Cement process optimizer supports alternative fuel use

ABB control platform helps maintain kiln temperature stability while burning tires and other difficult fuels.
By Peter Welander February 27, 2010
Itau plant

Votorantim Itau plant

Votorantim Cimentos has upgraded its ABB Expert Optimizer platforms at two plants in Brazil. The plants first installed an earlier version of the system in 1995, and have now upgraded to cpmPlus Expert Optimizer version 6.0.

Votorantim Cimentos is part of the Votorantim Group and is one of the ten largest global cement, concrete, and mortar companies. The company was motivated to upgrade to the latest version of Expert Optimizer at its Itau and Salto plants, as the existing third party hardware was now 14 years old.

Since the upgrade was completed, the plants have seen many benefits, but the largest is more stable use and control when burning alternative fuels. While these fuels are inexpensive and reduce production costs, they can be disruptive to the process. For example, when burning tires, energy spikes can create unevenness within the kiln. With improved control, both plants have been able to increase the amount of alternative fuels they use, which is having a positive impact on reducing production costs. ABB says that Expert Optimizer, part of its CPM Minerals suite of solutions, ensures that the kiln can operate under optimum conditions according to the customer’s goals. At these two plants, this has meant that fuel-related energy spikes are anticipated and actively managed by the system.

Votorantim was able to make the upgrade without losing any of the site-specific features that had been incorporated in the earlier version. ABB says its upgrade approach successfully preserved more than ten years of knowledge of the previous version, while simultaneously bringing the operators access to newer technologies such as model predictive control (MPC) and mixed logical dynamic (MLD) systems.

 

-Edited by Peter Welander, process industries editor, PWelander@cfemedia.com
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