Sunday 20th Oct, 2019

LafargeHolcim launches Industry 4.0 for cement production

LafargeHolcim will implement automation and robotics, artificial intelligence, predictive maintenance and digital twin technologies for its production process.

The company is upgrading its production fleet for the future through its ‘Plants of Tomorrow” program.

The program will be rolled out over four years as LafargeHolcim upgrades its technologies in the building materials industry.

The company predicts a “Plants of Tomorrow” certified operation will show 15 to 20 percent of operational efficiency gains compared to a conventional cement plant.

Among the technologies implemented are predictive operations that can detect abnormal conditions and process anomalies in real-time. This aims to reduce maintenance costs by more than 10 percent and significantly lower energy costs.

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Digital twins of plants will also be created to optimise training opportunities.

Automation and robotics is another important element of the strategy. Unmanned surveillance is being performed for high exposure jobs in the entire plant.

Partnering with Swiss start-up Flyability, the company is using drones that allow the frequency of inspections to increase while simultaneously reducing cost and increasing safety for employees by inspecting confined spaces.

In addition, the new PACT (Performance and Collaboration) digital tool allows operational decision making from experience-based to data-centric, by combining data from various sources and enabling machine learning applications.

LafargeHolcim is currently working on more than 30 pilot projects covering all regions where the company is active.

The first integrated cement plant will be at LafargeHolcim’s premises in Siggenthal, Switzerland, this plant will test all modules of the ‘Plants of Tomorrow’ program.

LafargeHolcim Global Head Cement Manufacturing, Solomon Baumgartner Aviles,  said transforming the way we produce cement is one of the focus areas of our digitalisation strategy and the ‘Plants of Tomorrow’ initiative will turn Industry 4.0 into reality at our plants.

“These innovative solutions make cement production safer, more efficient and environmentally fit. We are moving to fully data-driven operations in order to support further profitable growth as part of our Strategy 2022, ‘Building for Growth’,” he said.