Targeting a global network of more than 270 integrated cement plants and grinding stations across more than 50 countries, LafargeHolcim has embarked on a four-year programme that will see the utilisation of automation technologies and robotics, artificial intelligence, predictive maintenance and digital-twin technologies across their entire cement production process.
The global ‘Plants of Tomorrow’ initiative aims to deliver certified operational efficiency gain of 15-20% compared with a conventional cement plant. LafargeHolcim is currently working on more than 30 pilot projects covering all regions where they are active. The company’s Siggenthal integrated cement plant in Switzerland, will be the lighthouse where the integration of all relevant modules will be tested for the global ‘Plants of Tomorrow’ initiative.
Among the technologies being implemented are predictive operations that can detect abnormal conditions and process anomalies in real time, and the creation of digital twins of plants to optimise training opportunities. Automation and robotics is another key element of the strategy, with unmanned surveillance and drones being used to increase the frequency of inspections in high-exposure tasks while simultaneously reducing costs and increasing safety for employees.