A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. But when the destination is a fully digitalized cement plant, choosing the direction of the first step can be as challenging as the thought of the journey itself. To find the right direction, Vietnam’s largest cement producer, Vietnam Cement Industry Corporation (VICEM) called for a digitalization seminar earlier this year.
One outcome is that representatives from VICEM’s technical and IT departments now collaborate with consultants from CCID and FLSmidth to prepare a digitalization roadmap.
All plants on one platform
VICEM and FLSmidth are long-term collaborators, and at the seminar FLSmidth presented possibilities within online supports centres, robotics, automated packaging and loading machines and condition-based monitoring. The seminar also covered how to track downtime digitally, energy savings and better quality through advanced process and quality control.
The seminar was chaired by the General Director of VICEM, Bui Hong Minh. Mr. Minh presented his view of an Industry 4.0 cement plant – a fully automated high-efficient plant, characterised by being low in labour, fuel, heat and power as well as having the flexibility of grinding different products with the highest quality control. Mr. Minh’s vision is to gather all VICEM plants on the same digital platform with online monitoring and support from VICEM’s head office.
Benefits throughout the value chain
Such a “smart factory” is one of the cornerstones of Industry 4.0. This new way of working not only constitutes of smarter production based on data from sensors in the automation equipment, but also of smart administration, electronic office and a more intelligent distribution and sales management system.
This way VICEM aims to benefit from new technology in the entire value chain. A view that has been further enforced, as a minister from the Vietnamese government publicly requested VICEM to increase the value of the application of technology in its production chain, save input materials, and take environmental issues into consideration when devising growth strategies, including better coordination with the transport sector.
Since the seminar, the VICEM plants that will act as a pilot in the first phase have been identified. Now, FLSmidth is working alongside external consultants and the VICEM plants auditing and providing advice on the step-wise upgrades necessary to reach an Industry 4.0 plant.