Florida Rock Slashes Production Costs Using Advanced Process Control and Real-Time Particle Size Analysis
1 September 2009: Malvern, UK: Florida Rock Industries (Jacksonville, Florida, US), part of the Vulcan Materials Company, has slashed energy consumption and improved cement product quality using the powerful combination of a model predictive control package from Pavilion Technologies (Austin, Texas US) and real-time particle size analysis from Malvern Instruments.
The Cement Grinding Application solution from Pavilion Technologies and the Insitec Fineness Analyser from Malvern Instruments were installed to automate control and improve the efficiency of the finishing circuit that mills cement to the required fineness. Specific energy consumption - the amount of energy used to mill each tonne of cement - is now 17% lower while the key performance indicator of 1-day strength is up by around 15%. The company has estimated a return on investment of less than two years, based on energy savings alone.
"This project has transformed operation of the finishing circuit," comments John Murphy III, Production Manager, at Florida Rock Industries. "Together the technologies have revealed how to operate the plant in a very different, much more efficient way. We have reduced costs and have simultaneously improved product quality even though we are now targeting a very much lower Blaine, the standard industry measure used to quantify fineness."
Recognising that cement strength, and other aspects of cement performance, correlate better with particle size parameters than with Blaine has been fundamental to the success of the project. The Insitec Fineness Analyser provides continuous real-time particle size measurement at a rate of up to four complete distributions per second, reporting three specific size fractions to the control system. At the heart of the Cement Grinding Application lies a powerful multivariate predictive control model that uses these data in combination with other routinely measured plant variables, to predict process behaviour and provide closed loop control.
"This project highlights the synergy between advanced control packages such as the excellent offering from Pavilion and real-time particle size measurement," notes Rob Norris, Business Line Manager for Malvern's process systems. "Using both technologies to fully optimize operation pays big dividends - as this installation clearly demonstrates."
Further details of this installation and Malvern's solutions for online particle size analysis for the cement industry can be found at www.malvern.com/common/downloads/campaign/MRK1244-01.pdf
About Malvern Instruments
Malvern Instruments provides a range of complementary materials characterization tools that deliver inter-related measurements reflecting the complexities of particulates and disperse systems, nanomaterials and macromolecules. Analytical instruments from Malvern are used in the characterization of a wide variety of materials, from industrial bulk powders to nanomaterials and delicate macromolecules. A broad portfolio of innovative technologies is combined with intelligent, user-friendly software. These systems deliver industrially relevant data enabling our customers to make the connection between micro (such as particle size) and macro (bulk) material properties (rheology) and chemical composition (chemical imaging).
Particle size, particle shape, zeta potential, molecular weight, chemical composition and rheological properties measurements are now joined by advanced chromatography solutions (GPC/SEC), extending Malvern's technologies for protein molecular weight, size and aggregation measurements, and synthetic polymer molecular weight and distribution. The company's laboratory, at-line, on-line and in-line solutions are proven in sectors as diverse as cement production and pharmaceutical drug discovery.
Headquartered in Malvern, UK, Malvern Instruments has subsidiary organizations in all major European markets, North America, China, Korea and Japan, a joint venture in India, a global distributor network and applications laboratories around the world. www.malvern.com
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