Moving towards remote cement operations

Manish Chordia, Head of Cement market segment at ABB India, talks to Indian Cement Review about the industry's increasing focus on digitalization and remote operations

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Interview first published in the Special Anniversary edition of Indian Cement Review

Indian Cement Review - Interview with Manish Chordia, Head of Cement market segment at ABB India.

How have merger and consolidation in national and international markets in the electrical and automation industry affected your business in the last 10 years and how do you expect it to change over the next decade? 

Though it is a challenging environment we are maintaining a balance between new projects and service/upgrade requirements. Merger and consolidation had reduced greenfield opportunities, however, at the same time we got opportunities for upgrades and strengthening of the existing system. 


In your opinion, what shall be the major changes in the level of automation in the cement industry in the next 10 years? What shall be the specific areas of automation where you foresee significant changes? 

The focus is shifting toward digitalization  and remote monitoring/operations. To maintain competitiveness in market improvement, KPA/KPIs are now penetrated up to the lowest level and digital techniques are helping the management to monitor the same. 


In line with the Government’s Make in India movement, what level of indigenous manufacture content can we achieve in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation during the next 10 years and beyond? 

We are working in this area and will be able to share more details in a couple of months. 


In your opinion, what significant technological changes occurred over the recent past in electrical switchgear, transformers, cables, motors, lamps, automation, etc. to improve reliability and energy efficiency? 

Digitalization, smart equipment, and remote monitoring are the main changes. The focus has moved to predictive maintenance from a preventive one. Human safety is also getting equal priority nowadays.  

What are going to be the future trends in power distribution and receiving power at the factory substation and what design changes can we expect to make them more compact and reduce the overall cost, including installation? 

After GIS or hybrid substation, smart/digital substation with sensors is the technological change. 


How is your company gearing up for the latest Industry 4.0 level of automation with IoTs and AI?

We have successfully implemented enterprise-wide digital solutions for the cement industry in India. This has helped our customers to improve productivity and quality.

Manish Chordia Associate Sales Director, ABB India

Manish Chordia is a dynamic electrical engineering professional with a rapidly progressive career span of 24+ years. He has gained exposure and cross cultural experience in handling and leading diverse functions like sales and marketing, business development, business unit project management, key account management, system engineering and plant operations mainly in cement domain.

How has digital communication technology developments changed the automation and control system in the cement industry and its performance in the past two decades and how do you expect it to change in the next decade? 

Automation is not only acting as a control system but increasing productivity and efficiency also. ABB Ability™ Expert Optimizer for cement work on Model Predictive Control to achieve better accuracy. 

Do you foresee any change in technology in the next decade that can substantially alter the energy efficiency of the electrical equipment of the cement industry? 

Though the industry has started using alternative fuels long ago, it still needs adoption in a majority of cases. Optimizing control with the use of alternate fuel is the demand from the industry. 

What developments in software in automation and control system of the cement plants will impact economies of cement plant operations in a significant manner? 

Optimization of the process through various methodologies in control system is planned to have an improvement in the productivity and efficiency of the plant. 

What will be the developments in the area of remote diagnostic facilities available from OEMs for improving plant performance? 

Customers have started using remote diagnostic facilities and the trend is rising. 

What is your prediction for future technology for motors, drives, switchgear, cables, field instrumentation, automation, and control system? Are there any developments underway which will significantly change the way we use these equipment at present? 

It’s too early to comment on this. We are working on the same. 

How serious are the problems due to harmonics generated by variable speed drives and how to overcome these problems? 

The solution within drives like an active front end and external drive is widely available to overcome the issue of harmonics. 

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