FLSmidth Institute’s learning and development concept aims to increase the operational lifetime of equipment
On-the-job training: an FLSmidth institute trainer demonstrates how to identify potential problems
Effective cement plant operations involve carefully managing equipment throughout all phases of its lifecycle - from design, construction and installation to commissioning and operation and maintenance. The aim of this lifecycle management is to achieve maximum profitability by improving productivity and performance of the plant at the same time as improving its environmental sustainability.
But lifecycle management requires specific experience and competencies, which in many places around the world are in short supply. In addition to having the skills to operate and maintain plant machinery so that it performs efficiently and at a competitive cost, plant staff need in-depth understanding of the impact of operations on the equipment itself. The way in which equipment is operated on a daily basis will have a direct influence on its lifetime and how the equipment should be maintained.
While the operator’s goal may be to improve productivity, it should not risk degrading the equipment.
Some plants today simply do not have enough skilled people to be able to operate and maintain their equipment at the same level of production day in, day out. What is required is a consistent approach by all plant staff based on well-founded knowledge of the equipment and the skills to match.
Maximising staff potential
FLSmidth Institute provides a range of learning and development programmes aimed at helping plant staff acquire the competencies needed to manage cement plant equipment throughout its lifetime. The Institute supplies technical learning and development for all aspects of plant operations.
Cristina Holmark, General Manager of FLSmidth Institute, explains how FLSmidth’s flexible training solutions are designed to address a company’s specific operation and maintenance challenges: “In analysing, designing, developing, implementing and evaluating each programme, we take into account the actual processes and machinery used by the plant so that we can offer relevant topics. We evaluate the specific competencies of plant staff and provide training to improve skills they lack. This includes specifically taking into account the local conditions in which they work.”
She explains that retaining employees with high potential is important to bringing consistency to cement plant operations. FLSmidth provides career planning and development opportunities to companies that help them retain high-potential staff.
Better operational performance
Training is included in contracts for all new plants provided by FLSmidth, and it is provided before and during plant commissioning. Depending on their needs, customers can choose in-house courses at FLSmidth, on-the-job courses at their own location, and even online learning. In addition, FLSmidth Institute runs specific seminars within a wide variety of areas related to essential product technologies and equipment, including operation, process, mechanical maintenance, electrical maintenance, process controls and quality control.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are an increasingly important facet of cement plant operations, which explains FLSmidth Institute’s focus on helping plant operators to understand how to comply with KPIs in order to optimise plant performance.
“Our aim is to help companies get the most out of their cement plant operations, and KPIs are very useful in keeping your eye on the ball,” - Cristina Holmark, General Manager, FLSmidth Institute
“We help to determine what the KPIs should be, put them into a system that supports daily operations and then train the staff in how to use them,” she explains.
Of course, if plant staff can expect to improve their skills and acquire new industry-leading competencies, much is demanded of their trainer. Cristina Holmark says that the Institute’s trainers are not just highly experienced and skilled trainers with experience in process design, commissioning, installation and similar, but that they can also be trusted advisors to plant staff. Their job is to impart their knowledge, expertise and industry best practices to help customers achieve greater consistency to their plant operations.
“FLSmidth’s trainers are specialists with a holistic view of operations and are skilled at identifying different areas for improvements,” she says. “They represent FLSmidth’s extraordinary experience and knowledge, which has been gained from a long history in the cement industry.”
FLSmidth institute offers both courses at FLSmidth, at the customer’s own location and online learning
Cristina Holmark sums up the advantages of providing learning and development to plant staff, saying that learning and development investments quickly pay for themselves in operational results: “It’s not just that customers gain a high-skilled workforce of employees with qualifications recognised around the world within the cement industry; it’s also that acquiring the latest knowledge, expertise and best practices directly translates into on-the-job results.”