Global Economic Scenario – Challenges and Outlook

11th NCB International Seminar on Cement and Building Materials, New Delhi/India (17.–20.11.2009)

The 11th NCB International Seminar on Cement and Building Materials held at The Ashok, New Delhi, on 17.-20.11.2009, recorded the overwhelming participation (Figs. 1– 4) of about 700 delegates including 67 overseas delegates from various countries – Austria, Bhutan, China, Ethiopia, Germany, Italy, Japan, Nepal, Norway, Switzerland, The Netherlands, UK, USA and Vietnam. The event was sponsored by 21 cement plants, machinery manufacturers, government departments, etc (see


The seminar as well as the accompanying technical exhibition were inaugurated by Shri Jyotiraditya Scindia, Hon’ble Minister of State for Commerce & Industry, Govt. of India. The presidential address was delivered by Smt. Vinita Singhania, President-CMA and Vice Chairperson NCB. The technological perspective of the Indian cement industry was presented by Shri M Vasudeva, DG-NCB and the general situation in the industry was presented by Shri Manoj Gaur, Executive Chairman, Jaiprakash Associates Ltd, the Chief Patron of the Seminar. On this occasion, the Hon’ble Minister also released a special publication entitled “Global Economic Scenario - Challenges and Outlook for the Indian Cement and Construction Industries” and the Exhibitors’ Directory.


In his inaugural address, Shri Jyotiraditya Scindia mentioned that in spite of the recent slow-down in tandem with the global recession, the Indian economy is still the second fastest growing economy in the world. He complimented the cement industry and the construction sector for recording a commendable growth rate of around 8  %. Shri Scindia said that the per capita cement consumption of 156 kg in India is very low, compared with the world average of 396 kg. He affirmed that the government will continue to help the cement industry in enhancing the level of consumption of cement in the country. The chief guest further mentioned that the cement industry is energy intensive and has high CO2 emissions per tonne of cement produced. Hence, the biggest challenge today is sustainability. The Indian cement industry deserves commendation for its long-standing efforts towards reduction of its carbon footprint by adopting the best technologies and manufacturing practices. He was of the opinion that though the best energy consumption achieved by the cement plants in India is comparable to the best in the world, the industry cannot afford to slacken the pace of its energy conservation activities, which call for sustained efforts in further modernizing older plants and fine tuning of operations to minimize energy consumption and the attendant greenhouse gas emissions.


The Hon’ble Minister further informed that investment in construction accounts for nearly 11 % of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and provides employment to about 40 million skilled, semiskilled and unskilled manpower. However, the construction industry does not have a matching scale of modernization like the cement industry. In most of the developed countries, Ready Mixed Concrete (RMC) contributes to 70–80  % of the total construction, while in India, it is only 10  %. Efforts are required to popularize RMC for consistency in quality, conservation of material resources and prevention of environmental degradation.


In her presidential address, Smt Vinita Singhania pointed out that the cement industry has achieved spectacular results in terms of energy conservation and environmental improvement. The quality of cement produced in the country is also among the best in the international market and can easily compete for exports. It is important that the industry continues to adopt pragmatic and well-considered strategies that would contribute to further improving productivity and quality and cutting costs.

She mentioned that the government of India has envisaged massive housing and infrastructure development programmes. To meet the expected increase in demand for cement, the capacity of the cement industry is targeted to reach about 300 million tonnes by the end of 2011–12. The Indian cement industry is in a position to meet this challenge with the support of the government. The industry has been appealing to the government to address a few areas of concern confronting the cement industry, such as inadequate coal supplies, rail transportation problems, high taxes, lack of modernized ports with facilities for bulk cement loading, lack of suitable infrastructure i.e. approach roads, to transport cement/clinker to the ports. The industry looks forward to the government’s help in these areas.


Smt. Singhania also mentioned that the role of R&D in the growth of the cement industry in India, whether for cost reduction, conservation of energy and materials, environmental improvement, quality improvement or for rational utilization of the product cannot be over emphasized. Today’s fast progressing world is facing new challenges to its progress and no industry can grow without R&D support. She emphasized that any attempt to reduce the expenditure on R&D for considerations of economy will be counter productive in the long run and therefore, adequate funds have to be made available for meaningful R&D.

In his speech, Shri M Vasudeva, DG-NCB covered technological advancements, energy performance, environmental improvement, waste management, quality management, customer perspectives, emerging concrete technologies as well as the contribution of the NCB, the apex organization in ­
India for technology support in these areas. He mentioned that major breakthroughs in the manufacturing technology which we know today are unlikely in the foreseeable future. Therefore, apart from further modernization of older plants through ­technology upgrades, the industry should continue to concentrate on the enhancement of productivity and ­
efficiency through balancing of equipment and optimization and fine tuning of operations. He stressed that it is now a ­common ­realization that mitigation of global warming and ­sustainable development will have to be the guiding ­
philosophies behind all developmental activities in future. Hence “conserve, recycle and renew”, i.  e. the conservation of material and energy resources, recycling of wastes and by­products and tapping the sources of renewable energy, will form the three vital components of the growth strategy for the cement industry.


Shri Manoj Gaur, Executive Chairman, Jaiprakash Associates Ltd, presented the industry perspective of the cement and construction industries. He mentioned that the cement industry is poised for accelerated growth in tandem with the expected growth of the infrastructure in the country. He informed participants at the seminar that cement companies in India are building global capacities, modernizing plants, improving efficiencies, cutting costs and restructuring their business houses to become highly competitive. The Indian cement industry which accounts for 6  % of the world’s production, has been exploring the markets in Asia and Africa. Different types of cement conforming to international standards are being exported by India to more than seventeen countries. The exports touched over six million tonnes in 2008–09. Furthermore, he mentioned that apart from technology upgrades, the Indian cement industry has also made substantial progress in insulating itself from the vagaries of grid power shortage. Total captive generation of the industry amounts to more than 2728 MW and over 56  % of the industry’s cement production has been through use of captive power in 2008–09.


The valedictory address in the concluding session of the seminar was delivered by Smt. Renu Sharma (Fig. 5), Joint Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Govt. of India. As chief guest at the function, she also did the honours for the National Awards (Figs. 6 and 7) for Energy Efficiency, Environmental Excellence and Quality Excellence in the Indian cement industry for the years 2007–08 and 2008–09 for the award-winning cement plants (see She also presented the awards for the ten best technical papers (see given at the seminar. Smt. Renu Sharma stated that the energy consumption levels of the latest dry process plants in the country were comparable to the world standards. However, a large number of plants installed before the nineties were operating at relatively high energy consumption levels and there is a need for their modernization so that their energy consumption levels comply with the global standards. She mentioned that the cement industry has already made a beginning in exploring alternate/non-conventional sources of energy by installing 80 MW of wind energy facility in the coastal region and appreciated that several cement plants have undertaken successful trials with waste-derived fuels such as tyre chips, refinery sludge, waste oils, paints, etc. She emphasised that application of nanotechnology to cement and concrete should constitute a major area of research for the development of eco-friendly, high performance cement/binders and concrete with improved durability characteristics.


The highlights of presentations and discussions in the technical sessions are given below:

­– The seminar provided a comprehensive update on cement and construction technologies including related plant and machinery, projecting international endeavours and experiences in these areas with the underlying objective of sustainable development.

­– Some 90 technical papers were presented in 15 technical sessions including five special lectures. The authors discussed issues related to all areas of cement manufacture, blended and special cements, performance, durability and sustainability of concrete as well as emerging trends in building materials and construction practices.

­– Five special lectures by renowned experts were delivered on the following topical subjects: Nanotechnology for sustainable development of the cement industry by Dr Armando Garcia Luna, GCC Technology and Processes SA, Switzerland; Utilization of waste derived fuels by Dr. Kare Helge Karstensen (Fig. 8), SINTEF, Norway; Durability of concrete structures in severe environments by Prof. Odd E Gjorv, Norwegian University of Science & Technology, Norway; Technological issues for setting up large cement plants by Mr. A K Dembla, Jaiprakash Associates Ltd., India; Cement sustainability initiatives by Dr. S P Ghosh, Cement Manufacturers’ Association, India. The initiatives required to face future challenges in terms of higher demand for construction materials, depleting energy and natural resources and the need for durable and stronger constructions were highlighted.

­– While the 80’s witnessed one million tonnes per annum capacity plants being set up with kiln capacities of 3000 tonnes per day, today this has jumped to 2.5 to 3.5 million tonnes per annum plants with kiln capacities growing to 10 000–12 000 t/d. Developmental efforts in plant and machinery have resulted in 2-support kilns with reduced maintenance requirement compared to the conventional 3-support kilns. Efficient and reliable coolers characterized by the walking floor transport principle meet the requirement of large kiln capacities. Advanced calciner and burner designs have evolved particularly to enable maximum utilization of WDF. The potential of waste heat recovery and various technical options were discussed.

­– Developmental efforts in size reduction have made pos-sible the design of mills of higher output as well as reduced ­energy consumption and improved operational efficiency. The deliberations highlighted the features of grinding mills of larger capacity for single production lines with capacities of over 10 000 t/d, new high pressure grinding technology with independent control of grinding pressure and grinding bed thickness, and a flexible grinding system design enabling reduced energy consumption. The designs aim for simpli-city of operation and maintenance, reduced wear rates and increased service life of the equipment and have opened up ­tremendous possibilities for upgrading many of the plants in India.

­– It was shown that technological selection of appropriate equipment for individual sections should be considered carefully based on layout, material characteristics, investment and operating costs, operational norms as well as safety. There is an emerging need to convert open storage stockpiles into closed bulk material storage systems by adopting the available solutions to protect the environment. The latest developments in packing technology make bag filling capacities of up to 4000 50-kg bags/hour per spout possible and reduce downtime, dust emission and product loss. With the increase in cement production, there is a transition from bag to bulk cement deliveries. Developments in cement distribution ­terminals with storage facilities and bulk and bag ­
loading systems based on advanced technology were highlighted. The Loading Automation System is a perfectly coordinated logistics solution for the bulk materials and cargo industry which automates all processes from ordering to shipment

­– An automated system for silo cleaning allows cleaning without human entry into the silo or bin.

­– Adoption of integrated electrical and control systems and intelligent closed loop kiln control systems have helped the plants in achieving a significant reduction in production costs.

­– Advances in pyroprocessing technology enable the use of alternate fuels including co-processing of wastes in an energy efficient and environmentally sound way as compared to commercial incinerators. It is of paramount importance to conserve fossil fuels and reduce global warming without putting the brakes on development. However, emissions need to be closely monitored to ensure that these do not exceed those with the use of conventional fuels and that all the environmental concerns are addressed.

­– The versatile combustion and pyroprocessing systems; special refractory products to withstand aggressive chemical agents in WDF treatment, storage and transport facilities and also special feeding and dosing equipment that has been designed to adapt to the different physical structure of the waste materials and fuels enable the utilization of a variety of WDFs in cement production without adverse impact on the environment. The experience gained in developed countries gives Indian cement plant operators confidence to utilize different waste-derived fuels in cement manufacture

­– The mineralizing effect of various industrial wastes such as copper slag and spent pot liners from aluminium smelters which can reduce the clinker burning zone temperature by almost 50 °C offers the twin benefits of recycling the wastes and saving thermal energy in pyroprocessing. Beneficiation possibilities for high-silica limestone for prolonging the life of limestone deposits were also discussed.

­– A case study was presented on premature refractory failure of high-alumina refractory due to high sulphur content in fuel. The various new generation refractory products for the cement industry were discussed in detail. Refractory lining solutions to improve productivity while utilizing waste-derived fuels were discussed. It was suggested to use silicon carbide refractories containing ZrO2 for buildup prone areas in kiln systems particularly in a chlorine rich environment. Castables designed for resisting buildup formation in riser duct and kiln inlet were highlighted.

­– Issues related to Portland and blended cements with emphasis on utilization of waste/alternate materials were highlighted. The use of additives such as lignosulphonates, performance improvers and accelerators and the effect of particle size distribution, cement fineness and clinker sulphate level were also discussed.

­– Use of chemical admixtures in concrete construction, particularly the aspect of compatibility of admixtures with different types of cements and the advantages of mineral admixtures and blended cements to control the temperature rise in case of mass concrete constructions were highlighted.

­– Use of water-proofing agents was highlighted to effectively improve the porous structure of cement concrete. Improvement of pores to make the concrete impermeable and durable was highlighted.

­– Plants for autoclaved aerated concrete and sand lime brick production were discussed. The basis of the procedure to evaluate vibrations transmitted by equipment and to appropriately analyse the design of vibrating equipment foundations in cement plants were highlighted.

­– Development of cement and concrete systems containing mineral waste that are able to compete with conventional systems with respect to technical and environmental issues, costs and aesthetics was discussed. The long-term goal to increase waste utilisation to a level which is most beneficial for human health, the environment and sustainable development was discussed.

­– Use of high-strength steel fibre reinforced concrete for a durable and sustainable solution to erosion damage of the concrete basins of dams and spillways was highlighted. Use of high-strength SFRC for the repair of concrete in hydraulic structures like dams and for construction and the repair of distressed concrete structures was also discussed.

­– Quality control systems based on XRD and online Prompt Gamma Neutron Activation (PGNA) techniques were discussed. Improving the proficiency of the laboratory staff for achieving high quality standards and global competitiveness and an inter-laboratory proficiency testing programme for competitive improvement in the accuracy of testing was also emphasized.

­– Owing to developments in fabric filter technology using membrane filter bags in place of felt fabric, most of the cement plants have switched over from ESPs to reverse air bag house (RABH) and pulse jet bag filters and achieved dust emissions of below 20 mg/m3. The existing ESPs are being converted into bag filters partially or completely utilizing as much of the ESP housing as possible. Hybrid gas conditioning systems are being installed in old ESPs to reduce wet bottom problems and have a stable temperature control at the gas conditioning tower outlet.

– ­In its efforts towards greener production, one of the cement plants adopted the 7 R’s philosophy – Raise production, Reduce consumption, Release less emissions, Realize value out of waste, Replace conventional fuels and raw materials, Restore to nature what you take and Research and Records by proper documentation.

­– Oxyfuel kiln technology employing pure oxygen instead of air for fuel combustion which is still at the R&D stage holds a lot of promise for carbon capture and storage. Environmental management in the cement industry for sustainable development, CO2 mitigation opportunity in the cement sector and CDM market, integration of energy with Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for sustainability were deliberated.


The technical exhibition organized concurrently with the seminar, with 65 exhibitors, gave an exposure to the latest developments in machinery, related auxiliaries and services available to the cement industry and provided an opportunity for a mutually useful interaction – technical as well as commercial – among machinery suppliers and delegates.


Interested persons who could not participate in the event can receive sets of the Proceedings Volume (containing extended abstracts) and a CD (containing the full text of papers and the Exhibitors’ Directory) for only 100 US$. In fact, early buyers will also receive a complimentary copy of the special publication titled Global Economic Scenario – Challenges and Outlook for Indian Cement and Construction Industries, which contains 13 articles with a valuable update on the Indian cement industry and cement and construction technologies. Contact for this purpose may be made with or


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