ABB provides a wide range of instrumentation products for cement industry processes such as continuous gas analyzer systems for process gas measurements, emission monitoring, online measurements for bulk materials, as well as instrumentation for other specific applications. Unrivalled in its scope and applications expertise, ABB is a global leader with solutions certified to international standards and a worldwide network of manufacturing plants.

Jun 1 2017 | Q&A

Manish Chordia, Process Industries, Cement market segment manager, ABB India Ltd

ABB provides a wide range of instrumentation products for cement industry processes such as continuous gas analyzer systems for process gas measurements, emission monitoring, online measurements for bulk materials, as well as instrumentation for other specific applications. Unrivalled in its scope and applications expertise, ABB is a global leader with solutions certified to international standards and a worldwide network of manufacturing plants.

Manish Chordia, Process Industries, Cement market segment manager, ABB India Ltd shares his view with Sandeep Sharma about his company, offerings, people, process, core competencies, insights about cement plant automation solutions, latest trends in process automation technology, major clientele, key performance indicators, immediate and long term plans.

Tell us about your company, offerings, people, process, and core competencies?
ABB has been present in India for over a century. Today, ABB’s operations in India are in excess of one billion US dollars. The company has 12 manufacturing facilities and over 6,000 employees in the country. ABB has an extensive countrywide presence with around 24 marketing offices, eight service centres and eight training centres. India is the largest engineering design and R&D resource base for ABB Group worldwide.

ABB continues to bring value to customers in India through leading edge technologies, domain expertise and project execution abilities. The company’s technology strengths, wide offering portfolio and unique ability to package solutions and provide a single window approach to verticals continue to be a key differentiator. While the top-line grows as we create value for customers, focus on productivity, operational efficiencies and working capital management continues to ensure profitability.

Could you provide us insights about your cement plant automation solutions?
We start with the best people, engineering expertise and over a century of knowledge and know-how of electrification and process control in cement production. Our team then provides integrated products; services and solutions to help customers in the cement industry optimize their power and productivity resulting in increased availability and lower lifetime investment costs.

Cement plants need integrated process control systems that can improve plant-wide efficiency and productivity.
Our process control solutions provide easy “single window” access to the process, production, quality and business information – from the most remote location to corporate headquarters. Whether you are building a Greenfield plant or extending or modernizing an existing plant, ABB provides tailored automation solutions that use real-time data – enabling constant monitoring and analysis of your process combined with improved asset availability.

ABB provides a wide range of instrumentation products for cement industry processes such as continuous gas analyzer systems for process gas measurements, emission monitoring, online measurements for bulk materials, as well as instrumentation for other specific applications. Unrivalled in its scope and applications expertise, ABB is a global leader with solutions certified to international standards and a worldwide network of manufacturing plants.

Collaborative production management solutions that includes ABB’s suite of solutions for cement, supply the best methods to meet requirements, targets and goals including production management solutions. These allow you to drill down into your plant data to whatever level of granularity you select with any chosen key performance indicator (KPI). Award winning optimization solutions, which are optimizing more than 400 processes world-wide and helping many customers to make effective use of alternative fuels and materials. The connectivity solutions enable a full exchange and view of information between all critical business systems.

How far the key performance indicators (KPIs) likely to change for Cement manufacturer once ABB system is on board?
The cement industry, like most other industries, is under pressure to increase profit and margins while ensuring sustainable and environmentally friendly use of natural resources. This puts the onus on plant owners to develop new strategies that will support a quick, optimized response to changing conditions, often involving complex scenarios with conflicting goals. ABB has developed new modules and algorithms aimed at solving these crucial customer issues.

To implement effective optimization strategies, tools are needed that enable cement plants to perform at their optimum economic level within the given technological, environmental and contractual constraints. They must work in real time, and the information they process must be consistent and always correct. It goes almost without saying that an efficient information management system is a precondition for this. Two areas for which ABB has already developed such tools are thermal energy management and electrical energy management. The first module, which is based on dedicated mathematical models and state-of-the art optimization techniques, computes the lowest-cost fuel mix that satisfies the current process and market constraints. It uses real-time information from sources that include laboratory analyses, market prices, and forecasts of alternative fuel availability, environmental constraints and process conditions. The second module is a scheduling tool that enables cement mills and silos to be operated in such a way that the production goals are reached at the lowest possible energy cost. The software modules can be used indecision support mode or in closed-loop control mode. Customers benefit not only from an immediate reduction in their energy bills but also from more stable operation, leading to higher quality and lower maintenance costs.

What are the latest trends in process automation technology for the cement industry?
Customers are looking for intelligent, flexible process control systems, constantly performing at the highest level and able to coordinate their actions, are the key to successful strategies for meeting profitability and sustainability goals. A number of technological advances have made such systems possible today. The superior performance offered by relatively low-cost hardware (PCs, digital buses, etc).New software that permits seamless interconnection and operation of diverse systems.

Advanced control technology with the computational power now available, has opened up completely new possibilities in plant process control, scheduling and planning, leading to true economic process optimization.ABB offers such solutions that not only control and optimize the different parts of the process but also make it possible for these parts to communicate and cooperate with each other for overall performance optimization. ABB solutions seamlessly integrate a company’s distributed industrial and business assets to make them more versatile, more efficient and more profitable.

Two outstanding characteristics contribute to this - Real-time integration of information systems and automation systems across the enterprise and economic process optimization, made possible by integration of the enterprise systems.

How did your company fare so far in terms of business generated, growth rate achieved, and your expectations from the current financial year?
The infrastructure segment has not been very positive despite many Government-led initiatives and policy changes. Cement capacity utilization is still at a low of 65 to 70%. Despite the poor investment sentiment, we have been able to partner with customers in various process efficiency and optimization projects including a few export orders. The current sentiment is likely to continue in the current fiscal as well.

Who are your major clientele and which are the cement projects you have been associated with in the recent past?
Over 60% of the cement capacity installed in India runs on ABB’s automation systems. Majority of the leading cement manufacturers are our customers who we have partnered for several years and continue to do so by helping them remain competitive through our composite and integrated electrical and process automation solutions.

Going forward, what are your immediate and long term growth plans in India?
We will continue to focus and develop solutions based on customer needs and challenges. Solutions that help them remain competitive while ensuring sustainable growth. In the area of IoT and digitalization, we look forward to working with customers in leveraging the opportunities that exist in this space, like some of our steel customers have.


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