as well as sizes of all other equipment. With the introduction of pre-calciners in 80's,
the size of cement plant had considerably increased. With technology upgradation, a kiln size
of 7000 tpd is considered as an economic size which was at the level of 600 tpd in 70s.
Pre-heaters can be classified into the following 5 categories irrespective of the manufacturer.

Pre-heater without calciner


Inline calciner with air passing through the kiln
Inline calciner with external tertiary air duct
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Separate line calciner


Separate line calciner with inline calciner

Cyclones are basic units in a pre-heater system. Efficiency of cyclones depends on pressure
drop and change of temperature of gas across each stage. Introduction of Low Pressure drop
(LP) cyclones has brought the pressure drop across each stage to around 50 mm WG from
around 150 mm WG in conventional cyclones. A typical 6 stage pre-heater with LP cyclones
will have a pre-heater exhaust gas temperature of around 2500C and draught of around 500
mm WG. This in turn leads to decrease in pre-heater fan power consumption. The reduced
temperatures at pre-heater exhaust contribute to environmental improvement.
The burners also play an important role in determining the thermal efficiency of the pyro
processing system. There has been a continuous effort on operating the burners with the least
possible primary air. Multi-channel burners that consume only 5% primary air are being used
in many plants. This leads to a direct thermal energy saving of 15 kcal/kg clinker. These
modern burners also facilitate easy flame control in the process.
Clinker cooler is also critical for the production process. It has dual functions, i.e. reducing
the temperature of the clinker to an acceptable level for further transport as well as grinding
and recover energy from the heat of the hot clinker by heating the cooling air. Mainly two
types of clinker coolers are used at present in cement industry. They are:
a) Grate cooler
b) Planetary cooler
Conventional grate coolers are still used by many plants due to comparatively higher thermal
efficiency though they account for several bottlenecks. There have been a number of design
improvements in grate coolers in recent times, mainly on grate plate to improve the
efficiencies simultaneously reducing the cooling air intake. More and more cement plants
with conventional grate coolers are retrofitting the coolers with high efficiency coolers. This
has resulted in low electrical energy consumption in cooling air fans and also in cooler ID
fan.

Cement Grinding:

Cement grinding is another energy intensive operation. Cement

grinding consumes around 25-30% of the total energy consumed in a cement plant. Typical
cement grinding systems in use are:

Open circuit mills


Closed circuit mills
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Roller press with open circuit ball mill


Roller press with closed circuit ball mill.
Roller press in finished mode
Vertical roller mill
Horizontal roller mill

For many years Ball Mills were in use in open circuit and closed circuit mode. In recent past,
roll press as has been introduced and this has led to substantial reduction in energy
consumption. Use of vertical roller mill for cement grinding is also very recent and the
performance results are reported to be encouraging. Horizontal roller mills combine the
advantages of roll press and vertical roller mill. These mills are reported to be highly energy
efficient. Horizontal roller mills are best suited for slag grinding.
Separator is crucial equipment in cement mill section as it has direct bearing on production
and quality of cement and energy consumption. High efficiency separators are used in
modern cement plants and old plants are also going for a retrofit. Apart from these, auxiliary
items like mill liners and diaphragms have also been improved continuously over time and
these items in different designs are available contributing to energy reduction in cement
grinding.

Table 3: Technology of Indian Cement Industry at a Glance


Low Technology Plants

Modern Plants

Global Technology

Mining and
Material Handling

Conventional

Computer aided

Computer aided

Crushing

Two stage

Single stage

Conveying of
Limestone

Dumpers/Ropeway/
Tippers
Ball Mills with / without
conventional classifier
Wet
Semi Dry
Dry
-4 stage pre-heater
- conventional coller
- Single channel burner

Grinding

Pyro-Processing

Blending &
Storage

Batch Blending silos

Belt conveyors
VRMs, Roller Presses
with dynamic classifier
Dry
-5/6 stage pre-heater
- High efficiency coller
Multi-channel burner

Continuous Blending
silos

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In-pit crushing &


conveying
Pipe conveyors, Belt
conveyors
VRMs, Roller Press
Dry
6 stage pre-heater
High efficiency coller
Multi-channel burner
Co-processing WDF
Co-generation of power
Low Nox/SO2 emission
technology
Continuous Blending
silos
Multi-chamber silos

Bag

Packing &
Dispatchh

Dome silos
Bulk
Palletizzing and shrinnk
wrappiing

Bag
Bulk

Relay Logic / Hard Wiredd


/ PLC

Process control
c

DDC

DDC

Fuzzy log
gic expert sysstem
Energy
ption level
consump
Plant Sizze (TPD)

90-100 kWh//t cem.


900-1000 kcaal/kg cl.
300 1800

75-85 kW
Wh/t cem.
700-800 kcal/kg
k
cl.
3000 60000

Neuroffuzzy expert
system
m
70-80 kWh/t
k
cem.
675-74
40 kcal/kg cl.
6000 12000

Outcomee of Techno
ological Chaanges
Consequent to grow
wing competiition witnesssed in the post
p
de-contrrol era, one of the majoor
developm
ments has beeen the introduction of hhigher grades of cement. The strenggth parameters
obtained with moderrn technolog
gies in Indiaa are far high
her than thee BIS' speciffied standardds
for respective gradess of cement.

8
80.00

6
60.00

4
40.00

2
20.00

0.00
OPC

PPC

P
PSC

Others

Fig 4.
4 Share in Tootal Producttion (in %)
Note: OPC - Ordinarry Portland Cement, PPC - Portland
P
Pozzolana Cement
PSC
C - Portland Sllag Cement

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Conclud
ding Remark
ks and Policcy Message
Almost all
a cement pllants are currrently equippped with hiigh efficienccy dust collection system
ms
like Electro Static Prrecipitators. It has been rrealized thatt running thee plant in env
vironmentallly
friendly way
w has direect bearing on
o the profitaability and im
mage of the company. Use
U of blendeed
cement, utilization of
o waste heaat in cemennt plant to generate
g
elecctrical energ
gy and use of
o
alternate fuels are a few exam
mples explaining the co
oncern of ceement indusstry not onlly
towards protection of
o environm
ment but also ecological balancing.. There havve been manny
attempts to recover the
t heat lostt in exhaust gas streamss of cement plants. Withh the use of 6
stage pree-heaters, hiigh efficienccy coolers and
a better reefractory m
management practices, thhe
quantity of heat lost from the ceement plants has come down
d
significcantly. Now
w technologiees
ms from pre--heater and clinker
c
cooleer
are availaable to recovver the heat from exhauust gas stream
and geneerate electriccal energy. More
M
cementt plants in In
ndia are expeected to adoopt such waste
heat recoovery system
ms mainly to
t counteracct the poweer shortage. As the electrical poweer
generated
d from wastte heat doess not requiree combustionn of any fosssil fuel, succh an attemppt
would ennable the ceement plant to significanntly contribuute to the m
movement off reduction in
i
greenhou
use gases.

% of Production

80

60

40

20

0
1999

2004
OPC

2009
PP
PC+PSC

Fig 5. Shifft in Productiion

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Table 4: Comparison
n of Carbon E
Emission from
m Cement Manufacturin
M
ng
OPC
Calcinatio
on
Combustio
on of fuel
Use of pow
wer
Total

PPC
%

Ton
nne /t

Tonn
ne /t

0.50

60
6

0.337

58

0.24

29
2

0.118

28

0.09

11

0.009

14

0.83

10
00

0.664

100
0

VRMs & 30000 TPD Kilns


1200 TPD 4-ST
4
SP Kilns
Low
L
Pressure, PrePC Kilnss

Rolleer Press & High


H

heater
h

&

Exxpert

Efficciency Separatorss
Dry Proceess Kilns
High Efficiiency Fans,
Mechanical Conveyors

KW
WH/T Cement

Fig 6. Tren
nd of Electriccal Energy Consumption
C
n in Indian Cement Indusstry
Source: Adopted
A
from Raina,
R
S. J. (200
02), Energy Effficiency Impro
ovement in Inddian Cement Inndustry, Nationnal
Council for
f Cement & Building
B
Materrials, paper preepared for IIPE
EC Programmee.

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1700
120 TPD 4-ST Kilns

PC Kilns

1500
Wet to Dry Conversion

Dry Process Kilns

1300
5-Stage PC Kilns

1100

6-Stage PC Kilns & Multi


Channel Burners

900
High Efficiency Coolers

700
1960

1970

1980

1900

KCAL/KGCL

2000

Fig 7. Trend of Thermal Energy Consumption in Indian Cement Industry


Source: Adopted from Raina, S. J. (2002), Energy Efficiency Improvement in Indian Cement Industry, National
Council for Cement & Building Materials, paper prepared for IIPEC Programme.

Production of blended cement is also another outcome of the new researches in theindustry.
Blended cements are hydraulic binders in which a part of portland cement is replaced by
other hydraulic or non-hydraulic materials. They display some superior properties directly
related to durability apart from normal properties of Portland cement. It has been found that
fly ash generated in thermal power plants and slag generated in steel plants is suitable for
manufacture of blended cements. Fly ash or slag is inter-ground with cement clinker to
produce blended cement. Many developed countries started using such blended cements in
large quantities in construction of critical structures such as rocket launch pads, sea water
jetties, large dams etc. Production of blended cements directly increases the plant capacity
without any need for creating additional clinker making capacity. This reduces the limestone
usage and fuel usage in cement plants and in turn lessens the greenhouse gases emissions.
Increasing scarcity of good quality coal and power at an attractive price and an ever
increasing energy cost to total production cost are forcing the Indian cement industry to look
for alternate fuels. Use of cheap alternate fuels like lignite, pet coke, rice husk, groundnut
shells etc. is in practice now. In some European cement plants the cost of fuel is reported to
be zero due to the use of 100% waste fuels. In fact, in many cases the cement plants are paid

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for burning the municipal and industrial wastes in such places. Indian cement industry should
also look for such alternatives. However, this requires development of infrastructure at
cement plant site as well as waste generation and collection infrastructure.

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