The cement factory in Mokrá is one of the largest and most modern cement plants in the Czech Republic and is a part of the German company HeidelbergCement. The technology used by the cement plant also includes two smoke fans, equipped with ABB ACS800 variable speed drives. However, for more than three years, the customer faced recurring problems and the source was eventually identified to be due to non-harmonized rectifier modules and intake air instability (varied temperature + air humidity). While performing corrective maintenance, the missing data needed lead to frequent unplanned outages and the analyzes performed did not reach the required fault-free condition.
ABB Ability™ Condition Monitoring for drives was deployed in the cement plant and the 3-month monitoring of inverter operation began. ABB Motion Services was able to monitor the condition of the variable speed drives and identify what was causing the failure. Therefore, Mokrá was able to obtain over US$ 210000 cost savings by using preventive maintenance solutions and hence improving the performance and efficiency of the ID FANS (smoke fans) without needing to make unplanned investments.
ABB variable speed drives are connected via a cloud gateway and measure key parameters enab-ling Mokrá to monitor operational variables and health indicators. This includes, for example, availability, number of starts, running conditions, temperature, current, vibration and fault events. As a result, maintenance can be planned according to actual needs rather than based on fixed schedules. In other words, maintenance becomes predictive rather than reactive.
Successful pilot project
“The pilot project helped us verify that ABB Ability Condition Monitoring can indeed increase the reliability of variable speed drives.” said Jiří Strapina, Production Manager of Mokrá. “In a span of three months, we identified likely inverter failure and prevented a US$ 210 000 investment in a new drive. In addition, the fact that we can rely on up-to-date parameters eliminates the need to service based on time estimates. With the help of digital monitoring, we have accurate data and therefore can perform predictive maintenance. By monitoring, we save costs because we only fix what is needed and when it’s needed.” he added.
“Another added value for the customer is the fact that enabling digital solutions automates a certain amount of work for our customers giving them time to focus on strategical tasks and less on the routine work.“ said Lukáš Sýkora, ABB Strategy Sales Manager, Czech Republic. “With the current shortage of manpower, the customer thus has the advantage to reallocate their resources and use them as per their needs. Condition monitoring makes it possible to automate maintenance planning, inspection, diagnostics and regular maintenance of the equipment.” adds Lukáš Sýkora.
Scalable digital services for powertrains allow plant operators to tailor their service plan to fit their needs – either from a dedicated web portal or from a cloud interface into their system. It allows them to assess, manage and optimize powertrains without having to be physically present. The most important advantages are improvements in safety, production uptime, use of manpower and a reduction in unplanned downtime.
Service contract for the next four years
As a result, thanks to the success of the digital monitoring pilot project, the cement plant has contracted a 4-year agreement with ABB Motion Services to monitor the condition of several dozens of ACS800 and ACS880 drives. Under the agreement, Mokrá has subscribed to digital services as condition-based maintenance, ABB experts remote assistance and local service support for their installed variable speed drive base that serve the most critical parts of the production process. The reliable operation of these assets has a fundamental effect on production and on the profitability of the cement plant.
Mokrá is now equipped with the ABB Motion Services plug and play digital solutions as their connected drives securely collect data from applications, providing deeper status insights and a true indication of the condition of the installed base. Moreover, ABB Ability Condition Monitoring allows equipment monitoring remotely and keeps employees safe.