New automation systems lift performance at Lafarge Emirates Cement

October 24, 2017 Hasmukh Patel

FLSmidth offices from around the world have come together to improve cement production at the United Arab Emirates-based plant.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is currently experiencing one of the fastest growing and active construction markets worldwide, driven by a strong property market, thriving tourism sector and increasing investor interest.

Lafarge Emirates Cement plant (LEC), a member of the LafargeHolcim Group, is making a significant contribution to the building materials and construction sector in the UAE. The plant is capable of producing up to 3.2 million tonnes of cement per year. Needing to keep up with the rapid advances in industrial automation hardware and software, LEC commissioned FLSmidth to upgrade its ageing version 7 (V7) Plant Control system (ECS™) and ECS/PlantGuide® reporting systems (PLG) to the latest version 8 (V8) product.

Keeping up with demand
LEC realised that the automation systems needed to meet the ever-growing demands of a wide range of users, spanning from the control room operators to process engineers and the production team and to management teams. All of these users interact with plant automation system data to make decisions that ultimately benefit the profitability of the plant operation.

LEC decided to equip its team with the best automation tools available in the industry by investing in automation upgrades for its cement plant at Fujairah, UAE. FLSmidth’s automation systems had successfully supported the plant site for over ten years and through this strong and effective relationship were entrusted to deliver the automation upgrade solutions.

A collaborative approach
The FLSmidth offices that came together to collaborate, plan, engineer and execute these upgrade solutions included Valby in Denmark, Brno in the Czech Republic, Chennai in India and Bethlehem in the USA.

All of these offices played a significant role in shaping the upgrade through sharing their knowledge and resources. The project was initiated in the Denmark office, the hardware system was built in the Czech Republic and the system engineering took place in America and India by the V8-Global Upgrade Team, with its core expertise in handling version 7 to version 8 upgrade projects.

The V8-Global Upgrade Team recently finished installation, configuration and commissioning of the ECS/ControlCenter™ V8 and ECS/Plant Data Management V8 at LEC.

"It was big challenge for us to deliver the upgrade project online without stopping or disturbing plant operation. By a very detailed level of project planning, the great level of collaboration and the circumspect level of work done during the implementation phase, we succeeded in delivering the project on time without disturbing plant operation. What I liked most about the new system is the level of redundancy, which will help with achieving more robust and reliable plant operation. The new Plant Data Management provides a new era of performance analysis which helps in optimising and reporting operation parameters specifically on quality, power, heat, alternative fuels and feed rate." - Sherif Salah, Project Manager at LEC

A Successful transition
Mr. Hasmukh Patel (Manager - Process Applications, Systems & Technologies) from the FLSmidth USA office reported that the seamless transition to the new system was achieved after meticulous planning and scheduling of engineering and site commissioning activities by the automation teams of FLSmidth and LEC.

“We trained the LEC team on the operation, configuration and maintenance of the new V8 control system. The plant staff have noticed significant improvements with the new system and enjoy the easy one-click installation of workplace and cluster-switching on client stations, improved access control configuration and control actions logging.”

He added that the users liked the simplified dashboard and reporting tools that assisted them with quick visualisation, thereby avoiding the possibility of manual errors in using external Excel-based data handling for viewing trends and management data reporting.

“They really appreciate that the look and feel of the V8-Mimics layout is engineered to be almost identical to the V7-Mimics, making it easy to operate. It also facilitated smooth switch over to new system,” he said.

The V8 system explained
The ECS/ControlCenter system provides a process automation platform with dual redundant servers collecting I/O data from PLC (motors, drives, field instruments, process values, etc.). It provides HMI/SCADA functionality for operator supervision and control of all departments in large production facilities at cement and mineral plants.

This system also includes machine control directly at the machine. Users connect to a portal workplace to view or operate specific departments or equipment using operator display screens, trends, alarms and reporting tools. User access rights can be configured to control what information is made available.

The ECS/Plant Data Management (PDM) system provides a comprehensive management information system that makes critical plant data readily available to the users who need it most. This valuable data can be used for decision making on plant operation, performance optimisation, compliance monitoring, KPI benchmarking, equipment maintenance, inventory accounting and measuring profitability.

The PDM system provides long-term storage of all plant data (10+ years) with dashboard displays for visualisation of real-time data, historical values on screens, trends, pie charts and bar charts. The PDM system also includes flexible reporting tools to assist users to configure and generate any reports, schedule auto-generation of reports for printing or network folders for shared storage, and the ability to custom design report templates.

It can store and retrieve spot and historical values and events up to 10+ years and retrieve trends history with finer one-second resolution up to one year, as well as log signal values that are highly dynamic at a much faster rate than slowly varying signals.

The system can provide trend data of multiple tags in a trend package for long-term analysis (30, 60, 90, 180 and 365-day time horizons) with a zoom-in precision for any past periods. It is supported by seamless switching between ECS/ControlCenter V8 and PDM V8 data retrieval. This is seen as a big advantage for better performance analysis and process optimisation.

Smooth implementation
The project to upgrade the automation system at the Fujairah plant was successfully implemented through close collaboration between FLSmidth and LEC. The upgrade was pivotal in replacing an ageing system with a more detailed and robust one, with useful data solutions provided through the PDM system.

About LafargeHolcim
- A world leader in building materials
- Currently the leader in construction and building materials industries globally
- Runs 2,300 plants including over 1,400 in ready mix concrete, over 600 in aggregates and over 200 in cement and grinding plants

Features & advantages of the ECS/ControlCenter V8 & ECS/Plant Data Management V8 systems

  • HMI SCADA and DCS functionality with PLC flexibility
  • High performance and reliability is ensured with high availability and scalable system architecture for adding departments, process units, equipment groups or machines, etc.
  • Modern look and feel for graphic screens with intuitive navigation in applications
  • Simplified alarm handling helps the operators in troubleshooting and minimizing downtime
  • Trending data of multiple tags in a trend package for long-term analysis (30, 60, 90, 180 and 365-day time horizons) with 1 second finer resolution supported by a seamless switching between ECS/ControlCenter V8 (short term data) and ECS/Plant Data Management V8 (long term data) for data retrieval
  • Log signal values that are highly dynamic at a much faster rate than slowly varying signals
  • Provides long-term storage of all plant data (10+ years) with a zoom-in precision for any past periods and never worry about missing process data for retrospective analysis.
  • Dashboard displays for visualisation of both real-time and historical data
  • Generate trends, pie charts and bar charts for reporting
  • Schedule auto-generation of reports for printing and to network folders for shared storage
  • The ability to custom design report templates
  • One-click install of client stations with robust user access control

For more information about FLSmidth’s ECS/ControlCenter V8, ECS/Plant Data Management V8 or Automation upgrade solutions, visit

Hasmukh Patel


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