Flow Measurement & Control


Accurate bulk flow measurement in the cement industry

June 2019 Flow Measurement & Control

The rapid development of sensor technology provides cement producers with a toolbox of solutions to optimise performance and strengthen market presence. Non-contact volume flow measurement of conveyed materials streamlines the handling process from quarry to final product.

SICK Automation’s bulkscan flow measurement technology had its portfolio broadened recently with the introduction of the low cost Bulkscan LMS111. All versions provide non-contact measurement of volume flow more accurately than mechanical belt scales, while minimising errors in mass and volume flow calculations.

Background

Felix Bartknecht and Michele Savino of SICK, Germany, explain that the movement and handling of bulk materials and packaged cement are tasks mainly carried out by conveyors. In many established cement plants this movement happens unsupervised. Add to this the need for lower production costs and enhanced tracking accuracy, and the need for cement plants to keep up with modern sensor technology becomes obvious. Bulkscan provides automated monitoring and process control all the way from the quarry to the end product.

The cement industry can learn from Industry 4.0 experience in other sectors. One of the key aspects is the ability to take data from process sensors to a centre that can evaluate it and recommend closed-loop process changes. Data can be stored and evaluated over time to spot patterns and determine trends. Attaining this level of accessibility to information increases the potential for process improvements, as well as opening up opportunities to assess and respond to consumer trends and environmental requirements.

Monitoring flow in cement plants

Knowing how much raw material is in the yard is a challenge. It is essential that conveyors provide a nonstop flow of raw materials, additives, fuel, clinker and cement upstream and downstream of the pyroprocess. Mechanical scales measure mass and the volume of material transported is calculated using an average material density.

This process is hindered when material density changes or when a conveyor belt is not properly maintained. Material density is used to convert mass from the weigh scales into volume and vice versa. “When the density is incorrect, the volume and mass calculations are also incorrect,” explains Savino.

The solution

Bulkscan flow measurement technology enables the yard manager to measure the contour, volume, height and material distribution through the use of LiDAR (light detection and ranging) technology. The sensors can be mounted over conveyor belts or onto cranes and reclaimers.

Inside the Bulkscan sensor, high-pulse laser beams create a profile of the material on the conveyor which, in combination with belt speed, represents volume flow and calculated mass flow. This measurement principle is based on a laser beam that is deflected internally across a rotating mirror. The sequential order of the laser pulses is synchronised with the rotation frequency of the motor and the desired angular resolution. Generally, the motor rotation speed is determined by the maximum emitted pulse frequency of the laser source and the desired angular resolution. The laser beams scan the surface area of the material on the conveyor and send this information to the measurement device, which compares the data with an empty reference belt.

Bulkscan allows plant operators to measure volume flow on conveyor belts, bucket elevators or drag chain conveyors, outdoors in harsh conditions, as well as inside the cement plant. The scanner can be mounted above the conveyor, measuring volume flow without any material contact, making it virtually maintenance free. The collected data can either inform manual processes, or act as an input to fully-automated systems to drive changes in material flow and composition. When large objects are detected, the plant operator is alerted and an automated stop process is triggered.

Process optimisation

Bulkscan helps plant operators to optimise conveyor operation and reduce unplanned downtime. The same laser beams used to measure the bulk flow rate also provide information about the exact height and distribution of the bulk material on the conveyor. In addition, the centre of gravity of the load and the distance between the bulk material and the conveyor edge is measured and provided to a closed-loop system to adjust material distribution on the belt. This process automation helps increase belt life and decrease one-sided roller wear and downtime.

Bulkscan can also be used in conjunction with a weigh scale. The actual bulk density can be determined in real time as the device measures the volume while the weigh scale measures mass. When these values are known, density can be calculated.

For more information contact Robert de Scánde, SICK Automation Southern Africa, +27 10 060 0550, robert.descande@sickautomation.co.za, www.sickautomation.co.za



Credit(s)



Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Compact design electromagnetic flow measurement
December 2019, Endress+Hauser , Flow Measurement & Control
Whether in the life sciences or in biotechnology, whether in the food or chemical industries – global competition is steadily increasing. Ever more companies are implementing their process facilities ...

Read more...
FieldEcho: the future of integrated IO-Link technology
December 2019, SICK Automation Southern Africa , System Integration & Control Systems Design
Integrated IO-Link technology that enables full data accessibility and transparency across all platforms is here with the FieldEcho from SICK Automation. IO-Link is an increasingly used manufacturer-independent ...

Read more...
Self-cleaning flow indicator for liquids
November 2019, Instrotech , Flow Measurement & Control
To check the flow processes in pipeline systems and for insight into the interior of process pipes, many flow indicators are used in which the flowing medium sets a rotor turning and thus to a large extent ...

Read more...
Setting the future standard for 3D image processing
November 2019, SICK Automation Southern Africa , Sensors & Transducers
SICK Automation has set the future standard for 3D image processing with regard to technology, speed, resolution and ease of integration. The company’s Ranger3 3D vision camera is capable of taking high ...

Read more...
Clamp-on ultrasonic flow measurement
October 2019, Instrotech , Flow Measurement & Control
Kobold’s portable DUC-MP and the stationary DUC-MF are designed for continuous flow measurement. They are highly accurate and drift-free operating flowmeters for liquids in filled pipes. The devices are ...

Read more...
Positioning sensor achieves high accuracy
October 2019, SICK Automation Southern Africa , Sensors & Transducers
SICK Automation’s next-generation laser distance measurement sensor, DL100Hi, achieves higher levels of accuracy over greater distances for positioning and control in fast-moving environments. This high ...

Read more...
Deep learning sensor application
October 2019, SICK Automation Southern Africa , Sensors & Transducers
SICK Automation has developed a sensor solution that operates on the basis of deep learning algorithms. Following the AppSpace eco-system that permits realisation of flexible solutions for automation ...

Read more...
Kobold’s electromagnetic flowmeter
September 2019, Instrotech , Flow Measurement & Control
Instrotech now offers Kobold’s new electromagnetic flowmeter model EPS with a standard accuracy of 0,3% of reading. The newly developed, microprocessor-controlled converter guarantees the high accuracy ...

Read more...
Taking safety to the next level
September 2019, SICK Automation Southern Africa , IS & Ex
SICK Automation is a world leading manufacturer of sensors, safety systems and automatic identification products. The next step for safety – this core idea therefore underpins the entire design of the ...

Read more...
Robotic platform relies on LiDAR
September 2019, SICK Automation Southern Africa , Sensors & Transducers
A SICK Automation LiDAR sensor was used to build a winning robotic platform in the prestigious Drexel University’s annual College of Engineering senior project design competition. For the Swerve team, ...

Read more...