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Polysius DCS upgrade to System 800xA for Lafarge cement plant in Malaysia

Full control over energy and raw material consumption, while keeping vital processes running without interruption

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Extracting minerals from the depths of the earth and transforming them into essential components is a complex process. ABB's System 800xA ensures uninterrupted production, effective operations and safety with a revamp of the plant's process, electrical and safety control system.

Cutting-edge construction materials technology

For over a century and a half, Lafarge has been leading the way in creating construction materials with innovative mechanical, functional and aesthetic properties. Lafarge employs cutting-edge research and technology in its processes.

In 2007, Lafarge selected ABB Malaysia to deliver an automation package for its Malaysian cement production plant (in Langkawi) and introduce new levels of efficiency, safety and sustainability to its operations. 

Lafarge Concrete (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Lafarge Malayan Cement Berhad (LMC), is focused on the core businesses of manufacturing and sale of cement, ready-mixed concrete and other related building materials.

In the cement business, LMC currently employs more than 1,200 people and operates a Malaysia-wide network of facilities, which includes three integrated cement plants (Langkawi in Kedah; Kanthan in Perak and Rawang in Selangor), and a grinding plant in Pasir Gudang.

Main facts

Industry Cement production
Customer Lafarge
Country Malaysia
Solutions

Polysius DCS upgrade to System 800xA

800xA High Integrity
Asset Optimization

The Langkawi plant, comprised of two production lines, produces 3.3 million tons of clinker per year.

High level of innovation in cement plant operations

Lafarge puts a premium on having well-structured businesses and a high level of innovation in its operations. In the area of cement production, it looked to advanced technologies that will improve its products and the processes that create these products.  

Line 2 of Langkawi plant was run by an aging Polysius distributed control system (DCS). Given its datedness, spare parts for the DCS were no longer easily available in the market. Thus, in 2007, Lafarge Concrete started down the path to modernization with the launch of the process control system (PCS) project, involving the migration of Line 2's existing DCS into a modern automation solution from ABB.

Apart from addressing equipment obsolescence and spare parts availability, Lafarge wanted a solution to increase production efficiency, without incurring high engineering costs. Other requirements included:

  • Adherence to very tight and detailed shutdown and commissioning schedules
  • Local support
  • Reputable supplier
  • Single source for automation and electrical components
  • Ease of maintenance
  • High availability
  • Minimal to low downtime during switchover
ABB Malaysia executed this project with the collaboration with the Operation Center in India (INOPC).
In producing top-grade cement, the processing operation itself is just as important as the raw material. Lafarge looked to advanced technologies to improve both its products and the processes that create these products.

Complete revamp of the process control system

Done in four phases or “shutdowns,” this PCS project involved the complete revamping of the control system, with only several lab equipment and weight feeders of the local control system retained. These were all interfaced with the new control system. Also in scope was the provision of training support for Lafarge personnel who will handle the system. 

In June 2011, ABB completed the third phase of the project, migrating key process areas of Line 2 to ABB’s flagship control system, System 800xA. In June 2012, ABB completed the final phase of this major revamp to System 800xA. 
Several lab equipment and weight feeders of the old control system could be retained and interfaced with the new control system.

Upgrade of electrical system and plant safety standards

Lafarge also took this opportunity to upgrade its equipment’s operating safety standards and implement global safety requirements. This meant the revamp and modification of the plant’s electrical system.

The scope of electrical revamping included the installation of visible cut-off switch power isolation and control units for more than 300 motors and local control units for 13 high tension (HT) motors. Around 100 units of pulse-controlled speed sensors were installed for all critical drives.
Around 100 units of pulse-controlled speed sensors were installed for all critical drives

Extending the reach of traditional automation systems

ABB’s System 800xA control system extends the reach of traditional automation systems — beyond the control of the process — to increase energy efficiency, asset utilization, energy savings and operator effectiveness

With its intuitive human machine interface (HMI), System 800xA presents all data in one single interface. This means the information is presented in a context appropriate for all user disciplines. With this integrated information, Lafarge’s plant operators can quickly make qualified and sound decisions based on relevant, real-time and reliable data.

In the area of safety, System 800xA provides a complete and scalable IEC 61508 and IEC 61511 compliant Safety Instrumented System (SIS) that spans the entire safety loop, including SIL-related field devices, I/O modules, controllers and field actuators. 

For asset optimization, System 800xA employs software that reads and presents to plant operators all plant-resident information. This means Lafarge operators can monitor and assess equipment conditions in real time. Ultimately, this capability means corrective and preventive maintenance is also reduced.
Beyond process control, System 800xA integrates connectivity to Lafarge’s enterprise and plant systems, applications and devices to increase energy efficiency, asset utilization, energy savings and operator effectiveness
Lafarge control staff making full use of ABB’s System 800xA control capabilities to adjust the process to run at its optimal level.

Mohamad Fadzil Ramli, Methods Manager, Lafarge Cement
“With System 800xA, Lafarge operators have full control over energy and raw material consumption, as well as keep vital processes running without interruption.”

Cost reduction by running processes at optimal level

The quality of the cement depends vastly on the raw materials. However, in the final analysis, the processing operation itself is just as important as the raw material. It is in controlling and managing these complex processing operations that ABB comes in - to play its role in helping Lafarge create building materials that shape our society and very homes.

By making full use of ABB’s System 800xA Control System capabilities, control room staff can adjust the process to run at its optimal level. For instance, with a fully integrated control system, the average temperatures in the kiln can be adjusted for minimum energy requirements. When an operator combines process knowledge with System 800xA’s full capability, energy consumption can be reduced by 10%. 

The immediate gains are in maintenance costs. The risk of production downtime is greatly minimized as spare parts and technical support are within reach, even within Malaysia. A reduced maintenance downtime also means increased production efficiency. 



The benefits of a control system go beyond convenience. ABB’s System 800xA reduces costs through reduced time to decision and action, ease of engineering, integration of information for improved visibility, and optimizing plant asset availability and performance. 




When an operator combines process knowledge with System 800xA’s full capability, energy consumption can be reduced by 10%.

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