Holcim Group’s India companies – Ambuja Cements Ltd & ACC Ltd — expects to consolidate its leadership in the Indian cement sector by further investing in Industry 4.0 under its ‘Plants of Tomorrow’ programme. This transformative programme, which aims to make cement manufacturing more efficient through better plant optimization, higher plant availability and a safer working environment, is part of parent company Holcim’s Strategy 2022 – ‘Building for Growth’, which was launched globally in July 2019.
The four-year programme implemented by Holcim aims to create a global network of over 270 integrated cement plants and grinding stations in more than 50 countries by applying automation technologies and robotics, artificial intelligence, predictive maintenance and digital twin technologies to the entire production processes. The “Plants of Tomorrow” initiative which will transform cement manufacturing in India is simultaneously implemented in other key markets for Holcim in Switzerland, France, Germany, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, and Russia.
Neeraj Akhoury, CEO India Holcim and Managing Director & CEO of Ambuja Cements Ltd said, “As an industry leader we are looking at ‘Plants of Tomorrow’ as a big opportunity and responsibility to place India on the map of global cement manufacturing. This path-breaking project will lead to transformative outcomes not just in terms of operational and financial gains but also make cement manufacturing in the country environmentally sustainable and create a safe work environment for our colleagues across all our plants.”
A “Plants of Tomorrow” certified operation promises 15 to 20 percent more operational efficiency compared to a conventional cement plant, the company said.
Another Plants of Tomorrow initiative is PACT – the Performance and Collaboration Tool – which effectively focuses operational decisions based on data about weekly operations, monthly performances, projects and actions. “The business benefits of PACT are immense – much time is saved as decisions are made quickly and with data transparency, targets are consistently achieved. PACT is another step paving the way to a digital future.”
Both companies have already implemented tools such as Distributed Control System (DCS), Tool Location System (TLS) and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) to increase plant efficiency and uptime. The companies have also introduced Internet of Things (IoT) across the manufacturing value chain by leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning through the project EDGE to facilitate rapid deployment of predictive models and seamless connectivity with plant data sources.
Launched almost a year ago, another innovation – the Remote Troubleshooting Tool using Smart Glass Technology has proven to be a delight for site engineers. This two-way tool ensures timely and expert support to plants, especially during this pandemic where this tool has been considered a boon.
“Plants of Tomorrow” programme also encompasses several initiatives that lead to predictive quality (cement fineness, cement quality) and predictive maintenance (VRM failure, refractory life) and also help optimize energy consumption per ton of cement and enable cost savings.
Digital Eye is another technology utilised by both companies to digitally monitor factory and plant operations using drones and video analytics to operate effectively and increase safety.