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Optimizing cement mill using APC techniques at Votorantim Cimentos in Brazil

ABB Ability™ Expert Optimizer for cement increases process stability and reduces energy costs

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Imagine you worrying less about ore grade variation impacting your process stability and associated energy consumption. The team at Votorantim Cimentos in Brazil is already living this reality thanks to ABB Ability™ Expert Optimizer for cement.

Key facts

 Customer: 

Votorantim Cimentos

 Country: 

Brazil

Customer need: 

  • tackle the complexity of cement processes,
  • minimize the effect of variability in feed and fuel
Application
Customer benefits:

Reduction in standard deviation of

  • raw mill power - 62%,
  • raw mill bed depth - 60%,
  • kiln motor load - 24%,
  • free lime - 27%,
  • liter weight 16%,
  • burning zone temperature - 5%

Reduction in consumption of grinding media in ball mill

Cement processes are anything but simple

A control system is crucial for any modern plant. It is directly responsible for regulating the plant’s stability and the quality of product delivered. The most commonly used is PID (proportional integral derivative) control. This forms the base level for automation and performs adequately for simple processes. Cement processes are however, anything but simple.

Due to variability in feed and fuel sources, coupled with complex processes, manual operators with PID control tend to remain at “safe distances” from process constraints. Advanced process control (APC) using model predictive control (MPC) enables higher level of automation and optimization of cement kilns and mills, alternative fuel management and material blending.

One of the Votorantim Cimentos plants located in Rio Branco do Sul, Paraná, Brazil, launched a new line for cement production in 2013. After one year of operation, the company contacted ABB to optimize this new line using advanced process control techniques.

The cement kiln process is intrinsically unstable, there are long time delays and large perturbations acting on it. The control problem consists of maintaining a given temperature profile along the kiln plus obtaining good burning conditions - at the lowest energy consumption possible.

Gain more through better control

ABB Ability™ Expert Optimizer (EO) enhances control of the process using distinguished advanced process control techniques such as fuzzy logic, soft sensors and model predictive control (MPC). It tackles the complexity of cement processes, minimizes the effect of variability in feed and fuel and then drives the process in the direction that makes you money.

The installation topology allows it to be deployed both in ABB’s 800xA control system and in third-party control systems, making it applicable to any type of control system setup.

After individual implementation in each of the plant areas, a connection is made between all applications to further compliment plant-wide optimization.

Expert Optimizer at Votorantim Cimentos has been integrated with existing third-party control system. Mills have been modeled and commissioned with MPC, calciner, kiln and cooler commissioned with fuzzy logic.


Cement mill Z12 productivity factor

Cement mill Z12 stability before EO commissioning

Cement mill Z12 stability after EO commissioning

Benefits

  • 62% reduction in standard deviation of raw mill power
  • 60% reduction in the standard deviation of raw mill bed depth
  • 24% reduction in the standard deviation of kiln motor load
  • 27% reduction in free lime standard deviation
  • 16% reduction in liter weight standard deviation
  • 5% reduction in burning zone temperature standard deviation
  • Reduction in consumption of grinding media in ball mill

Bruno Marin, production manager at Votorantim Cimentos
“The cement mill’s productivity gain had a positive impact that reflected on a reduction of 1.15 kWh/t of energy consumption”

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