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About Cement


What is cement and how is it made?

Cement comprises of carefully calculated amounts of calcium, silica, aluminum, and iron, which are mixed in controlled proportions and heated to extreme temperatures to create clinker. Each load of raw material must be tested to analyze the exact makeup of the materials and to understand what additives are required to create a consistent product. This material is ground into a fine powder to produce cement. The process gives it hydraulic properties, enabling it to bind sand and gravel together to form concrete.

Cement manufacturing is energy intensive, requiring kiln temperatures of up to 3,000°F. To achieve this, Holcim uses traditional and alternative energy sources to produce cement. Traditionally, operations have been fueled by coal, petroleum coke and natural gas. Today, Holcim plants across the country also use alternative fuels such as used auto tires and recycled materials like paper and cardboard from local industries to reduce the impact of our emissions. The benefits of using these alternative fuels are vast.


What is the difference between cement and concrete?

Cement is one of the ingredients used in the creation of concrete. Concrete is comprised of aggregates and cement paste. The paste is created by adding water to cement, and aggregates made of sand or crushed stone. Together, these materials harden to form the rock-like mass that we know as concrete.


What are the main ingredients in cement?

Common materials used to manufacture cement include limestone, shells, and chalk or marl combined with shale, clay, slate, blast furnace slag, silica sand, and iron ore.


What are the types of cement?

There are various types of cement used in the construction industry. The material composition and properties vary between each type of cement depending on its intended use. During the manufacturing process, additives are introduced to alter things like strength, curing time, color and chemical resistance.


How much cement does Holcim produce in Alpena?

With an annual production capacity of 2.4 million metric tons, the plant produces cement that serves customers throughout the Midwest and Ontario via the Great Lakes vessels and a series of cement terminals.

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