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Made in Germany

World Cement,


World Cement is 84 years old this year, but by the time our magazine arrived on the scene in 1928, the major German equipment suppliers – Polysius, KHD and Gebr. Pfeiffer – had been established for well over 60 years. Haver & Boecker and Loesche soon followed, while Aumund was established just a few years before the launch of World Cement; Beumer opened its business just over a decade later in 1935. The impact on the cement industry, not only by these companies, but also by many other German ones has been well recorded and documented.

Cement plant equipment suppliers face stiff competition – perhaps more now than ever before – so how are they meeting today’s demands and challenges,

especially from the emerging markets? What about investments in new technology and innovations; how are they dealing with environmental issues?

The following includes comments and responses from some of the major equipment suppliers that World Cement approached.

Staying at the top

The Chairman of the Cement, Lime, Gypsum and Dry Mortar Section of Verband Deutscher Maschinen und Anlagenbau e.V (VDMA), Dr Detlev Rose, who is also the CEO of ThyssenKrupp Polysius, readily confirms that the cement industry – as well as those companies providing engineering and equipment – has shifted its focus from the developed and mature markets towards the opportunities and challenges of the emerging markets. Markets on the rise are in Asia, Africa, South America and also to some extent in the CIS. This is where the development of the cement industry expects to see the biggest growth rates in the mid and long-term. This development goes along with the requests to source markets locally, especially when turnkey applications have to be realised and local knowhow is mandatory.

Dr Rose is quite clear about environmental issues: “Technology-wise a major challenge is caused by the highly ambitious climate protection targets set by policy makers. In terms of technology, we thus focus on the optimisation of the process, the equipment and the product. Aspects like energy efficiency, improvement of cement quality or the use of alternative fuels play a decisive role when it comes to customer decisions.”

A spokesperson for Loesche was keen to suggest that “German cement plant technology ranks among the top in the industry. Globalisation and the rising capabilities of the emerging countries certainly puts pressure on the well established suppliers. No doubt the new suppliers, especially those from China, are entering the market with price levels hardly ever realised by German suppliers, and they will also make progress with their quality.” He went on say, “The cement industry is forced to reduce production costs and to minimise emissions to contribute to an environmentally friendly industry.” Loesche’s new slogan, “Innovative Engineering” follows its recent newfound participation with the Austrian company A TEC and the establishment of Loesche Automation GmbH, indicating that it is prepared to face future challenges. It can now offer environmentally friendly process solutions, including new plants as well as plant optimisation. 

Dr Thomas Borghoff, Beumer’s Managing Director of Sales, also reminds us that some 75% of the world’s cement requirements are produced in Asia, particularly in China. For his company, India is another important and fast growing market. “With the acquisition of Enexco Teknologies India Ltd in 2011, we have expanded our business activities in the cement industry and strategically widened our product range by the addition of systems such as cement mills, cement packers and silos. Of course, Africa and South America are interesting growth markets for us.”

A company somewhat younger than these two is IBAU HAMBURG. Managing Director, Reiner Meyer, says: “For future developments in storage and conveying technology it will become absolutely essential to improve technical and environmental standards and to undergo continuous quality improvements. It is only the customers’ satisfaction that guarantees a supplier being contacted for new projects.” Meyer is proud to mention the new marine cement terminal installed for Cementa AB (HeidelbergCement Group) in Malmö, Sweden and a new contract for a cement terminal that will be situated in the City of Paris.

Reiner Früling is the Managing Director of Claudius Peters, a company established in 1906. He comments that, since its founding, Claudius Peters has developed into an innovative company for the cement, gypsum, aluminium, power plant and steel industries. In recent times it has become well known for new standards achieved with the development of the ETA cooler and the Fluidcon conveying system. “Claudius Peters views itself as a technology pioneer,” says Früling. “Each year we invest considerable means in the further developments of our processes. We develop special solutions for our customers for special tasks, for which no standard solution is available on the market. In these aspects we see a guarantee for the continuation of traditional German companies. In the price competitive market, German companies have to rethink their innovative strengths in addition to general competitiveness; in the past these have been the successful synonym for ‘Made in Germany’.”

KHD’s Group Management Report for 2011 provides interesting observations on the industry. For example, it mentions that globally speaking, capacity utilisation in the 2500 or so cement plants around the world was assessed at 76%. Half of the plants are between 25 and 50 years old and often no longer meet increasingly strict environmental requirements. With the right regulatory framework, there is potential here for modernisation and new plant construction, making use of energy-efficient and low-emission technologies.

Economic problems

As the euro crisis continued to roar through the rest of Europe in 2010 and 2011, the German economy held firm. But last month the business press noted that exports had dropped more than was forecast in June 2012, indicating that Europe’s largest economy is cooling as the debt crisis drives the euro area, its biggest export market, towards recession. The European Central Bank had already cut interest rates in July 2012 as the debt crisis continued to threaten the euro region. However, the latest reports indicate that manufacturing is contracting and business confidence is in decline.

Export driven

The large industrial plant manufacturing industry is a major sector of the German economy with an average annual new order volume of nearly €25 billion (average 2009 – 11) and a world market share of roughly 18%. The VDMA Status Report 2011/2012 on the challenges facing large industrial plant manufacturing, provides some interesting information and figures. The large industrial plant manufacturers are defined as companies capable of processing one or more factory or power generation plant projects per year with a volume of at least €25 million each. From the list of members of the VDMA large industrial plant manufacturing group, familiar cement plant equipment suppliers can be found. This manufacturing sector continues to be heavily export-oriented. The long-term average shows that around four-fifths of the products are supplied to international clients. In 2011 order intake rose 4% to €18.3 billion compared to €17.6 billion in 2010. Growth was achieved against the backdrop of structural changes in the pattern of demand. As one would expect, the importance of the Asian markets has continued to increase, while orders from the industrialised countries (particularly in Western Europe) have markedly declined. Last year, almost 60% of all foreign orders were acquired in Asia. China was once again the most important sales market. The order intake of €2.2 billion consisted of a large number of mid to large size orders from a variety of industries, reflecting a sustained need for extensive modernisation in the Chinese economy. Of course the industrial plant manufacturers are turning more and more towards India. Last year orders from the country amounted to €1.2 billion.  


Company reports & press information.


VDMA Status Report: 2011/2012, Large industrial plant manufacturing industry takes on new challenges.

Written by Paul Maxwell-Cook. This article is an abridged version of the full article, which appeared in the September 2012 issue of World Cement. Subscribers can view the full article by logging in.

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