North Africa's technologically most advanced cement plant

The Djebel Ressas plant in Tunisia will be the largest and technologically most advanced in North Africa, with a production capacity of almost two million t/a clinker (Fig. 1). Currently, work at Djebel Ressas is progressing from the installation stage towards commissioning and operation and maintenance. This is the point when responsibility is handed over to the customer. It is expected that the first flame in the kiln will be lit mid 2013, and everything is on track to meet this target.

 

Teamwork in construction and realization

Carthage Cement selected FLSmidth as the supplier of machinery and engineering for the new plant and EKON was given the responsibility for civil design, supply of structural steel and plate work, site preparation, civil works and plant erection. This teamwork is a critical component for the success of Djebel Ressas. “The balance between the huge equipment and the really fine alignment (Fig. 2) that is necessary is what makes plant installation exciting…” says Kent Almar, Chief Mechanical Supervisor at EKON.

In many ways, Djebel Ressas is an excellent example of a well managed cement project. Despite starting the promotion of the project in the middle of the financial crisis, the sponsors of the project managed in less than two years to create one of the most promising Tunisian cement manufacturers, Carthage Cement, who will operate the largest and probably the most efficient and environmentally friendly cement plant in Tunisia.

 

State-of-the-art technology

The new plant is designed with the overall aim of maxi-mising energy efficiency and minimising air pollution. FLSmidth’s supplies cover the complete plant, and include a full pyroprocessing line, ATOX and UMS mills, silos, an Expert Control and Supervision system, and a packing plant. Also included are a QCX quality control system, gas analysis equipment and air pollution filters. In fact, the plant will contain the best from FLSmidth’s companies and therefore illustrate FLSmidth’s ability to supply a complete plant. The pyrosystem will be fired with pet-coke, but the plant is being prepared for possible future use of alternative fuels. The customer and FLSmidth’s Alternative Fuels Department are currently working on a project to collect and process various waste materials such as tyres, sludge and oil kernels for use as fuel. This project will put Carthage Cement even further ahead of its local competitors.

 

Overall transparency

A crucial element that supported the successful first stages of the Djebel Ressas project was FLSmidth’s use of MyFLSTM, an intranet system that enables everyone involved in the project to quickly and easily access any drawing, itinerary, plan or agenda. If changes are made to a document, no matter how large or small, the relevant people are instantly alerted via update reports. In addition, regular face-to-face meetings – often on site – and detailed monthly reports featuring photos of all progress enable Carthage Cement to see the exact status of each part of the process.

 

Perfect logistics on site and for machinery delivery

Almost 500 000 m3 of soil have been excavated. Arriving by sea, the equipment has been delivered safely and securely to Tunisia from around the globe, thanks to the meticulous work of FLSmidth’s shipping teams. Now the many different parts of the site are ready to be assembled (Fig. 3). The equipment was stored in a 42 000 m2 storage area, and tight control of the stock is crucial. As well as the huge pieces, such as the gears and mills, there are also many thousands of pieces that only weigh a few grams or kilos – and everything must be kept track of; every part will be needed before the plant installation is completed. Some of the large pieces of equipment have been assembled on site (Fig. 4) and this means that the FLSmidth design drawings are studied carefully every day to make sure everything is assembled and installed according to FLSmidth specifications. Nine tower cranes were working to lift and assemble the machines.

 

Commissioning phase

The plant is now shortly before commissioning (Fig. 5) and the question might be asked: How do cement plant owners ensure that their new plant gets up to specified production as quickly as possible? How do they attract, recruit and train the right personnel and manage the new plant effectively? What is the best way to effectively maintain the plant?

These questions can be resolved by an operations and maintenance (O&M) contract. Carthage Cement signed a contract with NLSupervision, part of the ­FLSmidth Group, for the O&M of Djebel Ressas, including a guaranteed production for five years. This O&M contract means that FLSmidth is committed to ensuring the efficient operation of Djebel Ressas and to maintaining it in premium condition for the next five years.

There is significant value in an O&M contract for the customer. Apart from the obvious benefit of a guaranteed production capacity – NLSupervision guarantees to meet 1.8 million tons of clinker per year at Djebel Ressas, including the very first year – there are the additional benefits that come from the technical and commercial expertise that an experienced O&M company offers. This is particularly helpful in the case of Carthage Cement, a relative newcomer to the cement industry in Tunisia.

NLSupervision specialises in offering everything needed for the successful setup and implementation management, operation and maintenance of a cement plant. At Djebel Ressas, this means that the NLSupervision team is on site, carrying out preparatory setup and implementation work before the Provisional Acceptance Certificate (PAC) is signed. During this time, the contractual responsibility still lies with the project and commissioning team but once the PAC is signed after commissioning is complete (expected to be 2Q 2013), then NLSupervision will take over full responsibility for running the plant and the five year contract begins.

The preparatory stage is very important; NLSupervision ensures that everything is in place before the PAC, ready for when the plant can begin operation. Under the contract, NLSupervision is responsible for supplying everything required to operate a cement plant, including spare parts, consumables, safety clothes, and maintenance programmes as well as lots of other things, which will all help to guarantee maximum operational stability.

One of the first tasks for NLSupervision after the contract was signed was to set up a local subsidiary in Tunisia: NLSupervision Tunisia, which is owned by ­NLSupervision. This is the first NLSupervision office of its kind to be fully integrated with the FLSmidth IT system. This setup essentially means that the IT infrastructure at NLSupervision Tunisia enjoys total compatibility with the IT facilities used at FLSmidth headquarters in Copenhagen. This has some great benefits: everything runs more smoothly due to the standardisation of equipment and software licenses, and workers in Tunisia receive exactly the same IT support as if they were sitting in Denmark. This IT integration has also helped to give the employees at Djebel Ressas a sense of being part of the wider FLSmidth Group.

The computerised maintenance system, Maximo, which is a key tool in the efficient running of the plant with all vendor documents stored in the system, informs the maintenance manager exactly when maintenance has to take place on all the equipment. Maximo also holds important information about the stock that needs to be in the warehouse and when and what needs to be purchased for the plant to run smoothly.

Maximo has also been centrally installed and made fully secure, so that this complex system is protected. Having a centralised Maximo installation means that there is only one system to update and maintain and that the back-up is all done at one central location in Denmark. After commissioning, there will be around 30 people at Djebel Ressas who will use Maximo. In February 2012, NLSupervision hired a Maximo administrator who took part in the installation process, together with FLSmidth Wadgassen and the IT team. This was another part of the process to ensure that the handover after commissioning goes smoothly and production capacity can get up to speed quickly.

Djebel Ressas illustrates the FLSmidth Group’s unique capacity to take on a complete plant. NLSupervision can therefore ensure consistently high standards, a smooth transition and ultimately substantial savings for Carthage Cement.

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