In a sense, the new control software sold itself!
The control system on line 1 at Arghakhanchi Cement in Nepal had been causing an increased amount of unplanned downtime – costing the company in lost productivity and maintenance bills. But the issue came to a head when a second production line was commissioned with the latest ECS/ControlCenter software. This only highlighted the benefits of a modern control system, and convinced Arghakhanchi Cement that it was time to update line 1.
“When line 2 was commissioned with ECS/ControlCenter v8, the benefits were evident. With easier fault tracing, advanced trending and reporting features, it is much easier to achieve stable operation, as operators can easily understand and fix potential issues. As a result, operators began to ask for a similar control system to replace the old system on production line 1.”
Curing an operational headache
The old control system was obsolete and had been engineered without any standardisation. Only specific engineers knew how to troubleshoot and maintain the system. This contrasted poorly with the state-of-the-art ECS/ControlCenter v8, which is based on a standard system.
“Learning how to operate the new system and extract information is simple and intuitive,” said Mr Pandey. “This applies to everything from troubleshooting to configuring process analytics using trend and reporting tools, and even back-up and restore functions.”
A cost effective and smooth implementation
During installation and commissioning of the new system, we employed several strategies to make the upgrade as cost-effective and straightforward as possible for Arghakhanchi Cement. We retained much of the existing hardware, including complete I/Os and panels. And while PLCs and communications cards did need to be replaced, as did the PLC programming code, we employed proven tools to provide a consistent programming structure.
We also took advantage of the device simulation mode in ECS/ControlCenter v8. This allows operations to be simulated and tested virtually, so problem can be identified and resolved, before they impact real-world processes.
A common control platform
Arghakhanchi Cement is now enjoying the benefits of ECS/ControlCenter v8 on both production lines. “The new system is very easy to operate and – most importantly – we can avoid the plant tripping, as operators can take action very quickly,” explained Mr Pandey.
It has also simplified the logistics of plant control, as both lines are now run from a common central control room. “The new system from FLSmidth gives us more flexibility with process control, more powerful control capabilities over both lines, and excellent reporting capabilities,” Mr Pandey concluded.