Cement plant laboratory at its best

Spenner Zement selected FLSmidth to replace its automatic sample preparation laboratory. FLSmidth offered the right combination of flexibility, functionality and a tailored solution – all at the right price.

 

 

The background

Spenner Zement GmbH & Co. KG is a privately owned cement company based in Erwitte, Germany. It has many years of experience in the market and a high level of expertise. Spenner Zement GmbH & Co. KG is a privately owned cement company based in Erwitte, Germany. It has many years of experience in the market and a high level of expertise. The cement product portfolio is huge: Spenner Zement makes up to 20 different types of cement and their clients frequently request special types. The plant offers Portland, Portland composite, blast furnace, and many customised cements, as well as binding agents.

 

 

The objective

Spenner Zement wanted to upgrade the entire sampling installation at the plant, in combination with moving the laboratory to a new building in a more strategic location, together with the control room. The goal was to increase sample numbers and reduce manpower. The plant expects a growing demand for tighter control of process and quality, and therefore a growing need for sample taking and analysis.

 

Robolab
Fully-automatic sample preparation laboratory with a complete QCX/RoboLab® system

Defining the project

Spenner Zement wanted to use the proven methodology of a central robot in the new laboratory and met with FLSmidth in Germany and in Denmark to discuss the best options. FLSmidth demonstrated what was possible by inviting the customer to visit other installations (in Spain and Denmark) and see the QCX/RoboLab® solution in action. Spenner Zement was impressed and decided to replace their existing POLAB® with the complete FLSmidth QCX/RoboLab solution.

Control room
The view from the control room to the QCX/RoboLab system

The solution

FLSmidth supplied a complete QCX/RoboLab system. This system integrates sampling, sample preparation, analytical instruments and a robot – in a flexible circular layout with the robot providing the sample handling. FLSmidth config- ured the QCX software, robot and PLC programming and ensured integration with the customer’s existing systems. The solution was verified at a factory acceptance test. The clean, air-conditioned area where the X-ray analysers are placed to ensure optimal working conditions, is separated by a wall from the sample preparation area. The samples are transported by belts between the areas and distributed to the analysers.

 

The solution supplied by FLSmidth includes:

  • QCX software and engineering
  • Automatic sample receiving station
  • 2 Centaurus (combined mill and press)
  • In/out put rack combined with composite collection buckets
  • Conveyors from the robot cell to the X-ray analysers

 

In addition, FLSmidth integrated third-party equipment (including the existing XRD and XRF analysers) to ensure a smooth flow of processes.

 

The installation performs fully automated:

  • splitting and dosing
  • pressed powder preparation for X-ray analysis
  • particle sizing
  • composite sample collection

Control room
The new control room in the new location

Challenges

There were some timing challenges to switch from the existing installation to the new one, but these were solved successfully. Connecting FLSmidth equipment with existing parts had to be carefully designed and planned, but a smooth integration was achieved.

 

The QCX on a .NET Windows platform is the 8th generation of the system and there were some small teething problems in the beginning with the new version. The FLSmidth team resolved the problems swiftly and successfully through remote support and onsite assistance.

 

 

Results

Spenner Zement now has a fully automated solution for processing samples – from sample taking to analysis – and has successfully increased sample throughput and reduced labour.

 

The plant also has the option to process additional samples:

  • of incoming materials
  • to regulate related samples for reference
  • for troubleshooting

 

The QCX/RoboLab solution at Spenner Zement provides integrated control and dynamic supervision of sample preparation and analysis equipment, as well as operation statistics.

Spenner Zement
Spenner at night, when the automation solution is in charge of the routine work

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