We foresee voluminous opportunities for upgrade and retrofit of cement plants
We foresee voluminous opportunities for upgrade and retrofit of cement plants

We foresee voluminous opportunities for upgrade and retrofit of cement plants

DT Arjun
Vice President (Business Development & Projects), Walchandnagar Industries Ltd.

We feel that monitoring / automation should follow mechanical upgrade, which will help reap optimum benefits to the customer, says DT Arjun, Vice President (Business Development & Projects), Walchandnagar Industries Ltd. Excerpts from the interview...

How does one decide between retrofitting and opting completely new system?
As far as our experience is concerned, there are a few factors which need a due evaluation from the investor such as how much capacity upgrade, what is the upgrade potential of existing system, affordable downtime, and investment. Capacity upgrade till certain capacities within the expansion potential of the plant kiln is quite economical. Our experience shows the overall investment for capacity enhancement through upgrade is almost half as compared to new line. Furthermore, all these upgrades are quick and can be finished within a year with the system downtime of maximum 50-60 days.

What are the challenges in cement plant retrofitting?
Retrofitting as it sounds, is inclusion/modification of new with old. This could be either technology or the equipment. The main challenge which we foresee is mechanical/process simulation of existing system, without support documentation. A team of highly skilled and specialised engineers is required to work on the challenges being posed during retrofits.

Substantial number of cement plants supplied with first and second generation technology is still operational and we foresee voluminous opportunities upgrade and retrofit the plant. In C, we have a specialised cell with required knowhow to look into this highly specialised job.

Which type of upgradation can have greater impact on production efficiency?
Categories upgrade, electrical/mechanical or monitoring and automation have their own benefits. The first one helps in improving the operational efficiency which in turn will have a substantial impact on the plant running cost in terms of coal consumption and power being used, whereas the latter helps in ensuring the plant availability with optimum manual interface. We in WIL feel that monitoring/automation should follow mechanical upgrade, which will reap optimum benefits for the customer.

How does one keep pace with technological upgradation, especially automation?
Advancement of the automation system doesn´t pose major impact on the performance of running system, however it eases the operation. We suggest upgrading the automation system when we upgrade technology through retrofit.

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