Pooling knowledge worldwide
The cement industry is a growing market worldwide. The demand for this construction material continues, especially in China. There, the Beumer Center of Competence (CoC) was established for the cement business unit to provide optimal systems and plants as a full-range supplier to customers all around the world. It is designed to optimise communication among the company´s experts worldwide. China’s biggest cement manufacturer also benefits from this.
“China and India are still the two main growth markets”, says Dr. Christoph Beumer, Chairman and CEO of the Beckum/Germany based Beumer Group. “When we went to China during the late 1990s, the country produced approximately 700 million tonnes of cement per year, today that is almost 1.2 billion”. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), production in China gained further momentum during the first quarter of 2013 and reached 417 million tonnes. This represents an increase of 8.2 % compared to the previous year. “This positive long-term development is not going to change”, predicts Andre Tissen, Head of the Cement Business Unit at Beumer. “Compared to international standards, the urbanisation ratio in China is rather low with just over 50 %. The rate for the US and Japan is at over 70 %. This explains the continuing high demand in infrastructure and urban construction.“
The factory built in Shanghai in 2006 enables Beumer to provide optimal service to customers in China. More than 200 employees are working in a production area of more than 13 000 m2. The Beumer Machinery (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. covers the whole logistics value chain in China from sales, project planning, engineering to production and service for the Chinese market. The company is even registered as a high-tech company with the Chinese authorities.
The acquisition of Enexco Teknologies India Limited in 2011 strengthened Beumer´s presence in the Indian cement industry. For example, the portfolio includes belt conveyor systems with horizontal and vertical curves (Fig. 1), belt bucket elevators, heavy-duty high capacity belt bucket elevators (Fig. 2) for particularly large delivery rates and heights, and apron conveyors for clinker fitted with chains or belts as traction elements. The intralogistics specialist also provides systems for filling (Fig. 3), palletising, packaging and loading (Fig. 4) as well as grinding mills and silos for the Indian market. In addition to supplying the complete machines and electrical equipment for the plants, Beumer is usually responsible for the entire process as well. This includes the design of the system, as well as the coordination and supervision of the installation and commissioning.
“As a provider of full-range solutions, it is our goal to offer optimal support to international construction materials groups such as Heidelberg-Cement or Holcim for their projects worldwide”, says Tissen. Therefore, the expertise of all Beumer branches that are active in this field need to be pooled together and the resulting synergies need to be used effectively. For this, the Center of Competence for the cement segment was established. The center is responsible for research and development, sales, project management, purchasing and above all the support of the group companies worldwide. Tissen explains that this requires smooth communication with each other, but it is worth it. The Chinese government supports large and profitable companies in order to further promote the cement industry and become a global leader in this segment. The supported companies benefit from low-interest loans, for example, or can acquire building areas more easily and quickly in order to expand further. The companies are also publicly supported when new projects are assigned.
China’s market leader produces about 12 000 tons of clinker every day at several sites for different applications and requirements, such as Portland or slag cement. The cement manufacturer was significantly involved in the construction of various large-scale projects, for example, the Oriental Pearl Tower in the Pudong district in Shanghai. At 468 m, it is currently the 3rd highest television tower in Asia and the 5th largest in the world. Further projects include the Shanghai Pudong International airport as well as the Beijing–Shanghai high-speed railway. This is the 2nd longest high-speed line in the world with a length of 1318 km. The company is selling its products now in more than 20 countries in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia.
The manufacturer places particular value on production methods that are both energy-efficient and environmentally sound. They have been using Beumer systems such as loading systems, belt conveyors and bucket elevators for years. “Our first order from the Chinese company was in 1995”, remembers Managing Director Dr. Beumer. In the meantime, the intralogistics expert has delivered and installed about 140 bucket elevators. The cement manufacturer has ambitious goals to be able to compete with internationally leading companies and to stay prepared for the ongoing construction boom in China. The demand in cement is continuously rising. “This is why they are permanently improving their technology and equipment and continue to rely on us”, Tissen explains. “The cement manufacturers know about the high quality of our plants and systems, but our cooperation is mainly based on trust.”
There are now also discussions about the supply and the installation of belt apron conveyors, filling systems and high-level palletisers. “As the competition from local companies is significantly increasing, we offer our products at favourable conditions to the Chinese manufacturer”, explains Tissen. “At the same time, our aim is to be more innovative and always one step ahead of our competitors.“
Another important aspect of good business relations is Beumer´s Customer Support. The agreements with the customer can range from only maintenance and inspection to a long-term placement of service personnel on site. In order to guarantee trouble-free intralogistic processes and a value-adding material flow, the Group´s employees ensure the modernisation of the plants and systems to meet upcoming performance and technology demands. “In principle, our service agreements are specially designed to meet the individual requirements of the customer”, explains Tissen. “The service schedules as well as the reaction times are agreed upon in the contract.” Thus, the “Beumer Belt Management”, for example, helps to avoid downtime through regular inspections and timely replacement of bucket elevator belts. The “Residential Service” comprises technical support, preventive maintenance and inspection, emergency plans, system and process analyses and optimisation as well as spare parts and facility management. “We make sure that the customers can keep pace with the increasing requirements”, Tissen closes.