China has Cement Quality Figured Out

In the US, China is known for many things; a fast growing economy, air pollution, laser light shows on their sky scrapers, not to mention those great little soup dumplings. However, one of the things they are not famous for is quality.

SABIA, Inc has spent a lot of time in China over the past few years and we have learned that, like everything else in China, quality control is changing quickly. Recently the Chinese government has prioritized quality and automation improvement in the cement industry. Unlike the USA, Chinese government involvement in business generally results in improvement rather than, well, what we get here.

Cement Quality Pass Rate vs LSFThis combination of quality improvement with an automation focus has led the Chinese Cement Industry to invest in metrology and process automation tools. This has of course provided many opportunities for SABIA. Our process automation software platform, HELIOS, is well suited to process control. It provides analytics for the huge amounts of data generated by a cement plant and is not restricted by the legacy systems used at most sites.

Typically US and most other plants outside China use C3S or LSF variability as a key measurement of clinker quality. This works great, but it can be somewhat academic and disconnected from the actual purpose of the plant, which is to manufacture clinker of a specific quality. China and other countries generally use KH as a key quality control parameter rather LSF or C3S, which is common in the US. The definition of KH is listed below for those who care.

KH= (CaO-1.65Al2 O3 -0.34Fe2 O3 /2.80SiO2 ), 0.902<KH

What is more important than what they measure is how they use the data. Rather than looking at the data statistically, i.e. means and standard deviations, they set a very tight control limit and track the percentage of time inside that control limit. They use this yardstick to measure overall performance This method is called Pass Rate.  It is a very simple but brutal measurement. Did I make the clinker I wanted or not? Pass Rate measurement drives focus on the biggest outliers first and improves the overall process quickly. Other typical Pass Rate parameters are SM and IM, Silicon Modulus and Iron Modulus, and pass rates can be set for them as well.

Pass Rate measurement suits SABIA very well. Not only does it demand excellent accuracy and repeatability of measurement (something SABIA has always done well) but it also drives the plant to look at all aspects of their performance.

SABIA’s HELIOS software platform allows for easy integration with existing plant equipment and control room data. This allows operators to move from data gathering with informal analysis to true analytics – the systematic and automated analysis over time. This is a methodology that drives real improvement.

SABIA loves to help customers use analytics to meet their goals. Read more about how SABIA analyzers are used to fine tune cement quality HERE. Please let us know how we can help you.