Does it make sense to think about ­extending the design lifetime of ­deteriorating concrete structures?

This question might be best answered by means of an example of two reinforced concrete pre-heater towers, one is located in Europe and the other one in Asia. These cases may at first seem to be special however similarities to plants wordwide can be found and may be of interest for many cement producers. This article will share the experience of Scherr + Klimke AG gained through the inspections of main production buildings of several cement plants from the structural point of view such as crusher and mill buildings, pre-heater towers, silos, kiln supports, cooler buildings, packing plants etc.

1 Presentation of the subject

In general reinforced concrete production buildings should have a design lifetime of 50 years. This means with regular maintenance the construction should sustain its structural integrity throughout this period without showing severe deterioration. However, in cement plants with heavy duty operation and frequent times changing of equipment loading during the years, the buildings suffer greatly and often show serious damages by the end of their design lifetime. This can be observed in many plants built in the 1960s and -70s (Fig. 1 and Fig. 2). The owner often sees...

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