Rites pave way for new plant, bigger production
SAN FERNANDO, Cebu (Oct. 15, 2021) — Taiheiyo Cement Philippines, Inc. (TCPI) honored today its old kiln to pave the way for the installation of a new and bigger furnace that will increase the company’s production capacity from 2,500 tons of clinker per day to 6,000 tons by mid-2024.
TCPI President and CEO Yoshihito Izawa led the ceremony to close the kiln that produced cement from here for almost 30 years that contractors used to build several edifices and infrastructure projects in Cebu and many parts of the country.
Izawa expressed his “feelings of gratitude” to the equipment that then Grand Cement Manufacturing Corp. (GCMC) imported from a mothballed cement plant in Texas, USA and operated it in a complex built here from October 1993.
“Now we have decided to build a new line. It is inevitable to dismantle the whole facility to construct a completely new one. I am deeply grateful for this facility that has contributed to our business activities,” he said.
Taiheiyo Cement Corp. (TCC) acquired GCMC in November 2000 through its international business division and since operated it under TCPI. It decided to invest more in 2017 to build a new plant and associated facilities.
Then TCC president and now board chairman Shuji Fukuda committed the “Renewal” expansion to Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez in the presence of President Duterte during his state visit in Japan last Oct. 30, 2017.
TCPI has been a faithful partner of the country’s construction industry, providing superior quality cement products in all islands in the Visayas, Mindanao and, partially, in Luzon area.
3M tons a year
Demand for cement in the country, TCC noted, increased by 30 percent from 2015, reaching 32 million tons by the end of 2019, with TCPI contributing seven percent of the national demand.
While demand shrunk in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, the October 2020 World Bank East Asia and Pacific Economic Update expected it to rise again with strong gross domestic product (GDP) recovery, then estimated to be at +5.3 percent by this time of the year.
But the Philippine Statistic Authority (PSA) released a report only last Nov. 9 that the country etched a +12.0 GDP growth in the second quarter year-on-year, 2020-2021, although it dipped to +7.1 in the third quarter.
Confident of the country’s projected growth in the post- pandemic era, TCC announced in the last quarter of 2020 the construction of a new production line that will increase TCPI’s capacity to 3.0 million tons of cement that can increase its market share to 10 percent.
Tokyo viewed the project as a strategic investment, not only in the context of the country’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ program, but also from the perspective of meeting the demand of the Philippines’ forthcoming economic recovery.
The kiln is used in pyro-processing in the manufacture of Portland, and other types of hydraulic cement, in which calcium carbonate reacts with silica-bearing minerals to form a mixture of calcium silicates.
The new line will offer significant advantages in terms of energy efficiency and will reduce Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions from energy use in clinker production by more than 10 percent compared with the efficiency of the current line, TCPI disclosed.
Additionally, it is expected that the higher quality clinker produced with the new line will enable a reduction in the clinker factor and realize further a CO2 reduction per ton of cement produced, it added.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is one of the critical issues for TCC with all its global affiliates as declared in its CSR objectives for 2025 and long-term vision of greenhouse gas emissions reduction toward 2050.
Over a billion tons of cement per year are produced all over the world. Rotary kiln is the main engine in cement production, the core equipment of the production, and commonly known as the “heart” of the cement plant.
To jumpstart the Renewal project, TCPI stopped on Oct. 11, 2021 the old kiln that rolled commercially and operated for 28 years after three years it got shipped from Kaiser, Texas.
Izawa led Japanese expats and Filipino TCPI officials four days after in a simple emotion-filled honoring ceremony at the kiln burner floor of the production building in Catholic rites and traditional Japanese ritual.
Plant manager Tatsushi Sasao, also senior vice president (SVP) for operations, explained why the company formally bid the kiln goodbye.
“I encourage everyone to look back to the past operation and feel the gratitude in our hearts. We will offer prayers in both the Filipino way and Japanese form, as ways of expressing our deep gratitude for the equipment,” he said.
Rev. Fr. Milton Medida, parish priest of the San Isidro Labrador Parish in San Fernando, offered a short thanksgiving prayer for the benefits the kiln gave TCPI, its employees and the market it served for the past three decades; and prayed for the success of the company’s upcoming new kiln.
Izawa and Sasao led the Japanese rites by pouring Japanese rice wine saki towards the kiln.
Eng’r. Rolando G. Buhisan, assistant vice president (AVP) and concurrent assistant plant manager (APM) for maintenance and engineering, noted the kiln did not only produce quality clinker but also greatly helped the town in many ways.
“The kiln contributed to thousands of families and individuals to alleviate their standard of living, became the steppingstone for skills development and knowledge growth, and helped hundreds of San Fernando’s children become professionals,” said Buhisan, who was among the team that installed the kiln.
The ceremony left an indelible mark in the corporate life of TCPI. As it closed a remarkable chapter, it ventures into a new beginning that would bring the company to greater heights ahead.
Those in attendance included SVP Finance & MMD/CFO Taro Sumi; SVP-HRA & LCAD Takuya Nose; APM for operations and concurrent operations division manager Tsutomu Hirobe; APM for electrical and instrumentation Kimitoshi Yoshida; and technical adviser Yoshinori Adachi.
Division and department managers of the company also witnessed the ceremony.