New enterprise-wide monitoring and benchmarking

Enterprise-wide managers can now get complete visibility of real-time information on all their plants – regardless of location.

Cement and minerals plants have been using process and quality control systems, as well as historian systems, to analyse plant performance for years. But the information has always been isolated in individual silos and limited to individual plants. This is about to change.

ECS/PlantGuide® Enterprise is a new concept that FLSmidth presented to the world at Cemtech Europe 2009 in Monte Carlo. The system provides enterprise-wide operational visibility, and quality and environmental data in real-time – for all a company’s plants – in one online environment. Managers and engineers can use this data to make better-informed decisions that increase value for the entire company.

“Corporate managers can now benchmark the performance of all their plants – and use the information to optimise performance across the board,” says Joju Jacob, Product Manager at FLSmidth. “And this can improve the company’s bottom line. Previously, data and reports were limited to each individual plant. But this isn’t enough for companies with multiple plants. Most companies have a Technical Centre where their best people give advice on operations to each plant. With ECS/PlantGuide Enterprise, people in the Technical Centre now have complete visibility into all their plants’ data, regardless of where the plants are.”

ECS/PlantGuide Enterprise could be the future for many cement and minerals producers.
— FLSmidth

Secure, scalable and reliable data consolidation

ECS/PlantGuide Enterprise gathers data from multiple plants using a secure Internet connection or a virtual private network (VPN). The data is presented in a standard internet browser format, which means there’s no need for special software on office PCs. Historical reports can be generated with just one click, and ‘mimics’ show real-time data in each plant. Previously, this information was sent manually, via email or file sharing. Now, the data is available to the Technical Centre in real-time – vastly improving data flow efficiency and reducing the manual work required.

An ECS/PlantGuide Web for data visualisation ensures the right information is available to the right people at the right time. This makes the application simpler to use, because views can be tailored to each individual user’s needs: for example, technicians can see all technical data reports and real-time data, while managers can choose only to see data on certain key performance indicators.

Benchmarking and best practice sharing

This real-time data access could prove invaluable to managers and engineers. For example, by comparing the information from ECS/PlantGuide Enterprise, engineers at the Technical Centre may notice that one plant is more energy efficient than another. They can then analyse the data to find out why – and use the results to make improvements at the weaker plant.

As well as seeing real-time data, users can use standard Microsoft Office applications to view historical reports that allow them to benchmark performance – not just on one plant, but across their business – and find and share best practices. The result should be better performance in every plant.

Enterprise-wide environmental reports

Another key advantage of ECS/PlantGuide Enterprise is its breadth. Production performance can be combined with Laboratory Information Management systems (LIMS) and environmental reports. According to Joju, more and more cement and minerals producers are focusing on the environmental aspects of their work. “Companies have to be able to show regulatory authorities that they meet environmental standards,” he says, “not just in one plant, but in all the plants they operate. ECS/PlantGuide Enterprise makes it easy for them to produce combined environmental reports from all their operations.”

ECS/PlantGuide Enterprise could be the future for many cement and minerals producers. It gives them access to data on all their plants, and enables the engineers in their Technical Centre to tweak individual plant performance, give better advice to plant operators and establish benchmarks for all their plants.

ECS/PlantGuide Enterprise at a glance

 

What can managers do with it?

  • Benchmark between business units
  • Get an overview of cement ?and clinker stocks
  • Improve environmental compliance
  • Monitor corporate KPIs
  • Improve bottom line performance with enterprise-wide procedures

What can technical experts do with it?

  • Remove plant bottlenecks
  • Utilise best operation practices
  • Data mine process departments
  • Improve specific power and energy consumption
  • Improve overall equipment efficiency (OEE)
  • Increase time between failures

Technical information

  • Encrypted and secure data collection from different plants
  • Data resolution of 10 seconds for each plant’s data
  • Web interface (Internet Explorer)
  • Ability to integrate with Microsoft Office tools

Advanced Process Control (APC)

More and more plants are using FLSmidth Automation’s APC ECS/ProcessExpert® software to optimise plant performance. In many cases, APC can improve plant performance by pushing a plant up to maximum production levels, ensuring higher quality, and lowering power consumption and costs. What does this mean to a cement plant?

In a kiln

  • Increase production by 3-5%
  • Save 2-4% in fuel costs
  • Improve quality by 30%

In a mill

  • Increase production by 3-8%
  • Save 3-8% in fuel costs
  • Improve quality by 10-20%

Labtium Oy installs RoboLab

Finnish-based Labtium Oy is an independent laboratory that provides testing, training and other services to the minerals industry. It was one of the labs that analysed the first stones from the moon – and it has now installed FLSmidth Automation’s QCX/RoboLab system to ensure its customers get accurate sample preparation every time.

The QCX/Robolab can complete up to 600 samples per day – and it uses robotic technology to minimise cross-contamination and ensure shorter turn-around times. It integrates with an existing LIMS for automatic transfer of work orders and preparation information – and removes almost all manual handling of preparations.

As a result, Labtium customers now get the best of two worlds: the experience of Labtium scientists with a state-of-the-art automated sample preparation system.