Pinkenba site bolsters Wagner Cement’s capabilities

The establishment of a new vertical roller mill on Wagners Cement’s Pinkenba site in Queensland has seen the company’s productivity and product range expand exponentially.Located on the Brisbane River at the Port of Brisbane, Wagners Cement’s Pinkenba grinding and bagging facility is a sight to behold.

The site began in operation with a 500,000-tonne-per-annum horizontal grinding (ball) mill combined with over 11,000 tonnes of finished product storage.

In 2012, Wagners took steps to expand its cement production capabilities at the Pinkenba facility and commissioned a new vertical roller mill (VRM), which would be used to produce cement and ground slag.

In mid-2014, after 18 months of construction, the new 800,000-tonnes-per-annum VRM was completed, along with an additional 14,000 tonnes of silo storage with continuous blending capability.

Wagners Sales Manager Bulk and Bagged Cement & Lime Warwick Dingle says that Pinkenba’s production capabilities have greatly improved since the VRM was commissioned.

“It gives us stability in supply. We have more than doubled our production capability at more efficient rates,” says Mr. Dingle.

“The decision to install the VRM is about improving efficiency as well as increasing capacity well into the future,” says Mr. Dingle.

The VRM process involves hydraulically actuated roller arms to compress the raw material between the roller tyres and a rotating roller table. This results in fine grinding at a high production rate with little energy lost to heat. The ‘fineness’ of the resulting product makes the mill ideal for producing ground slag used for Wagners’ geopolymer concrete product – Earth Friendly Concrete.

The VRM has realised a 35 per cent reduction in electricity consumption, compared to the company’s conventional ball mill.

“From a kilowatt hours per tonne perspective, it was certainly the right move to install a VRM,” says Mr. Dingle.

“Although not new technology from a global perspective, the Pinkenba VRM is the second to produce finished cement in Australia and the first of its kind in Queensland.”

The capabilities of the VRM has put Wagners in a new position in the market. Thanks to the blending system

Wagners can now produce a wide range of triple blended cements (incorporating cement, lime, slag and/or fly-ash) on demand.

“The blending facility means we can produce specialised blends and that gives our customers the ability to design products we didn’t have before,” explains Mr. Dingle.

Wagners currently supplies product to a range of large contractors and businesses in the Queensland region, including Queensland Transport and Main Roads and Boral.

Mr. Dingle explains that one of the main challenges in adopting this new technology was to ensure a seamless transition from one process to another.

Wagners has achieved this milestone and is in full production.

The installation of the VRM has been a big step in expanding Wagners’ Pinkenba site, and it’s not the last development on the cards for the facility either.

The company is in the process of building a new wharf complete with a state of the art unloading system and a new clinker storage facility.

“The dredging in the river is well underway. Construction on the wharf will begin early next year and is anticipated to be complete by the end of 2017,” says Mr. Dingle.

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