January 2019 - This handbook has been superseded by the Cement Plant Operations Handbook 7th Edition.Fully revised and updated with improved content, the new Sixth Edition of the Cement Plant Operations Handbook is now available.
Some 22,000 copies over the past five editions have been delivered free of charge to International Cement Reviews global subscribers, as well as purchased and used extensively in several in-house training initiatives by leading cement producers such as Lafarge, Holcim, HeidelbergCement and Cemex. In addition, thousands of students participating in CemNets e-Learning training modules have received a copy as part of their course package.
Fully updated in 2019 and extended with a new alternative fuels section, the Seventh Edition of the Cement Plant Operations Handbook is now available free of charge to International Cement Review subscribers.
Covering some 340 pages, the cement industrys favourite technical reference book provides in-depth information of the various aspects of cement production from raw material extraction to the finished product. Key sections covering burning, grinding and quality control are supported by a range of essential chapters on cement hydration, plant reporting, maintenance and much more.
1 Introduction 2 Raw materials 3 Raw milling and blending 4 Flames and fuels 5 Burning and cooling 6 Cement milling 7 Quality control 8 Maintenance 9 Environment and pollution control 10 Hydration of Portland cement 11 Plant reporting 12 Accounting 13 Technical and process audits 14 Plant assessment list 15 Cement plant construction and valuation
Since its first edition, published in 1995, over 27,000 copies have been well-received by cement companies worldwide, including industry leaders such as LafargeHolcim, HeidelbergCement and Cemex, as well as countless independent producers. It is commonly used for various in-house training initiatives as well as the go-to reference book for cement plant operators.
The Cement Plant Operations Handbook for dry process plant by Philip A Alsop, PhD. Covering some 232 pages, the cement industrys favorite technical reference book provides in-depth information on the various aspects of cement production plant from raw material extraction to the finished product. Key sections covering burning, grinding and quality control are supported by a range of essential chapters on Technical & Process Audits, Kilns & Burning.
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The pressures facing manufacturing industries, such as the cement industry, are well known and oftendiscussed in the pages of trade magazines and industry conferences. Similarly, the benefits of digitalization and Industry 4.0 have been much advertised by suppliers and users, keen to position themselves at the forefront of industry development. Terms such asInternet of Things (IoT), big data, data analytics,artificial intelligence, and cloud technology have become largely familiar if not fully understood.
The questionhas now becomenotifthese digital technologies can bring significant advantages to cement operations buthowtheyare able to achieve ongoingprocess optimizationin practice. This article willtake a lookat one aspect of that, focusing on the use of advanced process control (APC).
When planning and implementing a digitalization strategy, it is important to take a holistic approach. This means moving the process from isolated and discrete functions to one in which processes are connected, via developments in IoT technologies, and then automated. From there, it is possible to transition to autonomous operations, whereby optimization and asset management functions occur largely without human interaction within a secure cyber environment. The key therefore to successful digitalization is data, collected directly from connected equipment and processes or derived from soft sensor models. The latter can be used to infer data where no measurement exists, e.g. when real-world measurement would be too expensive,orto increase the frequency of data inputandprovide backup for unreliable measurements.
Using this data,it becomes possible to supplement the human operators skill and creativityto better control the process and optimize performance. Central to this process isadvanced process control (APC).
APC as a concept has been around for some time: the first description ofthe use ofMPCtocontrol applications was presented in the 1970s by JacquesRichelet. Despite its potential advantages, however,APC has acquired amixed reputation.
A typical APC project starts with the design, installation and commissioning of the applications, at which point the benefits are realized. With the system performing as promised, the usermight welldecide againstthe cost of aservice-level agreement, preferringto maintain the system via an onsite champion. Over time, however, this onsite champion moves on, while operating conditions, such asraw materials and fuels, gradually changeto the point that the predictive model no longer reflects the actual operating conditions.As a result,performance of theapplication starts todecayanditis eventually turned off.
The development of new digitalization technologies, such as IoT and cloud computing,offers a solutionby movingAPCfrom a CAPEX-led investment with separate software license and maintenance agreements to a collaborative and continuing partnership between APC supplier, such as ABB, and plant, based on the ideaof subscription licenses and services. Not only does this mean that the advantages of the systemaremaintained, but itopensopportunity to achieve enterprise-level multi-site optimization.
Collaborative: information is accessible to anyone, anywhere, on any device, at any time. This brings operational visibility to all levels of a business: from a top-level fleet view to compare and benchmark plants, to looking at individual plants to assess critical KPIs, down to viewing individual operations and assets.
As the success of APC implementation has not always been achieved over the long term, ABB offers a three-phase approach to ensure continuous system performance under the banner of ABB Ability Performance Optimizationfor mining and cement (PRISE; see Figure 3):
Under thefirst phase,a plants needsare assessedvia a site study (fingerprint), which helps to define and evaluate a digitalization roadmap based on tangible monetary benefits (ROI), including process stabilization, consumables reduction, throughput increase and quality increase.The goals of the study are:
Theanalyses and KPIs included in thescope of the study varyfrom site to site but generallycoverraw materials processing, raw mill, calciner, kiln, cooler, and cement mill(Figure 4). It is also recommended that certain preliminary data is provided before the onsite study begins, such asprocess flowsheet; heat and mass balance (where relevant); process description; standard operating procedure.
Once the site study has been undertaken and presentedto the site and assuming APC implementation moves ahead, the challengethenbecomes maintaining the benefits after commissioning.As noted previously, this has been the downfall of APC systems and the reason behind its sometimes less-than-favourablereputation.ABBovercomesthis through a process of KPI monitoring.
KPIs are either predefined and setup during commissioning or can be customized by the client. Predefined KPIs relate to the general performance, effectiveness and utilization of ABB AbilityExpert Optimizer, or to the manipulated and controlled variables.
By regular monitoring of the systems performance, the problemsposed by it going out of dateor a site losing its APC champion areavoided, ensuring the benefits continue to be enjoyed long after commissioning and eliminating the potential for the system to be switched off by operators.
When implemented and maintained to these best practices, APC becomes a powerful tool for ensuring a cement operation survives and thrives in a competitive business environment. Indeed, typical improvement values delivered by ABB to users ofABB Ability Expert Optimizerinclude:
Data lies at the heart of this revolution. Cutting edge technologies, such as IoT and cloud computing, are connecting equipment and processes to plant operators and company management like never before. With more and better quality data now available, advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence can be applied to enhance process control and bring the concept of an autonomous plant within reach. Boosted by these advances, APC is moving beyond its checkered past to play a leading role in the development of the intelligent cement plant.