Heidelberg Materials Chairman Dominik von Achten, and Heidelberg Materials North America CEO Chris Ward, formally ushered in a new era for the company’s century-old cement plant in Mitchell, Ind., unveiling advanced material handling, calciner, kiln and finishing equipment equal to 2.4 million metric tpy.
During a mid-June gathering – attended by SEMCO’s Cement Products, Concrete Products and Rock Products magazines – they showed customers, partners and other allies how the operation is set to be the second largest of its kind in North America and one of the most technologically advanced the world over. At $650 million, above all, they confirmed how the upgraded production line is the largest capital investment in Heidelberg Materials’ 150 years.
“Our Mitchell project instills pride in our rich history and provides an exciting look into the future of cement production,” said Dr. von Achten. “The plant will substantially contribute to Heidelberg Materials’ offering of low-carbon cement and concrete. It is the springboard to becoming the first fully decarbonized cement plant in the United States. It represents our commitment to further strengthening our North American footprint and increasing the sustainability of our products.”
“The plant will reduce clinker production carbon dioxide emissions per ton of product by almost 30 percent, mainly through operating on natural gas,” added Ward, who in addition to heading North American operations is a Heidelberg Materials Managing Board member. “Our investment in Mitchell helps us lower our carbon footprint while serving the growing demand for more sustainable products in this key market.”
The upgraded plant is loaded with features to meet ambitious production and capacity goals. A new automated lab, a smart motor control center to collect and communicate data, and a high-speed automated rotary-type packing machine capable of filling 3,600 full-sized (94-pound) bags per hour will dramatically increase efficiency.
With up to three times the capacity of a Mitchell legacy line idled in April, the new plant is poised to help address U.S. cement supply chain constraints. It opens as funding from Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 nears peak levels, spurring greater demand for concrete-intensive transportation and environmental work.