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Manufacturer opens plant to college’s concrete program

Lehigh Hanson's massive horizontal rotary kilns were among the highlights of a plant visit by concrete science students and faculty.
Lehigh Hanson’s massive horizontal rotary kilns were among the highlights of a plant visit by concrete science students and faculty.

Penn College students and faculty were recently invited by Doug Cassatt, of the Lehigh Hanson Heidleberg Cement Group, to tour the company’s Fleetwood Cement Manufacturing facility. “The students were introduced to the sophisticated process of cement production by an extremely knowledgeable Lehigh Hanson staff, from the raw material in the quarry to the final packing facility where the product is loaded and transported by truck or rail,” said Joseph F. DiBucci, a concrete science technology major and president of the ConCreate Design Club. The plant boasts numerous recycling processes – water pumped from the quarry provides an active supply for the borough, for instance, and 7,000 to 10,000 tires per day are used as a heat source – and $16 million was spent for equipment to cut down or eliminate carbon emissions in the production process. The Berks County facility is equipped with a “state of the art” lab to analyze the chemical makeup so the customer is given the best product possible. “One of the main attractions was the horizontal rotary kilns that broke down the raw material to clinker at a temperature of 2,500 degrees,” added DiBucci, from Glenshaw. “The visit was an eye-opening experience that demonstrated the amount of work that is required to produce cement, the most widely used building material in the world.” The tour was followed by a luncheon and discussion. The college’s School of Construction & Design Technologies offers a two-year degree in concrete science technology, unique to the East Coast.
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