Displaying items by tag: Netherlands
Switzerland: LafargeHolcim and employee representatives in Europe have established a new European Works Council (EWC). The forum for consultation and dialogue at a transnational level will bring together worker representatives from 19 countries with senior leaders from LafargeHolcim.
“People are essential to the success of LafargeHolcim and our commitment to social dialogue through the new European Works Council is testament to this. During a period of transformation, we recognise that ensuring the full commitment, mobilisation, and engagement of our employees is a key building block for success,” said Eric Olsen, chief executive officer of LafargeHolcim.
The EWC was established based on an agreement signed by Olsen and Executive Committee members Caroline Luscombe, responsible for Organisation and Human Resources and Roland Köhler, responsible for Europe, Australia / New Zealand and Trading as well as Sam Hägglund, General Secretary of the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers EFBWW, among other management and employee representatives. Chaired by Köhler, the EWC replaces the previous European Works Councils. Countries represented in the EWC include Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.
Italy: Spectris, the company that owns Panalytical, has acquired Pixirad, a technology company that develops and distributes X-ray detectors. The business will be integrated into Panalytical within Spectris’ Materials Analysis division.
Pixirad was established in 2012 under the spin-off programme of the Instituto Nationale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN). The detector technology was originally developed through research into advanced particle physics and space research technologies and has been improved by Pixirad for use with high energetic X-rays. Before the purchase, Panalytical solds the Pixirad detectors as a high-end option for its Empyrean X-ray diffraction (XRD) instrument used for various materials analysis applications. Following the acquisition the combination of Pixirad’s technology with Panalytical’s experience in products using X-ray detectors is expected to allow expansion of the range applications addressed by existing and future instruments.
Netherlands: Van Beek Schroeftransport and Penko Engineering have developed a screw conveyor that can monitor in real time how much product the screw is transporting. Flow on the screw can be set and the screw can also be programmed to stop upon reaching a pre-specified weight or to empty itself and then stop. During operation measurements such as the material speed (m/s), flow rate (kg/s) and transported volumes can be monitored. The weighing screw was exhibited for the first time at the Industrial Processing exhibition in Utrecht in the Netherlands in October 2016.
Netherlands: Keith is promoting its new Freight Runner Conveyor, a conveying system that can be installed inside a truck trailer as part of its West Coast Tour in the US and worldwide. It is intended to replace the manual process of palletised cargo handling that requires a forklift operator and an employee with a pallet jack. The system can move up to 30t and it can load and or unload a full trailer in two minutes. The system is available in a hydraulic and electric driven motor.
Netherlands: Panalytical has launched Aeris, a benchtop version of its X-ray powder diffraction (XRD) line. The system offers high data quality and speed of data acquisition for its power requirements and the manufacturers say that it is the first benchtop XRD system that is fully automatable and can easily be incorporated in industrial production control. The diffractometer is available in a number of different models tailored for the cement, minerals and metals industries. Additionally, a research model is available.
Once again Ecocem has shone the torch this week for a rare thing within Europe these days: a growing cement company. Its latest project is an import terminal in Sweden, as part of a deal with Bolidan, which launched on 22 September 2016. This supports an arrangement to supply cement for the Boliden Garpenberg mine. The agreement also includes supply for the Boliden Tara Mines in Ireland.
This follows the announcement to build a new slag grinding plant in Dunkirk, France in early September 2016 and the opening of a new terminal in Runcorn, UK earlier in the year. The 1.4Mt/yr Dunkirk plant is a joint-venture with the steelmaker ArcelorMittal, intended to target markets in north of France and in the UK. Once complete it will join Ecocem’s growing collection of grinding units in Ireland, France and the Netherlands. The slag-cement producer operates a 0.35Mt/yr plant at Dublin, a 0.7Mt/yr plant at Fos in the south of France and a 0.35Mt/yr plant at Moerdijk under its subsidiary Orcem Netherlands.
The focus on the UK makes sense given that Ecocem said that it had made commitments to sell more product in the UK in its first year than its total domestic sales in 2016. This followed the situation where, prior to entering the British market, Ecocem had to stop taking orders in the short term due to demand. If this is actually the case then it is unsurprising to note that Ecocem is also building a second UK terminal at Sheerness at the mouth of the River Thames near to London. As an aside, Francis Flower bought the Scunthorpe ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBS) plant from Hanson Cement in mid-2015 after the local market regulator requested the sale.
As Charlie Zeynel, ZAG International, says in an interview to be published in the October 2016 issues of Global Cement Magazine, that supplementary cementitous materials, including slags, in cement blends has grown worldwide, particularly in Europe and Japan, where GGBS cement represents around 25% and 30% of cement sales respectively. Zeynel goes on to say that GGBS usage is set to rise in other parts of the world, particularly the US, but this helps to explain the market Ecocem is operating in within northern Europe.
Ecocem seems well aware of the potential for slag cements in the US because it is attempting to build a Euro45m grinding plant Vallejo, California under its Orcem Americas subsidiary. The process has so far been dogged by planning problems at the proposed site as well as organised local opposition, which does not want a new industrial plant in the neighbourhood and issues such as the increased traffic it would bring. The irony here is that Ecocem bills itself as an environmentally friendly cement producer. Yet even environmentally-friendly cement needs to be manufactured and taken to site.
To misquote Kermit the Frog: it’s not easy selling green cement. However, Ecocem’s progress in Europe is encouraging both in the UK and the wider area. Roll on the opening of the Sheerness terminal.
Find out more about Ecocem's operations here: www.ecocem.fr/en/
Netherlands: Shipbuilding company Ferus Smit delivered its first liquefied natural gas (LNG) powered cement tanker MV Greenland to JT Cement on 23 December. Built for the joint venture JT Cement, formed by Swedish shipping company Erik Thun AB and Norway-based KG Jebsen Cement, MV Greenland departed the Delfzijl harbour on its first commercial voyage to Rostock where it will receive its first cement load.
The vessel is the first ever dry cargo vessel with an LNG fuelled propulsion system and LNG tanks integrated inside the hull. The unique design incorporates a pressurised LNG tank positioned in the foreship. While sailing on LNG, the vessel will meet high emission criteria.
The cement cargo system consists of a fully automated cement loading and unloading system, based on fluidisation of cement by means of compressed air. The cement can be loaded and unloaded fully enclosed through pipes, thus dust-free.
Netherlands: LyondellBasell, one of the world's largest plastics, chemical and refining companies, has appointed Thomas Aebischer, former CFO at Holcim, has been appointed as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) effective from 1 January 2016.
"Thomas is a highly experienced and accomplished leader who brings a global perspective, deep knowledge of financial markets and significant experience at the executive level of large, multinational companies. Given his past experience and success in a variety of financial positions all over the world, I am very confident that he will be a tremendous asset as we continue to execute our long-term growth strategy," said Bob Patel, LyondellBasell's Chief Executive Officer.
Aebischer joins LyondellBasell after having served in a variety of positions, including CFO, over a nearly 20-year career with Holcim. In his role as Holcim's CFO, Aebischer's responsibilities included the company's information technology, accounting and administration, investor relations, risk management and procurement functions. Earlier in his career, Aebischer held positions with PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Bern cantonal tax authorities in Switzerland.
"LyondellBasell's transformation into one of the premier companies in the petrochemical industry is very impressive," said Aebischer. "It is truly an honour to join Bob and his team of leaders, who share a relentless focus on safety, operational excellence and the creation of shareholder value."
As LyondellBasell's CFO, Aebischer will be nominated to serve as a member of the company's management board and will be responsible for leading the company's treasury, information technology, tax, finance and accounting functions. Aebischer will report directly to Patel.
Netherlands: Silicon, a specialist company in refractory anchoring systems and rapid arc stud welding technology, has announced that six new members have joined its team, where they will be instrumental in leading the organisation to drive worldwide business growth.
Marc Beers, who has been appointed as sales manager, has 15 years of experience at different sales management positions. "I look forward to working with such an awesome team and we are excited to work together on providing the best products and services to our customers." said Beers.
US/Cuba: A lawsuit in Spain has revealed documents indicating that Holcim may have invested in a cement plant in Cuba despite warnings the deal might violate US law because the plant sits on land seized from US citizens. The deal took place in 2000, when Holcim was known as Holderbank, but allegedly the ownership went through a string of companies in Spain, the Netherlands and Panama, according to documents filed in a lawsuit reported upon by the Miami Herald.
"Holderbank's investment in the Cienfuegos property clearly would constitute 'trafficking' in confiscated property under Title IV of Helms-Burton," wrote US lawyers hired to advise Holcim. Holcim denies that it owns a business or a stake in a business in Cuba.
The court documents are part of a lawsuit involving three Spanish firms. Firebrick SA and Acedos Trading allege that Inversiones Ibersuizas owes them more than US$2m from an investment in Cuba in 2000. The documents suggest that Ibersuizas created a Spanish firm, Las Pailas de Cemento, in 2000 that paid US$70m to Cuba for 50% of the joint venture, Cementos Cienfuegos plant. Holcim allegedly controlled the project through a Panama company, Windward Overseas. The deal subsequently began to break down in 2004.
Since 2004, the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, which enforces the US embargo on Cuba, has fined foreign companies more than US$1.25bn for violating US laws and regulations.