User-friendly system increases level of automation

FLSmidth’s Centaurus, a comprehensive sample preparation system, was selected over the competition and helps Monselice prepare its material samples more effectively.



The background

In the Euganean hills, 22 km from Padua, the Monselice plant is located in an area that has perfect geological preconditions for cement production. When it comes to cement products, Monselice has always invested in achieving and maintaining consistently high quality and has a technologically advanced production, with around 64 employees working at the plant. The entire production process is managed from centralised supervisory systems that allow for timely and continuous monitoring.



The objective

Monselice was interested in increasing the degree of automa- tion in its quality control and wanted to ensure a consistent quality in each sample. By reducing human factors, Monselice aimed to increase the number of samples and minimise sample differences.



Defining the project

FLSmidth worked closely with Monselice and customer intimacy was an important factor that contributed to the success of this project. FLSmidth invited Monselice to visit FLSmidth Wuppertal GmbH in Germany to test the Centaurus using Monselice’s specific raw materials. FLSmidth also evaluated Monselice’s existing solution and discussed the best options for improvements.


The result was that Monselice chose FLSmidth over the competition for this project. Compared to other companies, Monselice found that FLSmidth offered a competitive price and a stronger mill, which was particularly important for Monselice because it wanted to prepare and subsequently analyse blast furnace slag. Mauro Vicenzetto, Technical Investments Director at Monselice comments: “I saw the sample preparation equipment in action at Wuppertal and saw that it prepared my samples well, in a user-friendly and flexible system – so we were happy to place our order with FLSmidth.” The goal was to connect the existing sampling system (delivered by Pfaff aqs, which is now part of FLSmidth) with a new Centaurus and a Cubix XRF (supplied by the customer) in a new laboratory.

Centaurus at Monselice
Belt conveyor to transfer the pressed rings from Centaurus to Cubix XRF, and the Touch Operator panel, which can manage the whole process

The solution

FLSmidth supplied the Centaurus automatic sample prepara- tion machine, which combines laboratory automatic mill and press functions in one compact unit. The Centaurus provides automatic sampling and pneumatic transport of sampled material from the process areas to the production laboratory.

The complete QCX AutoPrep system fitted seamlessly into the existing laboratory setup and included:

  • Grinding aid doser
  • Grinding vessel and cooling device
  • Internal sample transfer device from grinding mill to press
  • Hydro-pneumatic powered pelleting press
  • Internal cleaning components for dosing devices, mill, press, all transfer positions etc.
  • Integrated pressed pellet testing device (vacuum check)
  • Integrated steel ring cleaning system for rings returned from X-ray analysis
  • TCP/IP interface (QCX) for communication to supervisory computer
  • Modification of cooling system for mill in order to keep the temperature at 38°C


FLSmidth also provided:

  • New automatic sample receiving station connected to existing sampling system
  • Additional output device on receiving station for sample raw meal, providing functionality to collect average samples automatically
  • Conveyor belt from Centaurus to the spectrometer
  • QCX Server PC and software upgrade
  • QCX AutoSampling and AutoPrep Software & Engineering
  • QCX AutoSampling and AutoPrep Software & Engineering
  • Complete dedusting system with aspirator for the receiving station and Centaurus
  • New QCX system to display the synoptic of the new plant through an existing QCX server and by a QCX client PC


FLSmidth provided training on the new system to ensure that operators were confident using the system and could take full advantage of the automation.

Centaurus at Monselice
Detail of the operator panel, applied on a movable arm and accessible from front or rear. In the background is the automatic receiving station, which brings the material to Centaurus through the sampling system.


The main challenge in this project was to find a streamlined way to connect the receiving station to the Centaurus, while also enabling Monselice to be able to prepare an average daily sample. Specific engineering of the receiving station and specific programming of the process solved this challenge and everything is running successfully according to Monselice’s requirements.




The Centaurus solution at Monselice has improved the overall quality of sample preparation and analysis through consistent sample handling, eliminating human errors. It has also reduced sample turnaround time and improved the throughput of samples. “I am very satisfied with the automated solution,” says Mauro Vicenzetto, Technical Investments Director at Monselice.

The Centaurus is helping us in our goal to continually improve our product quality and processes. The operators have found the system easy to use and confidence in the system has increased thanks to specific training from FLSmidth.

Mauro VicenzettoTechnical Investments Director at Monselice

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