Secil’s main activity is the production of cement and the development of applications for this product of excellence, which is currently man’s most widely construction material, and the most important in any building work, from the simplest to the grandest and most complex.
Apart from making the buildings more robust and resistant to fire, water, wind and storms of various kinds, cement makes it possible to dissipate heat, which makes houses more efficient, thus reducing spending on air conditioning. Its use in dams also facilitates water management for power generation and human consumption.
All these factors have led to the increased safety and comfort of the population.
Besides its financial importance in Europe, the cement industry has a great impact on the national and regional economy (jobs, services and local suppliers).
Secil, from Setúbal, whose share capital is exclusively Portuguese, is today a predominantly exporting company, with 60% of its production being shipped abroad.
It exports almost 1 million and 500 thousand tons of cement and clinker by sea from Setúbal to more than 20 countries, thus contributing to the national effort to improve the balance of foreign trade.
The Secil Outão private quay is therefore of paramount importance in the outflow of the product, not only allowing the various domestic sea port warehouses to be supplied, but also playing a key role in exports to North America, the Caribbean, Central and South America, the African West Coast and North Africa.
Over the last few years, the export operations of the Outão plant have grown significantly, accounting today for about 93% of the total domestic volume of exports.
Besides the significant impact on the region resulting from its port operations, transport, safety and various related services, by hiring numerous companies in the Setúbal Peninsula, the Outão plant today accounts for about 31% of the cargo volume in the Port of Setúbal.
Of all the factories owned by Secil abroad, only the Tunisian plant currently exports its products, with some 300,000 tonnes being shipped to Algeria and Libya.
In addition to cement being a key material in the creation of energy-efficient homes, its manufacturing process allows atmospheric emissions to be significantly reduced, plays an important role in waste management and contributes to the promotion of biodiversity (fauna and flora) through rehabilitation of quarries. Energy recovery, by using alternative fuels such as biomass, reduces carbon emissions and dependence on fossil fuels.
Cement has been part of human life since time immemorial. The discovery of a mineral powder which, when mixed with water, formed a paste which would solidify gradually and bind to other materials, led to improvements in the quality of life of the population.
Various binding materials were used over time. The clay used by the Assyrians and Babylonians and the plaster used by the Egyptians was followed by the calcined lime used by the Greeks and Romans. However, it was only in the eighteenth century that a limestone-based cement was discovered which, with a certain proportion of clay, remained solid, even under water.
This discovery led to a process for manufacturing a hydraulic binder based on lime and clay to be registered in 1830. The product, which had a similar colour and characteristics to the rocks of Portland Island, would enter history forever and today Portland is still one of the most popular types of cement.
Today, cement is a combination of several chemicals, linked in pre-set proportions and then subjected to a complex and strictly standardized industrial manufacturing process.
The cement manufacturing process takes place by extraction of materials from a quarry. Then, the stone passes through a crusher to make it smaller and easier to transport.
After these stages the stone must be ground to a powder and, if necessary, the material must be chemically fixed. This process is called raw mix grinding. Then the raw mix (the ground stone) passes through the firing stage in furnaces that reach 2000º C and is subjected temperatures in excess of 1450º C for 10 seconds.
This produces an artificial rock, called clinker, which, when mixed with additives such as gypsum and other materials, is ground (grinding mill) to produce different types of cement.
Finally the cement is packaged and shipped. All atmospheric emissions are monitored and subjected to a filtering process, with the use of electrostatic and bag filters. All atmospheric emissions are monitored and subjected to a filtering process, with the use of electrostatic and bag filters.
Types of cements and Lime
Secil produces a wide range of types of grey and white cement classes, with applications ranging from minor construction to major civil engineering works. Secil cements are certified (EN 197-1) and subject to rigorous continuous quality control from the production stage to its placement in the market.
By adopting the best practices and technologies, the company ensures a high standard of quality in all its actions.
In addition to cement, Secil also sells hydraulic lime, a binder with a wide range of uses, especially the manufacture of mortars, treatment of soils, soil-lime or fillers for bituminous concretes.
Currently, the company also produces natural hydraulic lime as the result of a process of research and development in the Secil Group. It can be used in applications that are compatible with previous materials but with behaviour that meets the stringent requirements of today.