This year National Council for Cement and Building Materials (NCB), the Indian organization for research and technological development under the administrative control of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of the Government of India held the 15th edition of the NCB International Seminar, which again took place at the Manekshaw Centre in New Delhi. The seminar aims to bring together planners, scientists, manufacturers, suppliers and users from the entire cement, concrete and other building material industries.
The event started with the traditional lighting of the lamp which was followed by the welcome address by Dr. S.K. Breja, Seminar Organizing Secretary. Following this, the Director General of the NCB and Chairman of the 15th NCB International Seminar Organizing Committee, Ashutosh Saxena, presented the NCB perspective regarding the technological development and trends, especially with regard to sustainability, alternative fuels and raw materials.
Mr. Ajay Kapur, MD & CEO, Ambuja Cements Limited, spoke from the industrial perspective for the construction sector, giving a positive outlook for the future with regard to the improvement in technology.
Due to other important commitments Mr. Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, was unable to attend the NCB International Seminar personally. Nevertheless he was able to welcome the delegates and to hold his inaugural address via video live stream. Regarding the technological development of the cement industry, one of the main challenges for the future perspective will be the limited materials. To help cope with the future challenges he confirmed the support of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Mr. M. Singhi, Chief Patron and Group CEO Dalmia Cement (Baharat) Ltd., emphasized the importance of combining the aspects of both sustainability and profitability. After the presidential address by Dr. S. Chouksey, Wholetime Director, J. K. Lakshmi Cement Limited, and Chairman of the NCB Board of Governors, the seminar’s booklet was officially presented to the delegates.
As usual the seminar was accompanied by a technical exhibition. The inauguration of this technical exhibition was the final part of the inaugurational programme. About 80 participating companies presenting their products and knowledge in several different parts of the building.
Experts from India and abroad held about 200 presentations in 25 sessions during the four days of the conference. Two special technical sessions were held: The first was a special lecture given by Dr. Kåre Helge Karstensen, Foundation for Scientific and Industrial Research (SINTEF), Norway, entitled “Formation and control of dioxins in dry pre-heater/pre-claciner kilns co-processing wastes”. The second special technical session was a Panel Discussion with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) on the topic “Low carbon transitions for the cement and concrete sector – a global partnership approach”. The panel discussion was opened and moderated by Philippe Fonta of CSI/WBCSD. Furthermore, the panel consisted of Sanjay Jain, Dalmia Cement (Baharat) Ltd., India, Sivaram Krishnamoorthy, IFC South Asia, and Berthold Kren, Geocyle, India.
Cement, concrete and building materials
On the first day, three plenary sessions were held in the Zorawar Auditorium. The sessions started with the topic “Mine planning and raw material resource management”. In the afternoon two sessions focused on alternative/waste fuels and raw materials. The large number of case studies demonstrated the high impact that co-processing of AFR already has in the Indian as well as the global cement industry.
From the second day onwards the technical sessions A were conducted in the Zorawar Auditorium, while the sessions B were held concurrently in the Ashoka Convention Hall.
The A sessions were dedicated to the cement manufacturing process. Starting with cement plant machinery and project engineering in general, advances in grinding systems were presented before turning to productivity enhancement and process optimization, a topic that was covered in two sessions. Another session showed diverse aspects from environmental management and sustainable development, also covered in a further B session. Quality management, sustainable construction practices as well as analytical methods and lab automation rounded of the wide range of issues in these sessions.
Portland, blended and special cements were one of the main focuses of the B sessions, supplemented by presentations on the performance and durability of concrete. In addition, the use of alternate aggregates as well as presentations on other building materials and binders were discussed. The problems of concrete structures regarding distress investigations, repair, strengthening and retrofitting were topics of another session. Both in an A and a B session energy conversation systems were a main focus of the presentations and discussions.
In each session a large number of case studies gave a very good insight into the implementation of new methods and processes or products. Covering a very wide spectrum of themes on cement, concrete and the construction sectors, the large number of presentations supplied a profound overview on recent research as well as processing trends. This year’s NCB Seminar was also a very good opportunity and stage for a detailed exchange of information and knowledge as well as networking on a national and international scale.
The seminar concluded with the presentation of the National Awards for “Energy Efficiency”, “Environmental Excellence” and “Quality Excellence” in the Indian cement industry.