Advanced process control from FLSmidth provides stability and energy savings at Cimentas Izmir, Turkey – and one of the world’s highest run factors for a cement kiln application.
Optimum kiln performance and long-term stability
The FLSmidth ECS/ProcessExpert® advanced process control system installed at Cimentas Izmir has helped stabilise the kiln, optimise production and manage and correct process disruptions.
Cimentas Izmir in Turkey is committed to operational excellence and to systematically improving performance at their plant. Cimentas and FLSmidth have a very close and long-lasting cooperation, and it was natural for Cimentas to trust FLSmidth with the important task to help them improve the plant process, the core of production.
Cimentas Izmir wanted to push their kiln to its limits, to optimise performance, but they knew that to do this they needed a stable kiln. They understood that, ultimately, kiln stability was the key to improving their plant processes. An unstable kiln can lead to inefficient production and inconsistent clinker quality.
Therefore, the main objective for Cimentas Izmir was to increase process stability by optimising their kiln operation and they wanted to do this through advanced process control, eliminating human factors that might prevent optimal performance. Cimentas Izmir choose FLSmidth to supply an advanced process control system that uses sophisticated computer programs to optimise the process.
Defining the project
From the outset, this project had full management support, which is crucial for success. It was particularly important that the operators at Cimentas Izmir understood the purpose of the advanced process control. The ECS/ProcessExpert system from FLSmidth was selected to be an addition to the team, there to help and support the operators, rather than replace them. Best practices were followed to ensure that the ECS/ProcessExpert system was integrated into the plant successfully. These best practices take into account Cimentas Izmir’s plant strategy, equipment, operators’ skills and the overall philosophy of the operation.
“The FLSmidth commissioning engineer onsite really took the time to understand our plant and the way we work,” explains Fatih Aktaş, production manager at Cimentas Izmir, “And we are very satisfied that the operational challenges and plant behaviour specific to our operation were successfully conveyed to the commissioning engineer who then programmed the ECS/ProcessExpert system for our plant.” Fatih Aktaş has direct access to performance and operational information from the system in his office, so he can see how the ECS/ProcessExpert system is working and can work together with the operators in the control room who are using it.
We are very satisfied that the operational challenges and plant behaviour specific to our operations were successfully conveyed to the commissioning engineer who then programmed the ECS/ProcessExpert system for our plant.
The ECS/ProcessExpert system was commissioned in the first quarter of 2012. The solution was custom-designed in close cooperation with plant personnel at Cimentas Izmir and was integrated successfully at the plant over a period of four weeks. FLSmidth provided a three-day training course to three process engineers and a production manager, covering the system’s daily use and maintenance.
The ECS/ProcessExpert system was tailored to specifically take into account new requirements particular to Cimentas Izmir:
- Limit the heat load of the kiln
- Maintain the preheater strings A and B temperature profile with diverter gate
- Use the minimum oxygen level of the two ID fans
The ECS/ProcessExpert system continuously performs complex analyses of Cimentas Izmir’s process conditions. This enables it to make adjustments to the processes more frequently and reliably than a human operator can. The ECS/ProcessExpert system stabilises the kiln using advanced process control. Once the process has been stabilised, the ECS/ProcessExpert system will seek to optimise the process by operating as close as possible to the limits. In optimisation control, free lime is kept closely on target. The ECS/ProcessExpert system monitors the lime saturation factor (LSF) in the kiln feed and automatically adjusts the free lime target, to avoid over burning of clinker. The ECS/ProcessExpert system consequently helps to ensure lower fuel consumption and minimises the risk of off-spec clinker.
I believe that my skilled operators are even more important now that we have the ECS/ProcessExpert – and they are also motivated to work together with the system, to concentrate and stay at the top of their game.
The solution for Cimentas Izmir was configured to use FLSmidth’s new KPI monitoring service, the ICE centre. KPIs are sent to FLSmidth headquarters on a daily basis and FLSmidth engineers analyse the information and take proactive action if required. The data analysis and report generation provide an up-to-date overview of all plant processes. Cimentas Izmir has been very happy with their collaboration with FLSmidth both onsite and offsite. Cimentas Izmir has a proactive service agreement with FLSmidth and as part of this agreement have their own experienced FLSmidth service engineer who, with Cimentas Izmir’s permission, can remotely log on to the system and fine-tune it to ensure good performance.
The FLSmidth service engineer makes sure the ECS/ProcessExpert system delivers high run-time, high production and good quality. The service agreement also includes a monthly performance review to discuss the actions the ECS/ProcessExpert system has taken, optimisation possibilities, and any new plant strategies or changes that need to be taken into account.
FLSmidth’s remote services include
- 24-hour hotline
- Remote troubleshooting
- Remote engineering
- KPI monitoring
Last line of defence
When asked what it would mean for operators once the ECS/ProcessExpert system was in place, Fatih Aktaş used the idea of a Manchester United goalkeeper, who always has to concentrate on the task at hand. Fatih Aktaş feels that his operators’ expertise and experience is even more vital compared to before they had the ECS/ProcessExpert system – therefore his operators are still highly motivated. “The Manchester United goalkeeper will always have to defend several balls that come to his goal – continually concentrating and staying in the game, which is hard. I believe that my skilled operators are even more important now that we have the ECS/ProcessExpert system – and they are also motivated to work together with the system, to concentrate and stay at the top of their game,” explains Fatih Aktaş.
One of the objectives of this project for Fatih Aktaş was to eliminate human factors that might prevent optimal performance. He explains, “Operators respond differently to situations and they can even perceive the same situation differently.” This is where the ECS/ProcessExpert system can help. Under normal conditions, you can program the product to make kiln adjustments in exactly the way you want, eliminating human error or simply different interpretations of instructions.
“Now I know that my instructions about a particular situation are programmed into the ECS/ProcessExpert system, so there is no room for things to be interpreted differently by individual operators,” says Fatih Aktaş. On average, over all situations, the ECS/ProcessExpert system can beat operators’ performance because it is programmed to continuously make small corrections and can constantly keep an overview. It relieves operators of constant repetitive tasks, but allows them to step in when problems occur.
Controlling a cement kiln has always been a challenging task for cement plant operators. A kiln is very sensitive to many different, inter-related factors and a poorly run kiln can dramatically increase operating costs. It is common when introducing some more automation to the control room that it is met with some resistance at first. Operators are perhaps concerned that they are being replaced or are reluctant to understand the system being implemented. Cimentas Izmir was no exception in this regard, but with positive management backing, operators soon became confident with the system and quickly found that it was a very useful tool to support them in their jobs, rather than take over. They are now convinced that the ECS/ProcessExpert system is a valuable addition to their team.
This project highlighted some bottlenecks in Cimentas Izmir’s plant and areas for further improvement. The ECS/ProcessExpert system needs information from good instrumentation to make it work properly, so Cimentas Izmir realised it needs to improve its gas analyser and its free lime analyser to give better data to the product and these are improvements that are on the future to-do list.
Now I know that my instructions about a particular situation are programmed into the ECS/ProcessExpert system, so there is no room for things to be interpreted differently by individual operators.
The ECS/ProcessExpert system has become an integral tool in the operator’s daily work and Cimentas Izmir has been able to successfully optimise their processes. They have reduced heat and electrical consumption and experience less loss of refractory because of the improved stability. Fatih Aktas is very satisfied: “I can sleep easy at night knowing that the kiln is stable, that we have continuous proactive monitoring to quickly highlight any potential problems, dra¬matically reducing our downtime.”
Corrective actions made by ECS/ProcessExpert system typically include a combination of changes to fuel injection, kiln feed and speed, as well as fan speeds. The result is stable temperature control in the calciner, stable filling degree in the kiln, stable cooler operation as well as consistent clinker quality. With the help of FLSmidth ECS/ProcessExpert advanced process control system, the Cimentas Izmir plant can now be very proud of its run factor of 94% - one of the highest run factors in the world for a cement kiln application. Before the ECS/ProcessExpert system was implemented, on average 126.2 tph clinker was produced. After the system was installed, the production average was 131.6 tph; an improvement of 4.25 %. In addition, successful advanced process control meant that heat consumption has been reduced by 29Kcal.
|Kiln at Cimentas Izmir|
|Clinker produced||Specific heat consumption|
|Without optimisation (average)||126.2||807|
|With optimisation (average)||131.6||778|
|Improvement||4.25%||29 KCal reduction|
Thanks to FLSmidth ECS/ProcessExpert system, the kiln at Cimentas Izmir is exceeding expectations.