Spanish cement producer eliminates stairs ‘taking the strain’

Cement plant Alcalá de Guadaira, Seville, Spain

Second Alimak industrial lift installed as Spain’s second-largest cement producer recognizes the importance of installing a lift on its recently opened raw mill facility to ensure easy maintenance and service access for its workforce, and comply with health and safety regulations.

In 2000, Cementos Portland Valderrivas SA began, implementing a policy aimed at constantly improving and modernising its production plants in order to make them highly competitive, while respecting the surrounding environment and enhancing the safety of its workforce.

Expansion at its Alcalá de Guadaira facility near Seville has seen cement production increase from 1.25 million tpa in 2000 to 2 million tpa, making the company Spain’s second- largest cement producer.

Based on its experience with Alimak lifts at its other operations, the company quickly recognized the need for an industrial lift following construction of two 40,000-ton clinker storage silos in 2002.

"Prior to installing the lift, it was necessary for the workforce to climb an internal staircase to the top of the 45 m silo or gain access via a 65 m long ramp parallel to the conveyor belts at an angle of 45°," said Jesús Alvarez Laurnaga, general Manager, Alcalá de Guadaira.

When an ALIMAK SE-600 industrial lift was installed, the Cementos Portland workforce immediately appreciated one of the major benefits of the lift system: eliminating the need to climb stairs.

When the company decided to replace its raw mill facility in 2005 with a larger increased capacity, plans were implemented to install a similar ALIMAK SE-4 lift system.

The new raw mill with a 330 t/h capacity replaces two 100 t/h mills – with one demolished and the second modified for a parallel process. The mill feeds marl, chalk, alumina corrector, and iron corrector, using a new conveyor system traversing from +2 m to +45 m and including a 180° turn, so as not to cross new and existing installations.

This necessitated a 4-stage system, with the Alimak lift providing access to numerous levels above and below each stage, according to Assistant Production Manager, Asier Almendaria.

"With the plant running 24/7, the Alimak lifts are both in constant use daily," he says, adding, "The new lift ensures easy access to the head of the process equipment at the top stage, to the conveyor belt feeding the kiln, and to countless filters and other control equipment."

The ALIMAK SE-4 lift features a floor area of 0.78 m x 1.04 m and has a capacity of 400 kg. The latest installation features a semi-automatic car operating system and a direct on-line (dol) motor controller.

The lift’s rack and pinion drive technology eliminates the need for a costly conventional lift shaft, and with drive machinery located on the car roof, the need for a machine room is also eliminated.

Jesús Alvarez Laurnaga further recognized the importance of the Alimak lifts in improving working conditions for his workforce.

"The lift ensures that health and safety factors are met. Because they don’t have to climb stairs, workers are less likely to be tired, which reduces the potential for accidents, and for time off resulting from inuries."

The 400 kg and 600 kg capacities of both lifts also means that workers can carry service tools and, when necessary, parts for replacement, eliminating the possible use of cranes and hoists to lift the parts. Cementos Portland has considerable experience with Alimak lifts, installing a total of seven at its operation since 1998.

Alimak lifts

The range of Alimak industrial lifts feature a modular build with up to 30 different car sizes measuring 0.78 m x 1.04 m – 1.56 m x 3.0 m and travel at speeds of up to 1.0 m/sec. Lifting heights in excess of 250 m can be obtained using the rack and pinion techniques to lift capacities of between 300–2,400 kg.

A recent report in the USA quoted the costs of stairrelated falls annually within the States to be in the region of US$ 15 billion. Clearly, the use of industrial-style permanent lifts could eliminate many such accidents.

Alimak Hek, with 50 years lift experience, has been supplying the international cement industry with permanently installed lifts since 1975. They are used on silos, bagging facilities, preheaters, and calciners to improve productivity, workers satisfaction, and safety. Alimak Hek has a comprehensive standard range of lifts, from small access lifts for maintenance engineers and supervisors to high capacity lifts capable of transporting heavy exchange parts, bags, and pallets.

Alimak lifts are designed to withstand tough environments, such as high levels of cement dust in combination with high temperatures.

Elevator details

Alcalá de Guadaira Cement plant Seville, Spain
Raw mill facility
Lift type
400 kg
Lift car size
0.78 x 1.04 x 2.17 m (W x L x H)
0.6 m/s
Lifting height
50 m
Lift type
600 kg
Lift car size
1.04 x 1.43 x 2.17 m (W x L x H)
0.6 m/s
Lifting height
44 m
Cement plant Alcalá de Guadaira

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