Cement Production Scheduler

Plan and adjust cement production in a reliable and flexible manner to meet your business objectives

Link your cement production planning to real-time data, events, energy tariffs, and many other operational variables - to evaluate their impact on your business priorities and costs. Quickly adapt to changes and make the right adjustments to achieve your goals while ensuring optimal use of resources, adherence to safety and environmental compliance. 

ABB Ability™ Knowledge Manager's Cement Production Scheduler application lets managers and planners respond with agility and correctly adjust production against constantly varying constraints to save energy, optimize stock, enhance equipment performance and more.

Global cement producer digitalizes production scheduling to save energy costs

How does Cement Production Scheduler (CPS) work?

Model complex cement plants considering many variables
Visualize an optimal schedule and its impact on your targets
Speed up and improve problem-solving with "what-if" scenarios
Upskill personnel for more energy-aware practices

Expert insights

Frequently Asked Questions

What is CPS and where is the natural home for this software?

  • Cement Production Scheduler (CPS) is an advanced production planning and scheduling software that helps to adapt to frequently varying constraints and unexpected situations in cement manufacturing, increase overall process efficiency and sustainability performance. Optimal production schedules are identified both manually and / or automatically based on real-time information, considering different business goals and constraints as well as energy tariffs and emission limits. e.g. Users can forecast energy consumption to negotiate better contracts, prevent penalties, optimize inventory and equipment utilization. They can create, evaluate, compare multiple scenarios and quickly activate them when a production situation changes.
  • Since scheduling is less worthy in a standalone form, integration is the key to improvement. The natural home for CPS is within the cement-specific process and production management system (PIMS/MES) that acts as an interface between business, automation, laboratory and other systems. That’s where the short-term decisions are made and where the necessary information is available – ensuring meaningful and scalable results.

Learn more in the blog "GPS" for CPS - Cement production planning and scheduling

With an ERP in place, why consider a production scheduling software?

  • There are many specialized software types used in cement, each of them has a specific role to play, and can’t do the job of the other. Though some ERP have Gantt charts that can be used for scheduling, they are not designed for dynamic optimization and the level of granularity created by live systems and  don’t support scenario analysis
  • CPS is closely connected to the production and business environments – DCS, MES, ERP, LIMS, energy tariffs and other dynamic data sources etc to automatically obtain all the production, process, procurement, maintenance and other data necessary for scheduling. CPS has the ability to run multiple “what-if” scenarios, make real-time changes to constraints reflecting equipment breakdown, maintenance, changing client demands and optimization targets. It enables optimization on micro level with marginal gains to improve competitiveness. Full insights into capacity levels and bottlenecks help understand the impact of production schedule changes on costs, profitability, sustainability and more. Read more in a blog "Agile manufacturing in cement: How to respond to changes as a flock of birds"

Excel tools have served us well, why switch to CPS?

  • Excel is very versatile, it can handle thousands of rows and complex calculations. But producing and updating such a document is vulnerable to data errors, is hard to scale, quickly becomes outdated as demands and processes change or unexpected events occur. It's usually dependent on one planner building all the scheduling logic and it's difficult to transfer that knowledge when people change jobs. When using Excel, you can’t establish relationships, handle dynamic energy tariffs and variability of scenarios.
  • A dedicated software simplifies communication between systems from different vendors. Modeling various scheduling requirements is intuitive, takes hours instead of days, frees planners for value-add work – identifying issues before they occur (bottlenecks, resource under/over utilization, what-if analysis, etc)

What cement plants’ constraints are considered in CPS?

  • The most thought-after aspects of advanced scheduling are about dynamic response to variable and complex power tariffs, emission limits, sales forecasts, different cement types, restrictions in storage capacity or in material transport paths (e.g. not all mills are connected to all silos, limitations on the products produced at same time), personnel availability, maintenance plans
  • With multiple KPIs, many dynamic inefficiencies and countless external influences on the production process, cement production can “often feel like herding cats.” CPS solution makes the schedules easily adaptable and capable of dealing with changing operational constraints and business objectives.

What are examples of CPS optimization goals with the highest impact?

  • Minimize energy cost
  • Minimum runtime of mills with least environmental impact
  • Maximize production (meet demand)
  • Minimize product changes and startup costs
  • Control production and shipment based on silo capacity and virtual targets
  • Ship based on dispatch priority

Can you explain how does CPS support energy cost savings and sustainability?

  • CPS helps forecast energy consumption / emissions to negotiate better contracts / avoid penalties
  • It lets import power tariffs, automatically re-generate production schedules based on currently active scenarios, compare alternative scenarios, recalculate, reoptimize before publishing
  • Under certain circumstances share excess power or sell back to the grid
  • Generate operator instructions / list of tasks based on optimum scenario enforcing safety and compliance, reducing variability, improving operator skills, understanding of energy use and sustainability performance, sticking with set EHS goals

Learn more in the case study "Global cement producer digitalizes production scheduling to save energy costs"

What are the prerequisites for installing CPS?

CPS is a data-intensive tool, usually most of the data is already available but under-utilized. Some data might need to be cleaned-up and standardized. Typically the following must be known:

  • Resource availability – equipment, materials, personnel, utilities, etc.
  • Dependencies and rules related to the process steps.
  • Current state of production and capacity of the production resources to absorb further production demand.
  • Production orders with their due dates and priorities.
  • A target for the scheduling.

How long does it take to implement and learn CPS?

Typically about X months depending on data readiness and how busy people are. For a planner / shift leader to become proficient with the CPS tool, the effort probably depends more on the user background than on the system: good understanding of cement processes and constraints, being comfortable with computers.

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