Award-winning ABB technology has improved productivity by 9 percent at a complex and energy-intensive industrial facility in Europe.
The improvements were made at Nordkalk’s Lohja limestone processing plant in Finland and are indicative of the huge gains in productivity that are being achieved with an award-winning ABB process control and optimization solution for industrial facilities, Expert Optimizer.
Expert Optimizer has successfully delivered substantial improvements in productivity and energy efficiency at more than 200 production facilities worldwide and was awarded the Global Fuels Award for ‘Most innovative technology for electrical energy efficiency’ in 2008.
Originally developed for the cement industry but now available for all process industries, Expert Optimizer coordinates the optimal operating parameters of the various parts of the process and immediately detects any deviations that occur.
Once the deviations have been detected Expert Optimizer is able to stabilize and re-optimize the process. It is also able to calculate optimal production schedules for the entire plant. Typical increases in productivity range from 3 to 10 percent.
Nordkalk is the leading producer of high-quality limestone-based products in northern Europe. The company operates 20 sites in five countries. Lohja (above) in Finland is one of the largest. The site consists of an underground mine, crushing plant and lime kiln.
ABB took over site-wide maintenance activities at Lohja in 2006 as part of an ABB Full Service contract in which it undertook to improve productivity and reduce maintenance costs at the plant, one of the largest limestone processing facilities in northern Europe.
Drawing on its expertise as the world’s leading supplier of power, automation and optimization solutions for the cement industry, ABB was able to propose the installation of Expert Optimizer to help solve a production and fuel problem in the kiln, which is the heart of the lime-making process.
Prior to the installation of Expert Optimizer it had been difficult to determine the optimal operating point of the process as the kiln uses several different types of feed material, each with different properties. Expert Optimizer resolves this difficulty by finding the best operating conditions to maximize output and minimize fuel consumption for each type of feed.
The overall result was a 9 percent increase in production.
In a typical Full Service agreement, ABB and the customer jointly agree on the targets to be achieved in areas like maintenance expenditure, plant availability, equipment reliability, energy efficiency and safety.
ABB has more than 150 Full Service agreements in operation in a broad spectrum of industries worldwide – from cement plants to petrochemical refineries, pulp and paper mills, oil and gas sites, steel mills, and consumer goods factories.