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Martin’s powerful railcar vibrators deliver high force, low weight

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Martin Engineering has introduced a portable vibrator that activates the freeflow of bulk materials from closed-top hopper railcars. With one of the highest force-to-weight ratios available in the marketplace, the Martin IMP3 Impacting Railcar Vibrator delivers the power required to evacuate compacted bulk materials such as fertilisers, bentonite clay, Portland cement, grain and other agricultural products.

Extremely high quality standards for the design deliver superior equipment reliability and long service life, allowing the competitively priced units to improve workplace safety with very little maintenance and low cost of ownership.

‘When a railcar is being emptied, the process needs to be fast, efficient and thorough, because extra time spent unloading, manually cleaning or sending cars back with material in them can translate into lost profits or increased costs,’ explained Marty Yepsen, Business Development Manager – Railcar Products, Martin Engineering. ‘The higher the force-to-weight ratio, the higher the force delivered to the material, increasing the efficiency of the vibrator.’

The IMP3 is purpose-built for unloading dry powdered bulk materials. If vibrators fail, workers may need to resort to unsafe practices to get material flowing again, such as hammering on the cars or attempting to unclog them from the bottom of the hopper. To avoid these expensive and potentially hazardous scenarios, the IMP3 produces 3,000 vibrations per minute (VPM) and 3,400 lbs (1,542 kg) of force, which has been compared to a sledgehammer blow 50 times per second. The rapid impact generates a vibratory wave through the metal hopper of the railcar, loosening adhered material to promote fast and even flow.

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Technology

Martin Engineering launches a new N2® remote monitoring system

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Martin Engineering, a bulk handling equipment solutions company, has launched its innovative N2® remote monitoring system for conveyor belt cleaners in countries across Europe, Middle East, Africa, India and South Asia.

Designed for any belt cleaner using a polyurethane blade, the N2® Position Indicator (PI) system tracks belt cleaner performance and tells users when servicing is required via an intuitive cloud-based mobile app or desktop dashboard. The N2® PI recently met all the requirements to achieve CE Marking in Europe. The N2® PI can be retro-fitted to most conveyor belt cleaner mainframes that use polyurethane belt cleaner blades, or it can be introduced as part of a new installation.
The gateway then sends the information to a cloud-based server, which delivers it to Martin’s dedicated mobile app and desktop dashboard on a computer. Initial trials on ten conveyors showed us that the N2® PI not only cuts inspection time, but it also helps reduce exposure to moving conveyors and associated hazards. The mobile app tracks and displays blade status, remaining life, next scheduled tensioning, run time, wear rate, cleaner model, blade type and other details. Alerts are provided automatically when a blade change is required, re-tensioning is needed or an unusual condition or change is detected.

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Concrete

Impactful Branding

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As the marketing scenario rapidly shifts to accommodate trends and customer preferences, cement companies need to reinvent their branding strategies. With the onslaught of digital marketing, especially social media, the branding exercise has taken on a new avatar. We unravel the nuances of branding, advertising and marketing communications for cement companies as each one vies for their share of the customer’s attention, and get experts to share their winning strategies with us.

How does one create loyalty for the product they have on offer? How do they communicate about what their product is all about? How do they stand apart from the clutter in the market? The answer to all these questions is branding.
A branding strategy by definition is a long-term plan to achieve a series of long-term plans to achieve a series of goals that ultimately result in the identification and preference of the brand by consumers. This strategy encompasses the brand’s mission, its promises to its customers, and how these are communicated to send the right message to the right audience.
Any product or commodity needs a branding strategy because branding promotes recognition. A good branding strategy helps build a loyal customer base, sets your product offering apart from competition and allows you to build a standard communication across all channels with a vision and mission in mind and connect emotionally with your customers.
“Although going against the tide of producing easily marketable cement, JSW Cement has chosen the less travelled path by producing cement, which is least harmful to the environment, hence, this makes us the leading producer of green /sustainable cement in India. This feat is achieved by using raw materials like slag and having efficient processes, which reduces carbon emissions by one-third of world industry average,” says Gurminder Singh, Head – Branding, JSW Cement.
“Promoting sustainable living coupled with the unmatched physical strengths of slag cement forms the basis of our branding strategy. We promote this through – TVC, giving sustainable gifts, using eco-friendly raw materials etc.,” he adds.

Changing the marketing game
Cement is a commodity widely used across the globe and there are many cement players in India as well. Branding allows them to stand apart from the competition and get a hold on the market share with its various efforts, like production, distribution, marketing etc. According to Statista reports in FY2020, Ultratech Cement held the highest market share in India with 31 per cent of the total market. Followed by Ambuja Cement with 21 per cent market share, ACC Limited with 12 per cent market share and so on.
Agnes Rozario, Manager – Brand and Customer Excellence, AKB Group says, “Building a brand in the cement industry is multidimensional but not bewildering. The Indian subcontinent has seen some very well-known brands crafting remarkable campaigns to make a mark in customers’ minds and all of them indulged in the product, service innovation and customer excellence. As we focus on the current scenario, householders account for almost a larger part of cement consumers, very evidently pointing out that this industry in India has become a brand-conscious segment with a constant need to brand the cement. Brands like JK Cement, UltraTech Cement and ACC deployed 360-degree consumer benefit-based positioning strategies for but not limited to OOH, print media, electronic ads, etc. We witnessed brands using humour (The Great Khali ad of Ambuja Cement), onboard celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan and Sourav Ganguly to amplify their personal brand in building awareness for the company’s USPs.”


“With a plethora of multi-channel brand activities taking place, we feel that players in the Indian Cement industry are breaking the ceiling of traditional brand marketing and adapting new viewpoints. To cement brand value in the market, consistency and the ability to vary has been the key for any successful player today,” she adds.


A November 2021 report by EPRA International Journal of Research and Development (IJRD), states that the cement industry is required to operate in a social and environment that needs to handle a market of continuous changing customers’ product preferences. The production and marketing development becomes a major activity for the cement industry of these companies. The marketing environment in the industry is competitive and dynamic and slowly all the companies are adopting new age, digital based and unique marketing strategies to be in competition in the Indian cement market not only for survival
but also for growth and development in the cement industry.

Customer-centric approach
A study conducted by Dr Pawan Kumar Dubey, Dr Umesh Kumar and Dr Arivend concludes that cement companies are well aware of the importance of focusing customers. Cement companies are willing to cater new customer segments. It shows the level of competition among the existing cement companies in the market. Any company offers a product or service in the market immediately introduced by its competitors in the market. It can be inferred that the cement industry is highly competitive.


The results also show that technology plays an important role in the growth of the cement industry. Companies have to be ready for the change in the technology to utilise this opportunity. It is required for cement companies to keep the same pace in the change in the technology within the company to contribute to the industry as a whole. They must also check about the benefits they are getting from this contribution and act accordingly.
Cement organisations are moving digital, especially in the post pandemic era. They are launching campaigns to connect with consumers of the younger age group too. Companies are touching upon issues that matter to the environment and other important issues through their digital campaigns. In January 2022, Ambuja Cement and ACC limited launched their first corporate campaign #ChangeTheStory that highlights the plastic removal efforts of the cement majors in the country. The #ChangeTheStory campaign expects to elevate the narrative around sustainability challenges with a sense of urgency by showcasing technology-backed solutions that offer effective and measurable outcomes. This campaign aims to rewrite the problems of the present and create solutions that will benefit the future of society.
Another top cement brand JK Cement launched its digital-first campaign, WallMax, to reiterate its position as the No.1 Wall Putty brand in India. The brand has adopted a 360-degree route to amplify the message, commencing with a series of quirky and intent-driven films on social media. The campaign conveys the message that attaining the No.1 position gives a proud feeling but it comes with the responsibility to create a difference in the lives of the customers.

Socially inclined
“Social media and digital marketing have picked up a lot in recent times. We are a young brand and right from the beginning we have been active on social media platforms and digital channels. We are working hard on these mediums and have been doing a lot of campaigns like People of Wonder, Stories of Wonder etc. where we engage our network, architects, contractors, masons and everyone involved with the brand,” says Siddharth Singhvi, Associate Vice President – Business Excellence, Wonder Cement.
“One of the biggest activation campaigns we did was in 2015. We thought of doing a customer activation through cricket and named it ‘Saath Saath Cricket Mahotsav’. At that time, we involved more than two lakh people on the ground directly and they played with us. Multiply that with their family members coming to see the matches, so all in all we touched about 2.5 to 3 crore people across Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. This was a path breaking campaign, one of a kind campaign done by a cement player,” he added.


Branding has always been a vital part of business, but it may be more important now than ever before. With social media, consumers get exposed to new brands every day. This can be great for consumers who have plenty of options and are able to do research to find the best one, but it makes it harder for businesses.
Branding helps the company build trust with its customers by communicating its mission and creating a promise of delivery quality. It helps create advertising for your product and build a connection with your customers and gain their loyalty. Branding is giving your product and organisation a personality, a voice, identity and positioning in the market.

Kanika Mathur

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Concrete

We can help the global cement industry to decarbonise

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With the net zero deadline looming above us, the cement industry is racing against time. Maarten van Roon, Chief Commercial Officer, Carbon8, puts forth his ideas on how Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) can help the cement industry decarbonise, and help make it a more circular sector.

Tell us more about the Accelerated Carbonation Technology (ACT).
Carbon8’s Accelerated Carbonation Technology (ACT) is based on one of nature’s ways of sequestering carbon. Carbonation occurs naturally but it is an extremely slow process. ACT controls, manages, and accelerates this reaction so that it takes between 15-30 minutes.
Essentially, we help enable circularity for hard-to-abate industrial sectors by combining captured carbon from their operations with industrial residues, from the very same operations, to manufacture new materials for the construction industry.
In cement production specifically, cement bypass dust (CBD) and cement kiln dust (CKD) are produced as a by-product. CBD and CKD are reactive to CO2 because of the compounds they contain, making them a potential carbon sink. Our technology solution captures CO2 directly from the cement plant and permanently stores it in products, by valorising
those residues. The product that ACT currently manufactures is CircaBuild, a carbon-negative alternative to natural aggregate.
CircaBuild has various applications in the construction industry, including concrete blocks, ready-mix concrete, road fill and green roofing substrate. Regardless of which application CircaBuild materials are used in, they reduce the carbon footprint of any construction project by replacing the need for virgin materials while themselves containing captured carbon.

What happens to the carbon that is captured permanently through ACT?
ACT enables the captured carbon to be permanently locked in the products and it will not be re-released. The calcium and magnesium oxides, hydroxides and silicates within the residues react with the CO2, changing it into carbonates. Through this, the carbon is permanently sequestered into carbon-negative aggregate – CircaBuild. For example, if CircaBuild is used in concrete blocks for buildings, the
carbon will not be re-emitted if the building is demolished. It is truly permanent sequestration; it is Carbon Capture, Utilisation AND Storage – ‘CCU’ with the ‘S’.
The captured carbon becomes a direct ingredient in our process. What this means for the carbon capture, is that the system taps directly into the flue stack of the cement plant and removes a portion of the carbon directly. This does not need to be treated or purified but can directly be used within the process. The captured carbon is diverted into the CO2ntainer where, under specifically engineered conditions, it is exposed to the CBD or CKD.


Tell us about the process of setting up the containers that capture carbon at the sites of cement manufacturing and how can the units implement that?
The CO2ntainer is our modular and mobile CCUS solution. It is the realisation of ACT as a compact, easily deployable CCUS innovation. The Plug ‘n Play system allows for frictionless transportation and implementation while using CO2 captured at point source to carbonate industrial residues destined for landfill. This is something that we will be delivering to the cement industry with the help of our commercial partners FLSmidth.
Our system can be integrated and retrofitted directly to a client’s cement plant with minimal downtime. Through this, the client is able to decarbonise its operation, while avoiding the cost associated with the landfill of the CBD and CKD by valourising it, and producing it into a product directly. This makes it economical and sustainable – demonstrating how the circular economy can exist within heavy industry.

Tell us more about how your company has scaled-up and your deployment at Vicat.
Carbon8’s solution dates back to over 20 years of research by our two-founding scientists, Dr Paula Carey and Professor Colin Hills. They founded the company as a spin-out from the University of Greenwich, England where our technology was originally developed.
Since then, we proved the technology at full-scale, using pure CO2 and APCr from Energy from Waste plants in the UK. A key milestone in the company’s development was the invention of the CO2ntainer in 2018. This was the realisation of the technology in its modular and mobile form, which led to successful pilots and demonstrations at a CRH cement plant in Ontario, Canada and at Hanson, part of the Heidelberg Group, in the UK.
Our first commercial deployment was at Vicat Group’s cement plant in Montalieu, France in 2020. Vicat has set ambitions to be climate neutral by 2050 and we are proud to be one of its solutions to achieve this. Like other cement plants around the world, Vicat produces cement bypass dust – which we expect will increase as Vicat, and the wider industry, move towards Alternative Fuels. These require Bypass Systems and so needed a solution to address
this. Our CO2ntainer fits into this roadmap as we can help Vicat decarbonise while giving their
CBD a new life in the form of carbon-negative CircaBuild aggregates, that they are using in concrete block production.

What other efforts can be taken by the cement industry to manage carbon emissions?
Every cement plant will have slight differences in their operations and geographic location that will determine the best ways they can manage their carbon emissions. For example, CCS may be challenging to cement works in remote locations, distant from planned CCS industrial clusters.
To adequately answer these questions, we do need to consider it in relation to what can be done today and what will be done in the future. This was also represented in the Global Cement and Concrete Association’s (GCCA) road map, which clearly showed that there are multiple levers necessary to achieve net zero ambitions, across different time horizons.
For some solutions, like full-scale CCS, there will be a time lag for the necessary infrastructure to be in place. However, we are seeing the appetite and drive necessary to implement changes today. ACT is just one of a number of different technologies that are ready today. Industrial players can be early adopters and should be, too, if net zero is to be achieved. This isn’t something where we can wait for 30 years of proof of concept. There needs to be trust in delivery and a leap of faith to get there.

What are the various benefits of carbon capture and how does it support the environment?
The need to stop the temperature of the planet at 1.5oC has been clear for some time now, and this was reemphasised again at COP26, held last year in Glasgow, UK. Specifically, in the cement industry, it is widely acknowledged and accepted that carbon capture is necessary for the industry to reach its net zero ambitions. In the GGCA’s net zero roadmap, 36 per cent of carbon reductions can be achieved from carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS).
As the question suggests, there are various ways that carbon capture can benefit the planet and it will depend on the solution we are speaking about. However, if we focus on CCUS, rather than just CCS, there is a clear benefit in the ‘utilisation’ element. This goes beyond just carbon capture and storage but uses the carbon for another purpose. This is what we, at Carbon8, focus on.
Our technology captures, utilises, and permanently stores carbon in solid form. This not only helps the cement industry decarbonise, but also become a more circular sector.

Tell us more about your contribution towards achieving the net zero mission.
Carbon8 is a Circular Impact company; we can help the global cement industry decarbonise, as well as transition to more circular operations.
Our technology can be deployed as a standalone plant using bottled CO2 or in the containerised form directly to the site. The CO2ntainer can treat up to 12,000 tonnes of CBD annually, diverting this from landfill and avoiding the associated cost. CBD can have reactivity to CO2 of up to 33 per cent by weight, making it a carbon sink for the CO2 captured onsite. The preliminary Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) using the aggregate manufactured at the Vicat site showed a 30 per cent overall improvement of the LCA compared to the disposal of the residue and the manufacture of a concrete block with or without the carbon-negative aggregate. Depending on the reactivity of the residue, a singular CO2ntainer can permanently capture and store between 1,500 tonnes – 4,000 tonnes of CO2. In summary, we address two core sustainability issues faced by the cement industry today; decarbonisation and the sustainable management of the residues produced in its operations.
With the Indian cement industry being the second-largest producer of cement in the world, only second to China, with about 8 per cent of global installed capacity, we believe that there is considerable scope for our ACT solution to be deployed in India over the coming years.

-Kanika Mathur

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