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ABB improve operations for Tokuyama

View of the kiln at Tokuyama’s Nanyo cement plant, where ABB Ability Expert Optimizer has been deployed. Photo: Tokuyama Corporation View of the kiln at Tokuyama’s Nanyo cement plant, where ABB Ability Expert Optimizer has been deployed. Photo: Tokuyama Corporation

Advanced process control system improves productivity and reduces energy use at Nanyo cement plant

ABB have delivered their advanced process control solution ABB Ability Expert Optimizer system to control, stabilize, and optimize industrial processes at Tokuyama’s Nanyo cement plant in Japan.

The commissioning of ABB Ability Expert Optimizer allows Tokuyama to reduce about 3% of thermal energy consumption in the kiln as well as maintain operational quality at the Nanyo plant, one of the largest single factories in Japan

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Tokuyama manufacture high-quality cement at the plant, which has a clinker production capacity of 4.54 million tonnes/year and supplies customers in Asia and Oceania as well as Japan. The company has invested in an efficient and sustainable factory that manufactures cement, incorporating by-products from the Nanyo plant, as well as raw material waste and fuel substitutes mainly from neighboring areas. All materials are treated in the cement kiln to ensure they are harmless ahead of cement manufacturing.

ABB Ability Expert Optimizer controls and optimizes the calciner, kiln, and cooler processes, and will further stabilize production at the Nanyo plant by properly controlling equipment and function, such as induced draft fans, burners, grade speeds etc, in each process. It is an industrial software based advanced process control solution that enables and automates the best operational decisions accurately and consistently at all times, drawing on linear and non-linear model predictive control, fuzzy logic, and neural networks.

ABB Ability Expert Optimizer controls the calciner, kiln, and cooler processes, and will further stabilize production at the Nanyo plant. Image: ABB ABB Ability Expert Optimizer controls the calciner, kiln, and cooler processes, and will further stabilize production at the Nanyo plant. Image: ABB

By co-ordinating the setpoints of the different stages of the process and immediately detecting deviations among the various operation procedures, ABB Ability Expert Optimizer helps plant managers to reach set profitability and sustainability goals within significant payback time and typically provides a return on investment of less than six months.

‘We selected ABB’s Expert Optimizer to equalize the quality of the operation and improve the operational efficiency,’ said Ryota Kakimoto from Tokuyama’s cement manufacturing department. ‘As expected, we have significantly reduced the number of the operator manual operations normally spent on manual tasks. Through increased automated operations, we can use the time saved for other tasks. We believe that this solution will also help our young operators to learn the know-how of operational efficiency.’

‘Expert Optimizer emulates an operator and provides sharp control with fewer deviations. It is already bringing efficiency and sustainability benefits to production at the Nanyo plant,’ said Hiromichi Yoda, local division manager for Japan with ABB Process Industries.

‘Although, the timing of the introduction of the system was during COVID-19, we worked remotely between Japan and Switzerland to complete the commissioning, and this was a success with the support of our customer. As part of the ABB Ability portfolio of digital applications, Expert Optimizer supports digital transformation and sustainability aims at the customer’s plant.’

Since commissioning, production has been maintained and thermal energy consumption in the kiln has reduced by 3%. Expert Optimizer has resulted in a near 70% reduction in operator manual operations and has further benefits when cleaning the kiln.

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