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Embracing Industry 4.0

Published by , Editorial Assistant
World Cement,

The cement industry is like all others in that it must negotiate the challenges of maximising productivity and opportunities for growth, while driving down operational costs and striving for sustainability. It also has to achieve these priorities in complex, diverse, and potentially hazardous operational environments.

For those willing to embrace change, the advent of Industry 4.0 has presented proven opportunities to optimise reliability and cost efficiency. This is particularly true for companies operating across multiple sites, where the benefits of a move towards greater connectivity and consolidated data are more tangible.

However, while some companies have embraced the opportunity to reassess their maintenance procedures in light of the efficiencies offered by digitalisation, it is fair to say there is still a reluctance to move away from traditional approaches or, in some cases, to invest in any thorough condition based maintenance (CBM) programme at all.

There are myriad reasons for this – financial constraints and staffing concerns for certain – but also lack of awareness and, to be blunt, simple force of habit. The mindset that says ‘wait for something to fail and then tackle the problem’ is a serious barrier to achieving long-term reliability, and the cement industry is not immune to this. Yet, if even the greatest sceptic took a clear-sighted look at what a genuinely proactive maintenance programme can achieve in terms of plant reliability, operational efficiency, and cost effectiveness – and considered the affordable digital options now available to facilitate it – they could not fail to be persuaded of its value.

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Cement news 2018