In a climate of ambitious public housing construction projects, the demand for white cement is growing in Saudi Arabia. Riyadh Cement has turned to FLSmidth to realise its vision of capturing 100 percent of the local white cement market.
Instead of constructing a new white cement line, Riyadh Cement saw significant economic benefits in converting an existing grey line to dual production.
After its commissioning in 2007, Riyadh Cement Company (RCC) quickly began to meet the growing demand for grey cement in the domestic Saudi Arabian and neighbouring markets. A second grey line was commissioned in 2010, increasing the combined production capacity to 11,000 tonnes per day.
In 2011, RCC became a subsidiary of Saudi White Cement Company. As market demand for white cement was increasing, RCC sought ways to increase its flexibility by switching from grey to white production. Saudi White Cement Company was already a renowned producer of white cement and sufficient raw materials were readily accessible to the plant.
“We already have about a 30 percent market share within white cement and we want to increase our capacity to achieve our ambition of capturing 100 percent of the market.” - Sultan Al Dhuwaihi, Cheif Projects Officer at RCC’s owner, Saudi White Cement Company
The project team first considered constructing a new line specifically for white cement. However, following discussions with FLSmidth, it was quickly determined that converting one of the existing grey lines to produce white cement was a highly economical option.
FLSmidth has developed a concept for modifying the existing equipment typically used in grey cement production in a cost-efficient way so that it can be used for dual production of white and grey cement. In recent years, FLSmidth has conducted several such conversions, including for Adana Cement in Turkey.
Before determining on the proposed solution, RCC representatives visited the Turkish site to observe the plant in operation. This visit, along with FLSmidth’s track record with RCC, led to the decision to convert the existing grey cement line to dual production, instead of building a completely new production line. Early in the project, testing of the raw materials was conducted at FLSmidth’s Research and Development facility in Denmark to ensure guarantees in whiteness and quality would be met.
Mr Sultan Al Dhuwaihi says: “We have a good relationship with FLSmidth as they have supplied us with various equipment and services, through the years, so we had a good impression of their ability to deliver. It is advantageous to have an equipment supplier with proven know-how about the technology for white cement production. In fact, nobody else has the same high level of knowhow.” Omar Rabia, Sales Manager at FLSmidth, explains that the aim was to achieve a payback of one year or less.
“It was important to be able to show the value of proceeding with the proposal by demonstrating experience, flexibility and the right pricing,” he says.
The main part of the project involves installing an FLSmidth Duoflex® burner inside the kiln with quenching to take place inside the kiln tube and implementing relatively minor changes to the existing preheater.
A considerable amount of existing equipment is being reused, including the oil handling equipment, clinker cooler, raw material storage system and raw mill grinding equipment. With the proposed modifications, the kiln is expected to produce a minimum of 2,000 tpd white clinker with a maximum heat consumption of 1,350 kcal/ kg clinker.
With a mid-2018 target for commissioning, the engineering phase of the project has been completed, as well as most of the purchasing, with final delivery expected in the beginning of 2018. The construction partner for the project is the Turkish company, Partner Teknik.
Mr Sultan Al Dhuwaihi comments: “The process so far has been good. We have had good design meetings and have received almost all engineering documentation, so we are looking forward to the mobilisation phase. I am confident we can rely on FLSmidth’s capabilities and tools as well as their know-how and experience so that we can quickly achieve our ambition of having full capacity of white cement in 2018.”