ABB Ability™ Knowledge Manager collects data from different sources in the plant, transforms it into meaningful KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and makes this information available across the customer organization to facilitate process improvements.
Using technology to stay competitive
In operation for over 90 years, Monarch Cement produces 1.3 million tpy of portland and bagged masonry cement for customers in the US heartland. The company operates a single plant in Humboldt, Kansas, with distribution terminals in Des Moines, Iowa, and Dodge City, Kansas. The company owns a limestone quarry and various affiliates that sell ready‑mixed concrete, concrete products, and sundry building materials. This independence gives the company the freedom to experiment and use technology to compete with larger rivals.
“Single plant operations are not the norm in the cement business, so this is part of how we stay viable and profitable,” said King. “Monarch is always looking for an edge, so when we test something or try something new it doesn’t have to be implemented across nine sites simultaneously. It’s a company that always is willing to stay current. It’s a real driver for Monarch.”
To produce its product, Monarch operates a 260 tph Pfeiffer roller mill that uses heat from the company’s two precalciner kilns for drying. The mill then uses three 31 t rollers, positioned vertically and tangentially to the grinding table, plus an additional 1500 psi of hydraulic pressure, to crush the limestone.
Finish milling is done by five ball mills. As feed enters the mill, the balls continuously crush and grind the clinker and gypsum into the fine powder that becomes cement.
To maintain quality, technicians perform bi-hourly tests on raw materials, clinker, and finished cement using the ARL 9900 Total Cement Analyser and other methods, including Blaine testing and 325 mesh percent passing to measure fineness; sulphur (SO3 ) content; and free lime to make sure the clinker is completely reacted. Altogether, Monarch Cement collects data from thousands of points in the process.
Classical wet chemistry methods are employed to determine loss on ignition, insoluble residue, free lime, solid fuel analysis, and water analysis.