Connected manufacturing and digital transformation

The following article is sourced from Jacklin Altman’s English publication, “Cementing Connected Manufacturing in Industry,” the same one you can access from here.

The digital transformation is reshaping the cement manufacturing space. While many companies are investing millions of dollars in Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), advanced analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI), many organizations are not really realizing the value of their investments, with McKinsey reporting just 16% cement manufacturers really achieve their digital transformation goals. So why do so many companies fall short? Because the value of the data is not affected by the data itself, it is in the ideas.

In a heavy equipment industry like cement, successful asset maintenance is key. However, relying on scheduled maintenance is not enough. Businesses must be proactive and implement condition-based and predictive maintenance by transforming their data in real-time with analytics, anticipating problems before they happen. This leads to greater asset reliability, less downtime, and time and money saved.

Peruvian cement producer Unacem is a great example of the impact of a connected operation. The company sought to reduce operator costs and workload while maintaining product quality. They created a stabilization roadmap, automating and standardizing their processes and KPIs, and creating a baseline for each operator. The team then created KPIs for each machine, product, shift, time, and operator. With the right metrics, Unacem used real-time data and notifications to compare actual performance against projected metrics, enabling them to identify deviations and take corrective action immediately. Operators now have access to the right knowledge at the right time to optimize the entire production process and positively impact the bottom line. Unacem improved the execution time of cement grinding by 11-17% and increased its profits by US $ 6 million in the first year alone.

Connecting with cement manufacturing strategies is no small matter. To truly democratize their data and achieve digital transformation, companies must make a conscious, business-aligned effort to revolutionize the way their business operates. Real-time data is the backbone of the connected cement manufacturing process. However, with the help of automation, manufacturers can extract even more value from digital transformation strategies. A 2019 Aspermont research study conducted in collaboration with Mining Magazine and Mining Journal Intelligence found that 87% of respondents believe AI will change the future of mining. Given the similarities between the two industries, it’s safe to say that it will also affect cement.

Before, what they needed was to consolidate information, now they need to use descriptive analytics to understand what they can improve in their operations.

All these transformations in the industry demonstrate that the anticipated analysis of data can be profitable in a short time, reaching from 15% to 40% and, in the best case, recover the investment in the first quarter. But perhaps, the best benefit is to achieve an almost perfect efficiency in your assets and why not, also in the people who work with it. As well as in the cement industry, it is also investing in different productive and extractive industries, for this. OSIsoft speaks out and confirms that the mining industry in Peru is close to being the first in the region in data analytics, voiced by its Regional Director Javiera Barella.

Likewise, it expresses that in Peru it has had a growth of 20% per year in terms of data analytics in different industries, using the IIoT and the PI System to achieve these achievements, it has been done thanks to the sustainability of the projects that have been developed in recent years, where their operations are modernized and expanded with the need for greater control. “Before, what they needed was to consolidate information, now they need to use descriptive analytics to understand what they can improve in their operations.”