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FLSmidth leads a competitive VRM market

Published by , Editorial Assistant
World Cement,

The 1980s saw the beginnings of a shift in the cement industry. Slowly and steadily, cement producers began to adopt vertical roller mills (VRMs) for cement grinding, instead of ball mills. Today, with its superior grinding efficiency and low power consumption, the VRM is the industry standard.

The initial installation of FLSmidth’s OKTM Mill took place in 1982. Since then, its customers have bought a total of 184 mills, confirming the company’s place as an industry leader for cement and slag grinding.

The company has announced that in 2018 it sold 31 new VRMs for all grinding applications. The combined cement grinding capacity of OK Mills grew by over 38%, from 2270 tph in 2017 to 3145 tph in 2018. It has also been reported that the average grinding capacity per sale of OK Mills for cement grew by almost 10% from 2017 to 2018, going from 206 tph in 2017 to 225 tph in 2018.

In 2017, raw materials grinding was added to the OK Mill’s capabilities. Following the launch of this flagship VRM, three new OK Raw Mills were sold in 2018, which the company has said is a strong indication that cement producers are favouring its modular mill design for both raw materials and cement grinding. The company has also noted that the flexibility of the modular design is a key driver of its success. It uses the same core grinding parts in raw and cement mills in multiple mill sizes, reducing the capital investment for spare parts in a plant.

Size matters

The company has supplied VRMs to 67 countries around the world since the OK Mill launched in 1982. In the last two years, OK Mills have been sold in Indonesia, the Philippines, Algeria, Turkey, the UK, Pakistan, Nigeria, Kenya, Peru, Cuba, India, Nepal, and Egypt.

Particularly in South Asia and Africa, where large-capacity plants are installed, cement producers choose single big mills to take advantage of the lower installation costs associated with a single mill vs multiple smaller units.

The company has stated that the most impressive example of this is at Shah Cement in Bangladesh, where an 81-6 OK Mill (the world’s largest VRM for cement grinding) was inaugurated in 2018. This mill features six rollers and an 8.1 m dia. grinding table.

FLSmidth has supplied OK Mills with grinding tables ranging between 2.8 m and 8.1 m dia. The OK 56-4 Mill is the company’s number one selling mill size and is in the middle of the available size range.

Why the attraction?

The company has stated that the OK Mill has reliable production, low total cost of ownership, and industry-leading energy efficiency. It has a modular design with parts commonality across applications and sizes. It is well-suited to capacity upgrades to new greenfield projects.

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European cement news FLSmidth news Cement news 2018