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ABB increase efficiency of EPCC cement production

EPCC cement plant

Electrical infrastructure technology upgrade improves Saudi Arabian plant availability

ABB, specialists in power and automation technology, have recently commissioned an extensive electrical infrastructure upgrade for two 30-year-old cement production lines at Eastern Province Cement Company’s plant in Al Khursaniya, Saudi Arabia.

The project upgraded the cement plant’s existing 75 medium-voltage (MV) switchgear panels to the latest protection relay generation, and integrated the power supply systems with the ABB 800xA automation system already in place. Commissioning was completed in February 2016.


Outdated hardware and software had posed a risk to the plant’s reliability and availability, so to avoid any unexpected shutdowns and improve the reliability of the cement production lines, EPCC decided to modernize the 30-year old MV switchgears for Lines 1 and 2.

The evolution to latest automation and power technology will help EPCC manage production at the highest level of efficiency and quality, while meeting various international standards.

‘ABB completed the final upgrade on site in record time during the planned maintenance shutdowns of the plant,’ said Mohammad Arif Khan, electrical and instrumentation manager at EPCC. ‘The excellent teamwork between EPCC and ABB engineers made it possible to meet this challenge without affecting the production of the other production lines.’

The scope of supply included the replacement of the 30-year-old protection compartment of 75 MV (13.8 and 4.16kV) switchgear panels with the latest generation of ABB Relion protection relays, integration via IEC61850 with the 800xA automation system, and the delivery of state-of-the-art computer and network equipment.

ABB also provided project management, engineering, site services and training together with their supplier EcoWatt Projects AG.

‘ABB’s integrated power and process automation solutions will allow EPCC to achieve optimal operating conditions,’ said Max Luedtke, ABB’s product group manager for Mineral Processing. ‘Our well established relationship with the customer combined with ABB’s long-term experience with the cement production process were major factors in winning this order.’

EPCC’s Al Khursaniya production facility, in eastern Saudi Arabia, is situated some 165km north of Dammam, where the company is headquartered. The plant commenced commercial production in 1985 with an annual production of 2.2 million tons of clinker and 860 thousand tons of cement. Today, annual capacity amounts to 3.5 million tons of clinker and 3.7 million tons of cement.


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