How is cement manufactured?

There’s a high chance you’ve encountered cement today, whether walking on concrete pavement or within the confines of your office or home. But how much do you know about cement? Here, API UK answers all your burning questions about the cement manufacturing process, including how cement is made and where it comes from.

WHAT IS CEMENT?

Cement is one of those materials that is everywhere but perhaps not fully understood by those outside the cement manufacturing industry. Cement is a bonding agent frequently used in the construction industry for bonding bricks and blocks. It is also used in making concrete, the world’s most abundant man-made material and the building block for much of the built environment around us.

WHERE DOES CEMENT COME FROM?

Cement combines calcium silicates and calcium aluminates derived from limestone, shale, clay and mudstone. These elements react with water to set the cement, which is slowed down somewhat by adding a small amount of gypsum. There are currently 11 integrated cement manufacturing plants and six grinding plants dotted across the country as part of an industry worth around £882 million to the UK economy.

British cement plants produced just over 9 million tonnes of cement in 2019, according to figures from Statista. However, cement production in this country fell between 2007 and 2009 and has never fully recovered. China is the world’s leading cement-producing nation, producing 2.2 billion tonnes in 2019. That was seven times the output of India, the second-largest cement producer, and 242 times that of the UK.

HOW IS CEMENT MADE?

From mining the raw materials through to packaging and shipping the final product, the cement manufacturing process is laborious and involves several stages of production. First, having extracted the necessary raw materials (like limestone and clay), these quarry stones are transported to the plant by truck or conveyor belt for crushing. The resulting smaller chunks of rock are then stored in silos for further processing.

These raw materials are pulverised in vertical or horizontal mills. Next is the calcination stage, which involves heating limestone or chalk with shale or clay to around 1400°C to produce a raw material known as ‘clinker’. Finally, the clinker is ground into a fine powder using various-sized steel balls and combined with gypsum to create the final cement product. This is then stored in silos for transporting in bulk or to be packaged in sacks. 

COMPRESSED AIR IN CEMENT MANUFACTURING

Compressed air is an integral resource in many cement manufacturing plants. It is widely used for various applications, from powering specialised tools and pneumatic cylinders to the pneumatic conveyancing of cement powder from storage silos to the production area. Compressed air is also used to run vital pneumatic aeration systems that keep the flow of cement powder moving freely along the production line.

PNEUMATIC EQUIPMENT FOR MAKING CEMENT

As an energy-hungry resource, compressed air requires careful management. However, the smallest fractional gains in efficiency can translate into major cost savings, which is where API UK can assist. We supply a wide range of high-quality pneumatic equipment to our valued customers in the cement manufacturing industry. API products are durable, reliable and efficient enough to deliver optimal results for cement manufacturers.

The following is just a selection of our most popular pneumatic equipment for cement manufacturing:

LARGE BORE ISO CYLINDERS

API UK supplies large bore ISO 15552 cylinders with bore lengths up to 125mm and a maximum stroke length of 2,500mm. Our large bore ISO pneumatic cylinders can handle even the most demanding cement manufacturing applications with nitrile rubber cushioning for prolonged service life and optional FKM seals for extreme temperatures. We even offer same-day builds at no extra cost for the ultimate convenience.

CONTROL PANELS

API UK builds bespoke control panels for the specific requirements of cement manufacturers. Our technical experts can manufacture simple yet effective pneumatic control panels tailored to individual specifications, providing a low-maintenance, fit-for-purpose pneumatic system. For instance, we previously designed a vehicle-mounted panel for a five-pod cement dispensing system to deliver accurate amounts of cement.

CONTACT API UK TODAY

The cement industry relies on a dependable compressed air supply to ensure operations run smoothly. That is no small feat, requiring a huge amount of energy. However, cement manufacturers can achieve ample savings by installing pneumatic equipment that delivers greater operational efficiencies. API UK’s range of pneumatic equipment can streamline your energy consumption and boost your productivity, saving you precious time and money.  

To discuss your cement manufacturing requirements or arrange a free on-site visit, speak with our technical team today. As expert manufacturers of first-class pneumatic products, we can help you understand the options available and guide you toward the best system solution for your cement manufacturing application. Contact us today on 01782 206 995 or email [email protected]