Online Learning Experience

Imagine an online classroom that takes you to learn at your own pace, allowing more choices with your learning opportunities. The Cement Institute is dedicated to providing the most dynamic and engaging programs available, as our enhanced online experience demonstrates an interactive and hands-on knowledge applicable directly to your plant.


Start Date: July 22, 2024



This Course is scheduled to be available on the following date(s):


A 6-week modular course is designed to give the course attendee a solid understanding of the grinding system and its auxiliary equipment.

The purpose of the training is to Identify and understands necessary known and unknown information towards the completed cycle of the grinding system, whether it is a ball mill, vertical mill, or crushing process. Throughout the course, the lectures are supplemented with exercises and case studies, allowing the participants to relate the course material to their cement grinding facility and, as a result understanding the changing needs of cement producers and how to tailor solutions to meet those needs. Optimizing output, improving efficiency and reliability while keeping production costs a minimum comprise some of the topics covered in this course. The course consists of theoretical classroom training, exercises, case study, and a work section.


Learning Outcomes

For the manufacture of cement, the necessary raw materials must be reduced by crushing and grinding. In general, these raw materials arrive from the quarry at the beginning of the size reduction process in pieces of up to 2 meters in its largest dimension. To burn a good quality clinker in a cement kiln, these lumps should be reduced to a particle size of approximately 0.05 mm. Therefore, it is not surprising that this drastic size reduction cannot be achieved in a single operation. This course covers the crushing, grinding, and associated equipment to ensure adequate feeding, quantity, and quality, to the milling plant.

There are two basic types of ball grinding systems: open circuit and closed circuit.

In the open circuit system, the mill product has the fineness required for the next stage. In the closed-circuit system, the mill product is classified in a separator in a fine fraction taken to the next step and a thick fraction that is returned to the mill for subsequent milling.

It is necessary to grind clinker, gypsum, and sometimes other additives in the proportions required at a predetermined fineness in any cement grinding circuit. The fineness is usually defined by the cement’s specific surface area measured in m²/kg or cm²/g. High-efficiency separators are usual to grind cement in a closed-circuit system due to energy consumption savings.

There is no doubt that vertical roller mills offer significant advantages over ball mills regarding their energy efficiency. The specific energy consumption of a ball mill is greater than a vertical roller mill (VRM) that performs the same operations by a factor of between 1.5 and 2, depending on the ball mill’s degree of optimization.

Finish Grinding System

The common cement grinding systems can be divided into three main groups:

Ball Mill

All grinding work is done in the ball mill, and the set-up is:

  • Ball mill in open circuit
  • Ball mill in closed circuit with
  • Mechanical air separator
  • Rotor type separator

Ball Mill with Pregrinding Unit

A part of the grinding work is done in a pregrinding unit which can be:

  • Roller press
  • Vertical shaft impact crusher

Depending on the selected system, the ball mill is in open or closed circuit (in most applications, the ball mill is in closed circuit).

Finish Grinding System

The ball mill is omitted, and all grinding work is done in a more efficient comminution machine. The possible systems are:

  • Roller press with desagglomerator and rotor type separator
  • Vertical roller mill with integrated rotor type separator
  • Horizontal roller mill with rotor type separator


Safety hazards in ball mills involve numerous situations; anywhere, we can observe conditions related to process, operation, and maintenance. Ball mills can be hazardous machines if they are not operated properly. Therefore, operators should follow the essential safety and maintenance advice; as part of the course, we will cover all the safety precautions to ensure safe operation and maintenance. Operators must take certain precautions before beginning to operate a ball mill. Here is a list of the most important safety maintenance steps that all operators must follow when using a ball mill:

  • Planning: planning is essential. Operators must know precisely when to lock and stop the ball mill. Planning ensures proper coordination and cooperation between maintenance and production departments.
  • Selection of the crew: it is essential to select the right maintenance team responsible for the maintenance program. Everyone should know what to do before and after each operation. In case something is unclear, employees should turn to their team leaders.
  • Issue Safe Work Permit: Operators must be issued a work permit before beginning work with a ball mill.
  • Adequate technical knowledge: as part of the course, we will deliver adequate specialized training before starting work with a ball mill. They must fully understand how the ball mill works.
  • Barricades: The best way to avoid work-related injuries is to barricade the area around the ball mill for safety reasons. It is also advisable to put up signs that prohibit entry without authorized permission. The signs also warn people of possible dangers.
  • Electric Power Lockout and Tagout: Once the ball mill operation is completed, the operator must disconnect the high voltage electric power. Operators should also test the circuit once they are done with the task.

Cleaning the machine after use: A ball mill must be cleaned after each operation or at the end of the working day. Major components like the grinding tool, grinding roller, and grinding ring are prone to wear. Because of that, each part or component should be regularly lubricated and checked for damage.

Who is this course for?

This course is geared towards the plant personnel seeking to develop their careers to improve their process and operation philosophy and methodology, obtain the right techniques of technological systems, and optimize their optimization. Appreciate how an efficient technology-based infrastructure comprises a critical factor in enabling a plant to gain a competitive edge for organizations’ benefit.

Individual responsibility is vital for reaching usable technical conclusions and presenting their results to obtain a course certificate.



An emphasis on the understanding of the crushing and milling technology system:

Evaluation and optimization of the function and main stress of the different types of crushers from the process and mechanical standpoint — Test efficiency evaluation and the different grindability measurement methods — Time evolution of the mill and grinding department.

Gas flow, advantage and disadvantage in the Raw mill and Cement mill installations – Grindability concept and the effects of inter-grinding materials of different grindability – Ball mill grinding equations and dimensioning – Describe working principles for a separator – Grinding aids and other tools to boost efficiency – Control concepts – Influence of the grinding process on cement quality – Evaluation of performance and optimization of ball mills, roller presses, and vertical roller mills.

  • Crushing circuits
  • Grindability measurement
  • Mill audit and axial sampling, raw material, and cement
  • Impact of material characteristics and grindability
  • Drying and evaporative cooling
  • Mechanical and process description of the different types of presses 
  • Separators, types, and operation
  • Separator efficiency and particle size distribution
  • Workshop: Plant performance (mill operation and improvement) – Maintenance consideration and best practices – Ball mill operation – Performance testing – Vertical mill operation and performance testing.


Learning Path

Topic 1: A refresher of general plant safety overview

Topic 2: An emphasis on special Hazards During the Cement Production Phases


Topic 1: Fineness Theory

Topic 2: Separation Theory

Topic 3: Grindability Theory

Topic 4: Drying Theory

Topic 5: Venting Theory

Topic 6: Cooling Theory

Topic 1: Raw Materials Extraction-Quarry Operations

Topic 2: Prehomogenization and Storage of Raw Materials

Topic 3: Raw Material Properties

Topic 4: Raw Materials Feed Bins

Topic 5: Crushing Circuits

Topic 1: Vertical Roller Mill

Topic 2: Raw Vertical Mill Controls and Operation

Topic 3: Raw Mill Optimization

Topic 4: Drying and Grinding of Coal

Topic 5: Coal Vertical Mill Controls and Operation

Topic 6: VRM Separators

Topic 7: Vertical Finish Mill

Topic 1: Mill Types and Components

Topic 2: Ball Mill Grinding

Topic 3: Ball Mill System Control Considerations

Topic 4: Ball Mill Audit and Optimization

Topic 5: Separators

Topic 6: Grinding Aids

Topic 1: Roll Press Principles

Topic 2: Roll Press Raw Grinding

Topic 3: Roll Press Cement Grinding

Topic 4: Slag Grinding

Topic 1: Fan System

Topic 2: Emissions and Dust Collectors

Topic 3: Cement Standards

Topic 4: Blended Cement

Topic 5: Cement Quality

Topic 6: Basic Cement Chemistry


An emphasis on the understanding of the crushing and milling technology system:

A unique combination of theoretical and practical skills throughout this course will be learned, which will help you develop and execute the concepts and technical knowledge acquired in the daily operation and maintenance activities. The following downloadable materials are part of the course to enhance and facilitate the participants’ learning experiences.

Participant manual: Include the key concepts, definitions, and activities presented in this course.

Work section book: Provide learning activities and hands-on practice – case study and exercises. Solutions are included after each training is completed. Certification is achieved by completing a satisfactory level of exercises, quizzes, and final exams for each module.

The course is conducted online, allowing students flexibility (within six weeks) to complete all modules. Students should expect to spend more than 10 hours per week and some additional time for private reading/study. A computer with Internet access (broadband recommended) and email will be required.


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