Mar 11 2021

Durable vertical access solutions for reliable performance in harsh cement plant environments

Alimak’s comprehensive range of industrial elevators are designed and engineered to deliver a reliable means of access and transportation for daily use in challenging industrial applications.

Cement plants are among the harshest and most challenging of industrial environments. The processes involved are complex and a variety of methods are used.  Production commonly begins with breaking down mined raw materials such as limestone, chalk, clay and iron ore. These are heated in kilns which reach immense temperatures of up to 1450 °C. This forms new compounds which are then ground in a cement mill to create a very fine powder. These materials and processes inevitably create harsh conditions and specific difficulties which standard elevator machinery is simply not built to deal with. The issues inherent in providing reliable access solutions for cement plants include the constant dust particles, extremely high temperatures and a humid atmosphere. All of these factors place considerable stress on any piece of machinery.

One example of a suitable vertical access solution for the concrete industry is the Alimak SE 1200 rack and pinion elevator currently in service at Buxton Lime and Cement in the UK. The robust design provided notable benefits including outdoor operation without an elevator shaft making it less susceptible to a build-up of high dust concentration. In addition, the elevator doesn’t require a separate machine room as the elevator car carries the drive machinery on top.

This provides more dependable transport for personnel, parts, tools and material loads throughout the plant, including provisions to evacuate people via stretcher in the event of injury. The flexibility of the system design was also an attractive feature which allowed for the system to be adapted for the irregular shape of the kiln.

The Omya cement plant in Avenza, Italy also relies on the robust design of an Alimak SE 2000 FC model rack and pinion elevator having been impressed with the longevity of a previous Alimak industrial elevator installed in 1991. The new installation called for a rugged design with a weight capacity of 2000-kilogram and an elevator car large enough to carry pallets through a single door. At the same time, the system also needed to fit within a limited space with predetermined tie-in points for the mast tower. A specialised rack and pinion elevator satisfied these specifications while delivering the hard-wearing performance required for the cement plant setting.

In South Australia, the Downer Wingfield Asphalt Plant also presented significant challenges for vertical access in terms of the pre-existing layout. The design of the plant had only allowed for a 500-kilogram material hoist but the requirements of recycling pavement material to produce new asphalt mixes required much greater functionality. Alimak were able to successfully install a rugged SC-45 industrial elevator within the existing shaft. This delivers a 1200-kilogram capacity for both personnel and equipment such as replacement parts while also meeting the structural load limitations of the space designed for a 500-kilogram hoist.

These and many other cement plants rely on Alimak’s range of dependable industrial elevators to deliver reliable and efficient access solutions built to overcome the challenges the industry presents.