Cement | Reliability Engineering

14 Apr 2017

Arrelic Insights

TRF strategies : Using PdM to Optimize Plant Productivity.

India is the second largest producer of cement in the world. No wonder, India's cement industry is a vital part of its economy, providing employment to more than a million people, directly or indirectly. Ever since it was deregulated in 1982, the Indian cement industry has attracted huge investments, both from Indian as well as foreign investors.
India has a lot of potential for development in the infrastructure and construction sector and the cement sector is expected to largely benefit from it. Some of the recent major government initiatives such as development of 98 smart cities are expected to provide a major boost to the sector.


Expecting such developments in the country and aided by suitable government foreign policies, several foreign players such as Lafarge-Holcim, Heidelberg Cement, and Vicat have invested in the country in the recent past. A significant factor which aids the growth of this sector is the ready availability of the raw materials for making cement, such as limestone and coal.
Cement demand in India is expected to increase due to government’s push for large infrastructure projects, leading to 45 million tonnes (MT) of cement needed in the next three to four years.


India's cement demand is expected to reach 550-600 Million Tonnes Per Annum (MTPA) by 2025. The housing sector is the biggest demand driver of cement, accounting for about 67 per cent of the total consumption in India. The other major consumers of cement include infrastructure at 13 per cent, commercial construction at 11 per cent and industrial construction at 9 per cent.
To meet the rise in demand, cement companies are expected to add 56 MT capacity over the next three years. The cement capacity in India may register a growth of eight per cent by next year end to 395 MT from the current level of 366 MT. It may increase further to 421 MT by the end of 2017. The country's per capita consumption stands at around 190 kg.
The eastern states of India are likely to be the newer and virgin markets for cement companies and could contribute to their bottom line in future. In the next 10 years, India could become the main exporter of clinker and gray cement to the Middle East, Africa, and other developing nations of the world. Cement plants near the ports, for instance the plants in Gujarat and Visakhapatnam, will have an added advantage for exports and will logistically be well armed to face stiff competition from cement plants in the interior of the country.
A large number of foreign players are also expected to enter the cement sector, owing to the profit margins and steady demand. In future, domestic cement companies could go for global listings either through the FCCB route or the GDR route. With help from the government in terms of friendlier laws, lower taxation, and increased infrastructure spending, the sector will grow and take India’s economy forward along with it.
So, the important question now is how to capitalise this growth potential. Apart from investments in process and technologies, one major area of concern is the effective utilisation and reliable maintenance of plant equipments to increase their availability and reduction in downtime.
The international competition and the demand to increase productivity of manufacturing and production lines have attracted the management of industrial organisations from a wide spectrum to implement Total Reliability Framework (TRF) as a tool for improving reliability and system's output. Total Reliability Framework (TRF) is a maintenance program philosophy which is similar in nature to Total Quality Management (TQM) in several aspects, including the total commitment of upper level management to the TRF programme, employees must be empowered to take initiatives and corrective actions, and continuity and long term strategy is needed as TRF is a continuous process. The implementation of the available technology and cultural change of employees and management are also necessary to achieve the objectives of the process. With the implementation of TRF, maintenance is no longer the necessary evil, but it is a vitally important part of the business. The general vision of TRF eliminates any 'conflict of interest' between production and maintenance departments. If the objective is to optimise the reliable performance of the production line, it is important to integrate both activities in a comprehensive strategy. Down-time for maintenance should be scheduled as an integral part of the manufacturing process. Total Reliability Framework Maintenance is often defined as “Productive Maintenance involving total participation”. The objective of TRF is the continuous improvement that embraces all aspects of an organisation. In general, TRF involves maximising the utilisation of equipment to establishing a comprehensive approach towards maintenance of equipment during the entire product life span, implementing TRF by various departments including production, maintenance and management, involving all employees from top management to shop-floor workers, promoting preventive maintenance through staff motivation and increasing productivity while, at the same time, improving employee morale and job satisfaction. However, implementing TRF might not be an easy task. Several aspects could influence the successful implantation of TRF including lack of senior management support, lack of budget or investment, pressure of workload, confliction of management initiatives, and inefficient use of maintenance staff and senior management’s tolerance of poor performance.
Also, while adding fresh capacities, the cement manufacturers are very conscious of the technology used. In cement production, raw materials preparation involves primary and secondary crushing of the quarried material, drying the material (for use in the dry process) or undertaking a further raw grinding through either wet or dry processes, and blending the materials.
Clinker production is the most energy-intensive step, accounting for about 80% of the energy used in cement production. Produced by burning a mixture of materials, mainly limestone, silicon oxides, aluminium, and iron oxides. Clinker is made by one of two production processes: wet or dry; these terms refer to the grinding processes although other configurations and mixed forms (semi-wet, semi-dry) exist for both types. In the dry process, the raw materials are ground, mixed, and fed into the kiln in their dry state. In the wet process, the crushed and proportioned materials are ground with water, mixed, and fed into the kiln in the form of a slurry. The choice among different processes is dictated by the characteristics and availability of raw materials. In general, the dry process is much more energy efficient than the wet process, and the semi-wet somewhat more energy efficient than the semi-dry process. The plant can increase its effectiveness and efficiency by using various reliable maintenance techniques and we, at Arrelic, will help your plant to attain optimum performance and maximise productivity.   
For far too long, failures of machines have been thought of as inevitable events within any production system and engineers used to consider maintenance as repair operations. There are mainly three types of machine maintenance: unplanned breakdown maintenance, planned schedules maintenance and Condition monitoring Based Maintenance (CBM). Unplanned maintenance and unpredictable failure of machines have a crucial effect on the efficiency of the production system. Low reliability of machines increases downtime, consequently causing unnecessary and unexpected costs. The planned scheduled maintenance is normally based on the statistical analysis of the machine failure history and maintenance recommendation of machines/spare parts manufacturers that normally include unnecessarily high factor of safety. The third type of maintenance strategies is the condition monitoring based strategy. It is a planned maintenance based upon measuring the conditions of the critical elements of the machine during operation. The analysis can be done to predict the time to failure and thus allow maintenance to be planned condition monitoring can reduce breakdown costs by enhancing preventive maintenance scheduling and effectiveness of maintenance operations.
There are various other ways too, by which production commitments might be hampered. Generally, raw materials is available but with impurities and there is no clear strategy for testing the materials and staff need personal development and training. Sometimes, staff lack the training and there is no clear strategy for that in the company. There is insufficient training in relation to maintenance and inspection procedures and programmes. There is a need for training and clear strategy for cleaning and lubrication of equipment in such dusty environment. Waste bins are sometimes not available for recycling of normal waste. There is deficiency in training culture for daily maintenance programmes and maintenance data is not recorded in the correct way. Also in some cases, inspite of having a training programme in place, staff do not attend training courses in relation to maintenance and there is no clear personal development system in place. 
It has also been found that many factories lack some of the employment of modern and well established procedures such as continuous improvements, preventive maintenance, six sigma and the 5-S practice (Structures, Systemise, Sanitise, Standardise and Self-discipline). There is clear evidence of high level of gas pollution and the effect of that on the environment. There is also evidence of poor maintenance of equipment in general including preventive/planned maintenance.
In terms of productivity, the plant’s productivity could be increased by investing more heavily into modern equipment, training and suitable TRF strategy whether this involves complete systems or more for maintenance and monitoring equipment. However, as we have seen from the past statistical data, this might not guarantee a high productivity if the human aspect is not taken into consideration. The lack of training, motivation and the possible resistance attitude of staff can drastically restrain productivity. 
Mostly maintenance aspect of the business is still poor and based on ‘fire-fighting’ scenarios rather than building a clear strategy. However, it is believed that lack of training and motivation could be the main reason for poor maintenance practice and the negative attitude of the majority of the technical staff, particularly when considering the lack of performance-related payments and the insufficient salary they receive.
In the cement industry, keeping equipment running is essential. Lost production due to equipment failure is not acceptable, especially during times of peak demand. Maintenance is expensive, but it is not an uncontrollable cost. As the industry has evolved with better and more efficient technology, scheduled or preventive maintenance (PM) is replacing reactive maintenance, resulting in better equipment availability.
The industry’s approach is now shifting from scheduled maintenance to predictive maintenance (PdM), where new technology is used to constantly observe equipment conditions and predict potential failures. The source of an equipment abnormality is identified and corrected before an incident occurs. We, at Arrelic, will help you to properly identify the abnormalities in your factory processes and suggest suitable steps to overcome them.
In this reliability-centered maintenance (RCM) approach, efforts are focused on providing advance warning of signs of trouble to prevent sudden failure. Predictive maintenance is the current trend in the cement manufacturing industry. Condition monitoring through vibration and oil analysis is the latest technique for achieving higher equipment availability.
 

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