Holcim, Lebanon - The most important construction material throughout the developed world is arguably cement. Cement is made essentially by crushing limestone and heating it together with clay and a bit of sand, iron, and ash, and then grinding it to a fine powder. In practice, the cement manufacturing process consists of many simultaneous and continuous operations employing some of the largest moving machinery used in manufacturing. The control system must be sophisticated and effective to manage these operations in real time, to ensure safe operation of the powerful equipment, and to deliver a high-quality product.
At Chekka in Lebanon, Holcim operates a manufacturing unit supplying cement to both local markets and the Middle East region. The facility is not new, and the operators were experiencing increased downtime due to technical failures. For example, there were problems with data communication with an external mobile plant that relied on the use of cables moving with the equipment. The Holcim management decided to solve these problems by replacing the original communication and control systems with new distributed control system (DCS) equipment.