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“We see many exciting things happening right now”

Expert Interview

Home Future of Conveying “We see many exciting things happening right now”

“We see many exciting things happening right now”

The cement processing industries are undergoing major changes. Matthias Gassmann, Business Development Manager for the Rubber Group at Continental, talks about challenges, innovations, customer experience, and future topics.

Matthias GassmannQuestion 1

Mr. Gassmann, what will companies operating in the cement processing industry increasingly look for in the future?


Companies will focus on fast exchanges, an available stock of standard belts and service on short notice that is locally available and allows for the quick repair, exchange, and splicing of conveyor belts. Cement plants and quarries are managed locally due to different operation and replacement conditions.


Question 2

What are they focusing on?


Reducing CO2 emissions is their main concern – everything possible will be done to achieve this, including changes in the processes and raw materials. Costs are an additional priority followed by the extension of the lifetimes of assets such as conveyor belts.


Question 3

What role will environmental requirements play in this sector?


An increasingly important one. Cement production is responsible for six to eight percent of man-made CO2 emissions worldwide. There is great hidden potential here for climate protection. That’s why something needs to be done politically with regard to the regulations, for example to drive forward further steps for international CO2 certificate trading or to formulate a legally secure definition of “climate-friendly cement.”


Question 4

Will government requirements encourage innovation efforts?


Governmental requirements are like a double-edged sword: They play a very important role for companies operating in this sector, as any regulation on CO2 will directly affect their bottom line negatively, and extensive infrastructure investments on the other hand are pushing the results. So, the pressure is on to meet the government’s and the industry’s carbon targets.


Question 5

Can you give a few examples of the innovations the industry is currently working on?


As innovation is a key to achieving these goals, we see a lot of exciting things happening right now – for example, the move from fossil fuels to alternative fuels, the replacement of clinker with industrial byproducts such as fly ash, CO2 separation projects and the utilization of hydrogen-based energy.


Question 6

How important is the customer experience in this industry?


A positive customer experience is very important for local plants – a direct relationship and availability are valued very highly. Having this mind, we are working towards strengthening the local presence of our service teams and service partners all around the globe and increasing the availability of our long-lasting conveyor belt solutions.


Question 7

Automation, digitalization, climate protection: Which topic is the focus on in the cement processing industry today, and what will it be tomorrow?


All topics play an important role and go hand in hand with each other. At the forefront, there is climate protection with a strong focus on the innovations just mentioned and the main process of burning or grinding cement clinker. Automation and digitalization will provide support to optimize this process using artificial intelligence. This can be supported by using high-quality assets with the longest lifetime possible.


Question 8

How important are conveyor belts in this context?


At this point, conveyor belt systems can play an important role to sustainably increase the efficiency and profitability in a quarry or cement plant. We think that this factor will become more important in the future, which leads us to the conviction that advanced and resistant compounds and monitoring systems will play an increasingly important role in the near future.

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