Cementir's Glocal Practice in white cement
Abdel Hamid Gadou, Sinai White Portland Cement
Alexey Igorevich Tomashevskiy, Aalborg Portland Russia
Michele Di Marino, Jesper Sand Damtoft, Erik Pram Nielsen, Bi Zhuo Qin, Cementir Group
Alexey Evgenievich Marusov, GC ArkhiKamen
ALITinform - International Analytical Review - No.1(54) - Dec. 2019
White Portland Cement plays a leading and unique role as an essential binder ingredient of high-quality mortars and concretes. Compared with grey Portland cement, higher degrees of chemical purity and the inherent stability in terms of quality due to a very selective use of raw ingredients to ensure constant colour performance, results in, among others, enhanced interaction with admixtures and a predictable and reliable performance. Given that whiteness is a key performance parameter for White cement, only raw materials with very low iron content are used in the manufacturing process of White cement. The formation of very slow reacting iron-containing clinker minerals is thereby also avoided, resulting in a much denser structure of the hydrated White cement, directly translating into higher strength and lower porosity of the concrete manufactured with White cement.
White cement is used for many applications where the whiteness is the main parameter of interest, such as dry-mix products, tiles, artificial stones, precast concrete elements, terrazzo concrete, etc. Further properties of Aalborg White® cements are engineered for facilitating efficient manufacturing processes at customers, and the enhanced performance of their products. Furthermore, it is regarded as a high end and value-adding product, and its use varies from application with aesthetic requirements to structural ones, for both renovation (decoration, repairs & maintenance work) and new build.
Aalborg White® cement gives further value-adding contributions to the society in terms of sustainability and safety improvement. Light or white coloured surfaces reflect the sunlight more efficiently than dark ones. White concrete median barrier’s reflectivity is almost 50 % higher than grey in wet weather. Furthermore, at night, white concrete median barriers enhances visibility compared to the grey concrete, which greatly improves the driving safety in the highway.
Leading White cement Producer in the World
Cementir Group is the world’s leading producer and exporter of White cement, with production facilities located on four continents and a production capacity of over 3 million tons in a global market share of 16 %. The Group markets its White cements in more than 70 countries worldwide under the global product brand Aalborg White®. Production plants are located in Denmark, Egypt, Malaysia, China and the United States.
Innovation and “global localization (Glocal)”, are the two main strategic objectives of Cementir Group White cement business, breaking out of the traditional paradigm in cement industry development, and strategically positioning the sustainable path and trend of White cement business model with a long-term vision. “We want to unlock the full potential of working with customers by having a new strategic focus towards product and technology-based applications.
By enhancing the visibility into the customer’s value chain, the Group aims at providing a differentiated and tailored value proposition which starts from theproduct offering at such, developing into value added services to co-development and innovation initiatives. Cementir values this mutual and close relationships based on common desire to find the most sustainable, cost-effective solutions to complex challenges and mega-trends in construction and building materials,” Mr.Michele Di Marino, Chief Sales, Marketing & Commercial Development Officer, states.
The Unique White cement Production Process
Chemical purity of raw material, raw mix grinding equipment and alternative fuel used in White cement manufacturing are essential factors affecting the whiteness of clinker. In order to have chemical purities, high-grade raw materials are needed for white clinker production. Cheap and quarried raw materials are commonly used for grey clinker production, which usually contain substantial amounts of chromium, manganese and iron. For example, limestone containing 0.3–1% Fe2O3 is typically used for grey cement production, whereas a maximum of 0.1% is used for White cement manufacture. Furthermore, conventional clay for grey cement raw mix containing typically 5–15% Fe2O3 is usually replaced with kaolin with Fe2O3 content below 0.5%. High-grade sand with low iron content is utilized to compensate for the low SiO2 in kaolin. Additionally, in the process of raw mix grinding, ceramic grinding equipment is often used to avoid the notable wear of chromium steel grinding equipment causing chromium contamination to the white clinker production. Equally important, alternative fuels like petcoke are used in Cementirs plant in Egypt to replace e.g. coal that can typically be used for grey clinker production, in order to avoid iron and other undesired elements in white clinker manufacturing.
Quenching of red-hot clinker is a unique process of producing white clinker. It is necessary to cool the clinker temperature out of kiln from 1200 °C to below 600 °C in a few seconds by quenching with air or cold water, to that would occur in the presence of oxygen, affecting negatively the whiteness of the clinker. In addition, this process favours the reduction of Cr (VI) to Cr (III) or Cr (II) and consequently leaves white clinker free of soluble Cr (VI), is common in grey clinker.White clinker has higher C3S and C2S content compared to grey cement — C3S content in white clinker is usually more than 3 % higher than grey clinker. This indicates that the early and late strength of White cement is generally higher than that of grey cement due to the total content amount of composition C3S+C2S in white clinker is at least 6 % higher than the equivalent composition in grey clinker. As a result, White cement has higher mechanical performance than grey cement.
Global Standardized Production Process and Quality Control System
Sinai White Cement plant (SWC) was incorporated in 1999 and is located in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. It sold its first bag of White cement to the market in November 2001. In 2004, Cementir Group carried out the strategic layout of the plant, resulting in a second White cement production line starting production in October 2008. As planned, SWC became the largest White Cement plant in the world with 1,100,000 MT annual production capacity of high-quality White cement by the end of 2009.
Thanks to the strategic geographic plant location close to the different sea ports, Sinai plant owns vast experiences on Aalborg White® cement export to Europe including Russia, Middle East, Africa and Americas, as well as offering customer services spanning from commercial support, logistics and technical support. The technical talents with multinational experience in SWC plant ensure proper adherence to state of art production technology & emerging trends, offering the flexible product solutions to satisfy the ongoing changing needs of customers together with Cementir’s global R&D centre in Aalborg, Denmark.
SWC's own quarry has a very pure limestone with very low iron content, which enables the production of White cement with high whiteness. Unlike grey cement, White cement has a very complex production process spanning from the selection of raw materials, washing and homogenization phase to the clinker production, and each production step is monitored by a comprehensive and well-proven quality control system to ensure the finished products with high whiteness and high strength. The advanced technology and computerized controlling are vital elements in the quality control system in accordance with EN 197 to make the White cement with stable and superior quality and win the trust of worldwide customers.In addition to the routine testing of the finished products, further auto-control and advanced testing is carried out, such as cement particle size distributions analysis, cement chemical analyses, laboratory furnaces set up for small scale burning of cement clinker for burnability testing, clinker reactivity, the distribution of minor components and their impact on cement performance and colour. Laboratory grinding of the clinker to test the cement performance is also performed prior to full-scale production trials. SWC plant as part of the Cementir Group global White cement production footprint is an integral part of the Group Quality system, with standard processes and internal best practice sharing within the different plants in the Group. This guarantees high and consistent quality standards and assures a continuous improvement approach in the operations.
Cementir’s Sustainability in White cement Industry
Cementir regards sustainable growth as both a responsibility and a requirement for continuing to work in the cement industry. Four pillars of sustainable concept are identified for the Group, comprising production recycling, innovative product technological solutions, talent attraction and motivated working environment, as well as community caring. In Cementir’s Sinai plant, all production equipment, including two kilns, meet the international environmental and safety standards, and comply to the European energy and environmental requirements. Petcoke has been used for thermal energy production since 2016. An environmental reporting system and online environmental monitoring system were implemented with SWC participation, allowing the central authorities to supervise plant operation and control the emissions.SWC plant has always been respecting and taking care of the local community and residents through offering job opportunities and being supportive of local economy development, residents living quality improvement, village security and local education facilities & funding by means of various social responsibility activities as a practice of the sustainable development concept of Cementir Group.
White cement Market Overview in Russia
In the Russian market, more than 50 % of the White cement is applied to dry mix mortars with decorative purpose, and about 40 % for precast concrete applications, both for wet casting and semi-dry casting products. Russia has a sophisticated experience on glass fibre reinforced concrete (GFRC) based on White cement and is regarded as one of the leading countries in the use of GFRC elements as a lightweight concrete material for façade decoration. Ultra High-Performance Concrete (UHPC), as an emerging and robust building material, is becoming increasingly popular in Russia serving as an ideal material for very slim decorative panels and building structure elements in the field of commercial & residential building, landscaping, infrastructure and even military purpose.
Due to the aggressive climate conditions in Russia during winter, a superior concrete freeze/thaw resistant property is a must for external building materials. Concrete based on Aalborg White cement represents such an ideal robust and durable building material to be used in such an aggressive environment.
Following the growing trend towards higher architectural aesthetic requirements and sustainable green building development, White cement demand is estimated to grow by 2–3 times in the next 10 years in the Russian market, mainly applied in the prefabricated façade systems. Lightweight, high-strength, easy-to-transport prefabricated panels will be widely favoured by the market.
White cement footprint in Russia
GC ArkhiKamen is one of the pioneering manufacturers in Russia to use Aalborg White® cement for the manufacture of architectural facade elements in 1996, when the technology of vibration compression of semi-dry cement–sand mixture (better known abroad as Cast Stone) first came to Russia. The key factors that influenced the popularity of Cast Stone products in Russia was a successful combination of impressive technical and aesthetic characteristics of the finished product. The texture of the architectural elements of Cast Stone exactly repeats the texture of natural Sandstone, while having a high degree of uniformity.
Based on Aalborg White® cement, GC ArkhiKamen has developed a series of precast concrete elements like GFRC (Glass Fibre Reinforced Concrete) and some wet casting concrete components. These facade decorative elements with high architectural aesthetics are widely favoured by architects and applied in many iconic buildings.
“To ensure high performance of concrete products in the aggressive weather conditions in Central Russia, with multiple transitions through 0 °C and high humidity, we tested many product samples from different White cement manufacturers and conducted long-term climatic tests of samples on their production base. As shown by many years of practices, Aalborg White® cement most accurately meets our requirements to the binder in terms of high whiteness, high strength and excellent machinability. In addition, the stability of these indicators in the supply, stretched over time, is of fundamental importance for us. Supplying façade products to a project often stretches over several years, and the products delivered at any time are required to be the consistent in terms of visual indicators. The use of high-quality Aalborg White® cement significantly reduces the risks of product rejection and ensures an optimal cost performance,.“ Alexey Evgenievich Marusov, General Director of GC ArkhiKamen, explained Alexey continued: “High quality GFRC is a trend of increasing demand for the original decoration of facades with technological, fireproof and visibly expressive materials that allow to form a unique image of the building in a variety of stylistic techniques – from classicism to high-tech. ArchiCore® GFRC precast elements developed based on Aalborg White® cement possess the distinguished high strength, water-resistance, minimal shrinkage deformation after demoulding and the absence of fracture. Large-Format panels of GFRC carrying metal frame have long been successfully used for facades in the United States, Japan, European countries. In recent years, these technologies are of increasing interest in Russia.”
Cast Stone Application in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Moscow, Russia
The Ritz-Carlton hotel, one of the best deluxe hotels and the first Ritz-Carlton chain hotel in Eastern Europe, was built on the site of the former Intourist Hotel. As a super 5 stars Hotel, the building of the new hotel organically fits into the historical environment of the centre.
The classical style of the precast ArchiStone® cast stone elements based on Aalborg White® cement on the first six floors completed the strong and solid image of the building. The highly refined decorative concrete elements, coffered ceiling balconies, rusticated corners look amazing on the exterior of this international luxury hotel — The Ritz-Carlton.
GFRC Façade Application in Administrative Building in Moscow, Russia
The architectural design of this building was made by a team of the 5th architectural workshop of the JSC "Mosproject-2 n.a. M. V. Posokhin" under the leadership of Mikhail Leonov & Chief-architect Boris Pashchenko. The gable extended more than 3 meters and is supported by the metal carrier system. The exterior ArchiCore® GFRC facade elements based on Aalborg White® cement presenting the modernism of the building were manufactured for this special Administrative Building in Michurinsky Avenue.