Optimizing the cement production

At its production site at Heming/France, Holcim uses an Insitec on-line particle size analyzer (Fig.) from Malvern Instruments, to optimize the grinding circuits that mill the finished cement. By continuously monitoring two parallel production lines, the Insitec supplies the data needed to optimize throughput and at the same time produce cement of the highest quality.

“For us, the Insitec is an ­essential tool for optimizing the performance of the finishing mills and it is of great value to the production teams,” said Michel Berger, Chemist – Instrumentation and Environment Specialist. “It provides continuous particle size data for the material exiting the mills, so that the operators can react quickly and confidently when making control decisions. We now control the plant extremely closely and transition between different product grades very efficiently. As a result we have increased throughput and enhanced product quality.”

At the Heming site two identical grinding circuits operate in parallel. The Insitec samples each one alternately, providing particle size distribution data for each line every 10 minutes. Before its installation the site relied on off-line analysis in the laboratory. This demanded greater manual input and meant a delay of around 15 minutes between sampling and receiving results. The timely information provided by the Insitec supports more responsive control which leads to greater operational efficiency.

In cement production, particle size is a critical parameter that has a direct impact on product quality. Laser diffraction techniques are used increasingly to meet the resulting requirement for particle size information. These are replacing the traditional technique of Blaine (surface area) measurement. The Insitec is a robust on-line laser diffraction particle size analyzer that meets industrial requirements for continuous reliable monitoring within the plant environment, in cement manufacture and elsewhere across a diverse range of manufacturing industries.

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