April 25, 2024

Cemcor invests over £6m in sustainability

Cookstown-based cement production business, CEMCOR, is putting sustainability at the forefront of its multi million-pound investment in the plant in 2023.

After acquiring Lafarge Ireland in 2022, Cookstown Cement rebranded to CEMCOR following significant investment from the new local ownership of Managing Director, David Milla,r and LCC Group. In 2023, CEMCOR has invested an additional £6m in multiple industry-leading upgrades, focused on the sustainability and futureproofing of the plant.

Immediately after the purchase of Cookstown Works completed, CEMCOR pledged over £6m to replace the existing electro-static precipitators (ESPs) with a state-of-the-art bag filter at the plant.

Within a period of fourteen months from final design agreement in March 2022, the new bag filter was commissioned and fully operational from May 2023. This investment project is centred around the abatement filter, with the filter separated into four quadrants with twenty-two rows per quadrant, fourteen bags per row and a total of 1,232 bags. Within the new filtration, there is a Tribor System which detects and locates damaged bags. This system will isolate the cleaning operations to a specific row and if the damage is minor, reseal with process dust. If the bag is severely damaged, CEMCOR’s new bag filter has the ability to isolate the entire section and online maintenance can be carried out, making it much more efficient operation.

In addition to the bag filter upgrade, CEMCOR also installed a new dust particulate conveying system at the Cookstown plant. This system will transport the captured dust to an existing silo via a new batch weighing feeder where it will be recycled through the cement manufacturing process, so no material is landfilled or disposed elsewhere.

For sulphur dioxide abatement and the neutralising of other process gases such as chlorine, CEMCOR installed a reaction tower in 2023 with hydrated lime injection from a dedicated silo as well. Process gases will be directed from the kiln system through the filter prior to clean gases being released via the stack due to the instalment of a new 750KW main process fan as well.

CEMCOR Managing Director, David Millar said: “We are delighted with the huge leaps forward CEMCOR has made with regards sustainability and efficiency upgrades since the acquisition last year.

“The plant itself looks and operates at an extremely high standard, which is a credit to the whole team involved in these projects. We are forward thinking at CEMCOR and understand it was time to put our money on the line and invest in the plants efficiencies and sustainable outputs, to protect the environment around us and futureproof the plant itself.”

CEMCOR Managing Director, David Millar

With a well-rounded focus on plant upgrades, CEMCOR also focused its research on how the paper packing market of cement bags has been developing in recent years. CEMCOR undertook an in-depth review of its paper packing system and invested in both new hardware and software upgrades.

Over the years, customer trends in the packed cement market have changed with longer shelf life, weather resistant plastic packaging becoming more prevalent. However, recent developments in paper-based packaging has resulted in recyclable, biodegradable paper options now available and hugely popular on the market.

In addition to the high-tech hardware upgrades such as filling frames, spouts and weighers on the packer itself, major improvements to the PLCs on the packer and palletiser systems have been completed. These updates have already provided efficiency benefits through improved reliability and consistency as well as improving the ease of operations through a new touchscreen operating system which has built in diagnostics and remote support access.

Later this year, CEMCOR will also replace the existing manual pallet wrapping process with automated stretch hood equipment, ensuring the plant is as efficient as possible. Further upgrades, similar to those carried out on the paper packing line, have been planned for the plastic packing line in the near future.

Not settling for complacency in any area of the company, CEMCOR is also investing in new laboratory equipment to improve the speed and accuracy of the raw feed analysis, including online monitoring and new handling facilities for alternative raw materials including biogenic carbonates.