This is a real life case to understand how an expert system from Lafarge works and helps the plant in reducing energy consumption.
The grinding process in cement plants is extremely energy-intensive, accounting for nearly 45 per cent of the overall electrical energy consumption. Many corporates are into a business of designing an expert system, which uses actual plant data to make precise predictions about quality parameters for a given plant. The system can be integrated into the existing control system most of the time without any additional hardware. Mill controls can be optimised on the basis of predicted quality parameters, with an objective to reduce energy consumption. Many such 'Expert Systems' are in use at various plants in India and abroad. We are taking here one real life case of Lafarge plant.
Referred here is a case of Lafarge plant in southwest region of China Dujiangyan. With rising energy costs, accounting for approximately 70 per cent of production expenditure, Lafarge's primary objective included realising reductions in energy consumption levels and costs. In addition, they were faced with increased government regulations, reporting mandates and environmental pressures and concerns.
Operationally, the Dujiangyan plant struggled with limited process measurement tools proving it challenging to identify energy saving opportunities and continuous improvement strategies. With idle equipment, such as large air compressors and numerous conveyor belts left running, power supply costs were rising.
Economic constraints limited CAPEX availability to make significant improvements, which drove them to look at their operational processes to achieve efficiency and financial gains.
Results and benefits
Overall, Schneider Electric's Energy Optimisation for cement production solution provided a host of benefits for Lafarge including:
With all onsite automation and electrical distribution systems provided by Schneider Electric, a collaborative improvement project was designed and implemented over a six month period. Commencing with a detailed business and process analysis, the project included a comprehensive energy assessment, plus site audit across all installed base operations. Additionally, a Schneider Electric power monitoring system had been installed onsite in 2009 as part of the group's commitment to energy optimization and improvement.
In response to the above detailed assessment and analysis findings, the project deployment involved the installation of a customised energy performance system, comprising an optimized metering and communication architecture, as well a plant-wide data management system.
Designed to maximise installations with both Schneider Electric and third-party equipment, the new architecture's open and flexible attributes allow for future expansion and additional installations, whilst processing and transmitting the plant's energy data at high speed.