Cement lab and testing facility

A critical part of manufacturing and selling cement is ensuring the product meets the required quality standards. If anything goes wrong, it can be highly disruptive - and very expensive to fix.

Hanson’s national laboratory in Scunthorpe, situated within the British Steel site, carries out physical and chemical testing of cement, Regen and cementitious materials going into packed products.

More than 60 samples are delivered into the lab every day by TNT in 10kg tubs from locations around the country from Glasgow to Avonmouth. They are booked in and then split down for testing the following day by the team of four senior technicians and seven lab technicians.

“Strength testing for cementitious materials takes up to 90 days to complete, but we can tell if something is wrong within the first 24 hours,” said laboratory manager Paul Rounce. “We have a lot of specialist equipment including an X-ray fluorescent spectrometer which allows us to analyse the individual elements within the materials.”

The lab team had a big part to play in getting cement from the Ribblesdale works in Lancashire and Regen from Port Talbot specified as approved sources for construction of the new Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Somerset.

“We did a huge amount of testing and trial work over and above the norm to get the products approved and will need to ensure the highest standards are maintained,” said Paul. “A lot of the work we do is routine, but our technicians need to be constantly on their toes and have the ability to spot anything unusual. They have a very important part to play in the manufacturing process.”

The team also works closely with customers and admixture suppliers on quality issues and provides facilities for research into new products and services.