Firing on all cylinders

Independent Cement & Lime’s (ICL) new granulated blast furnace slag facility in Yarraville is helping supply material for the growing supplementary cement market.For 25 years, ICL has been a major supplier of cement and blended cement products to the Victorian and New South Wales markets, specialising in binder alternatives such as slag blends.

The Melbourne-based materials supplier, which includes subsidiary companies Steel Cement Limited (SCL) and Building Products Supplies Pty Ltd, was established in 1987 and has experienced significant growth in its operations and market divisions in recent years.

Such growth has been a major catalyst in the company’s decision to invest in a new state-of-the-art facility to replace its vertical roller-mill operation in Port Melbourne.

The company commissioned a new $62.5 million granulated blast furnace slag grinding plant in September 2015, which replaced the existing Port Melbourne operation.

James Howard, ICL Group Marketing Manager, says growth in the supplementary cement sector was the main factor behind the firm’s decision to invest in such a facility.

“The project was undertaken to provide more volume of slag to the Victorian construction market,” he says.

“It’s been running for over a year now and we’re starting to see some increase in the market we supply.”

The new facility supplies ICL with ground slag, which is the environmentally preferred binder in ICL’s Ecoblend range of products and other environmentally friendly blends.

It is a cutting-edge granulated blast furnace slag import, grinding and road binder blending facility.

ICL has procured the best equipment on the market that used the latest technology, including a UBE vertical roller mill, Leuhr bag filter, Beumer bucket elevators, Ibau materials handling equipment and a state of the art dispatch system.

Thanks to the company’s strong 25-year relationship with UBE Japan, who previously supplied its existing vertical roller mill, Mr. Howard says the decision to go with another mill from UBE was simple.

The new mill has a nameplate grinding capacity of around 400,000 tonnes a year of granulated blast furnace slag, twice the capacity of the existing mill.

“It has also increased storage capacity,” adds Mr. Howard.

The investment in the new facility is part of ICL’s commitment to sustainable products.

The business is investing heavily in emerging products that reduce the environmental impact of the cementitious binders used in concrete.

These products fall under its Ecoblend range of environmental cements, which are now an increasingly important part of ICL’s business and meet the requirements of the Green Building Council of Australia’s “Green Star” concrete credit.

Along with general purpose cement, ICL distributes off-white cement, type GB SteelCement, sulphate-resistant cement, lower heat cement, high early strength cement, the Steelpave product range of road stabilisation products, fly ash and the type GB Ecoblend cements.

Both Ecoblend and Steelcement are types of GB, general purpose blended cement complying with Australian standard AS 3972 Portland and Blended Cements. The general Portland cement and ground granulated blast furnace slag are selected for Ecoblend and Steelcement’s superior performance characteristics. They are processed and precision blended to produce a homogenous cementitious product.

“It’s opened up a number of possibilities in terms of producing new materials and meeting increased demand for existing materials,” Mr. Howard concludes.

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