ABB to Install Automation Systems in India at RCCPL Cement Plant

June 15, 2020 by Alessandro Mascellino

ABB will provide Birla Corporation’s subsidiary RCCPL with electrification and automation systems to maximize production at a new cement plant in India.

The solutions will include ABB Ability Expert Optimizer, an advanced process control tool designed to manage, stabilize, and optimize industrial processes. They will be deployed at RCCPL’s new cement plant Mukutban in the Maharashtra state.


A scheme showcasing ABB’s industrial process optimization. Image used courtesy of ABB.


Investing in Cement Manufacturing

Birla Corporation is one of the largest industrial houses in India. The company was founded in 1919 as a jute manufacturer and has in the past century grown steadily. The Birla Corporation has in 2016 acquired 100% equity shares of RCCPL for Rs 4,800 crore (roughly $635 million).

Following the acquisition, the company has become synonymous with cement production in India, and now counts almost 5000 employees across its several warehouses in the country. Under the direction of Birla, RCCPL is now seeking to expand its portfolio of digital solutions to improve its facilities’ efficiency.


Optimizing Industrial Processes

As part of the new partnership, ABB has provided the new RCCPL facility with a 10.60 MW heat recovery system and a 40 MW captive power plant. The automation giant has also installed infrastructure for electrification, including MV Switchgear with MV relays on IEC 61850 communication. ABB has also installed LV Switchgear with ABB UMC100.3 motor controllers.

These devices fulfill different roles within the plant, as they combine intelligent motor protection and control functions with field-bus communication and fault diagnosis capabilities. ABB said all these products will be integrated via the company’s software suite of products, operating under the coordinated efforts of ABB’s Ability System 800xA. This system will act both as an electrical control system and a safety system, and will also fulfill the role of a collaborative tool for engineers.


ABB’s Ability Expert Optimizer

Advanced process control (APC) is a technology that uses model predictive control (MPC) and analytic to enable a higher level of automation and optimization of cement kilns and mills, as well as alternative fuel management and material blending.

Using MPC, engineers are able to operate cement machines with less variation in process variables (PVs), which conversely allows set points to be chosen that are closer to performance boundaries. This capability, which is enhanced by expert support from the remote ABB Ability Collaborative Operations Center, eventually leads to increased throughput and a higher profit.


A screenshot from the ABB Ability Expert Optimizer software. Image used courtesy of ABB.


In other words, ABB’s Ability Expert Optimizer utilizes APC to make the best operational decisions accurately and consistently. The program does so through linear and non-linear model predictive control and neural networks geared towards managing critical plant components, including a kiln, alternative fuels, mills, and blending.

Commenting on the news, Krishnadas Manjaparra, the business head of industrial automation process industries at ABB, said the move was the result of years of planning.

"We have been able to draw from our strong portfolio of automation and electrification products and solutions and bring varied insights from our years of experience working with small operators, global players and the turnkey execution of large projects,” Manjaparra said.


What do you think about ABB’s Ability Expert Optimizer and using automation in the cement industry?