Editor's Choice

How to slash your energy consumption costs

April 2023 Editor's Choice IT in Manufacturing

With a history of excellence going back to 1906, LOESCHE is the global market leader for vertical roller mills. The company also supplies customised turnkey plants for a wide range of applications including material storage, transportation and delivery, hot-gas generators, filter and separator systems, steel construction, and piping systems. This family-owned company has its headquarters in Germany, more than 700 employees, and with a presence in more than 30 countries including South Africa. Its core competency is designing and developing individualised dry-grinding plants with vertical roller mills, together with advanced artificial intelligence (AI) software solutions. The company’s expertise finds application in industries such as cement, metallurgy, power, mining and waste, and includes the supply of the mills, services and digitalisation.

Through the development of new and advanced processes, LOESCHE’s vertical roller mills have undergone continuous improvement in their mechanical properties. The company is also renowned as a provider of innovative software solutions. Efforts are focused on mill capacity, energy-efficiency and resource saving technologies and processes. However once a mill is in operation, further optimisation can be time-consuming and costly, depending on numerous parameters that are difficult to maintain. There is only so much any given operator can do to ensure stable and highly efficient mill operation. Many of these input variables have recursive dependencies on each other, and the operator needs to comprehend this complex process fully 24/7 − an often impossible task.

AI and machine learning (ML) methods are particularly well suited for solving adaptive problems of this nature, and are a central building block in high performance expert systems. This is where LOESCHE can help with its advanced software solutions. “The problem is that operators don’t know how to operate the mill optimally,” says Janie Scholtz, digital sales manager for LOESCHE South Africa. “Our AI solutions are designed for process optimisation and predictive maintenance. They can help you to manage and operate the mill in the most cost-effective way possible. AI can guide an inexperienced operator and you can save up to 23% in energy consumption just by installing the software.” The software is non-vendor specific and requires little to no additional hardware or modifications to the current equipment.

LOESCHE’s Digital 4.0 service package includes three software solutions:

Plant Pilot powered by aixProM is an innovative digital real-time optimiser (RTO). With state-of-the art statistical and machine learning algorithms and big data processing, Plant Piot continuously monitors and optimises the entire range of informatlon from different data silos. This includes process control systems, laboratatory values, additional optical or vibration sensors, and environmental data such as weather conditions and electricity prices. This data is used to build a self-learning and adaptive data model of the process. Proper modelling allows for short-term process variable and KPI predictions. The model and predictions are used to assess set point recommendations for the operator. These set points are optimised for minimal specific energy consumption.

CMS powered by DALOG is a combined machine surveillance software package and enables permanent machine monitoring and prediction of mechanical failures and their consequences. A clear dashboard provides you with a plantwide overview of the opening states of all monitored machines.

Asset Manager powered by KINGSBLUE allows OEM­independent data preparation based on your operator documentatlon. You get a fast and clear representation of your drawings and linked parts lists. By means of SSR analysis, Asset Manager makes the reduction of spare parts stock possible. Interfaces allow you to integrate your spare parts procurement process fully into an existing ERP system such as SAP, IBM or SAGE.

“Our non-vendor specific solutions are totally customised to each customer’s specific needs. Digitising your process gives you full control, reliability, safety and significant savings. You can expect a 20% increase in production output, 20% increase in equipment utilisation and 15% production cost reduction,” says Scholtz. She adds that effective data management will give you increased availability and a reduction in unexpected downtime and time-consuming searches for documents. Parts and documentation research can add up to over 200 hours per year per person. By installing the right software, the search effort is reduced by 90%.

LOESCHE has supplied 250 vertical roller mills in South Africa; and now, with its ground-breaking AI software, the company is busy with a huge project involving 160 mills throughout Africa. The 1st phase off this project kicked off in Q1 of 2023 and it is planned to be completed by Q1 2024.

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