56. IEEE-IAS/PCA Conference, WASHINGTON, DC/USA (13.-17.04.2014)

Family reunion during cherry ­blossom in Washington, DC

The 56th IEEE-IAS/PCA Cement Industry Technical Conference, held in Washington, DC from 13.–17.04.2014, exceeded the organizers expectations by attracting 980 delegates from around the world, which is an increase of 7 % over the 55th conference held in Orlando, Florida in 2013.

The participants had the opportunity, or the challenge, to select their schedule out of 39 technical presentations, 5 tutorials and 22 cement professional training lectures. The selected program covered a broad spectrum of topics demonstrating the technical diversification of the cement production process: automation, drives, environmental, energy, sustainability, general practices, maintenance, safety and power distribution.

The delegates also had the chance to discuss technical issues in greater detail with the experts at the booths of the 150 exhibitors. This was a great opportunity to catch up with partners and friends from the industry but also to broaden ones knowledge and network. The PCA chair, Cary Cohrs, supported this networking initiative by calling for “greater industry collaboration in research to drive advances in cement manufacturing and new technology”.

The conference concentrated on the reduction of operating costs and how to fulfil the environmental obligations set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The presentations highlighted the fact that “one size fits all” is not applicable to the cement or lime industry. While for one plant the conversion from coal to natural gas is very cost attractive, a second plant’s best option is to switch to alternative fuels, while the third plant needs to streamline its operational process in order to reduce operational costs as well as its environmental footprint. Among several technical sessions and tutorials, Charles and John Kline of Kline Consulting presented projects on several levels and their future potential in CO2 reduction to comply with environmental regulations.

Experience was shared with continuous emission monitoring devices from leading suppliers for various pollutants. It was emphasized, once again, that possible solutions from different industries are not directly applicable to the cement and/or lime industry without necessary adaptations derived from long term industrial tests.

The conference not only focused on the newest developments but also highlighted case studies, which were the innovations at previous IEEE-IAS/PSA conferences and the audience was eager to hear how the technology prevailed in a 24/7 operation.

Ed Sullivan, PCA’s Chief Economist, presented the technical session: “State of the Industry” and provided the audience with an outlook of the U.S. cement and concrete consumption. He identified the three sectors, which will provide the industry with an 8 % growth rate in 2014 in the following order: (1) residential, (2) non-residential, and (3) public spending on construction. The PCA is convinced that the growth rate estimation is rather conservative and can be sustained over the next few years. The currently low utilization rate of the installed capacity in the United States of below 75 % will exceed 80 % in 2015 and, therewith, require imports due to the sustaining growth rate in cement and concrete consumption beyond 2015.

The 56th IEEE-IAS/PCA Cement Industry Technical Conference was concluded on April 17, 2014 with a tour of the Essroc Martinsburg cement plant, which has a capacity of up to 5500 mt clinker per day.

Thank you to Derek Nichols and his team who made this conference a valuable platform for dicussions and practical experience.

The 2015 organizing committee has already started preparing for next year’s conference being held in the breathtaking city of Toronto/Canada. The venue will be the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel in downtown Toronto. Martin Vroegh invites the industry to the 57th annual IEEE-IAS/PCA Cement lndustry Technical Conference to be held April 26-30, 2015.

The conference will again entail technical papers, presentations, tutorials, training and exhibits. There will also be a plant tour of the largest cement plant in Canada, the St. Marys Cement facility in Bowmanville.

Details regarding registration, exhibit listing, conference proceedings and other information is available at the conference website: www.cementconference.org

We look forward to seeing you at the 57th IEEE-IAS/PCA Cement Industry Technical Conference in Toronto, Canada in 2015.

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