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As good as new

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World Cement,

BEUMER describes how a cement plant was assisted in the modernisation of its bucket elevators.

Outdated technologies often lead to increased maintenance, and this can rapidly become expensive. A cement plant owner faced this problem with their bucket elevators. An analysis carried out by BEUMER Customer Support made clear that it was not necessary to replace the whole system, but only components. Service experts were able to modernise the bucket elevators and make them more efficient.

Three bucket elevators were causing problems for a cement company based in Erwitte, North Rhine-Westphalia, near Soest, Germany. In 2014, the manufacturer also established a plant in Duisburg. The company produces blast furnace cement, using a central chain bucket elevator as a circulation bucket elevator for the vertical mill and two belt bucket elevators for the silo feeding. The central chain bucket elevator on the vertical mill had been unusually loud since installation and there was also an immense chain vibration of more than 200 mm. Although the original supplier made several improvements, a high level of wear and tear was evident after only a short running time. The plant was having to service its systems more and more frequently. Of course, this was expensive, with the cost of frequent downtime and spare parts quickly adding up.

Frequent downtimes and high costs

Due to the frequent downtime of the vertical mill circulation bucket elevator, BEUMER Group was contacted in 2018. The system supplier not only supplies bucket elevators and modernises them if necessary, but also optimises existing systems of other suppliers. In cases like this, operators of cement plants are often faced with the question of whether a completely new plant or a possible conversion would be the more economical and targeted measure. Modernisation can often be worthwhile; BEUMER’s customer support helps customers to fulfil future performance and technology requirements in a cost-efficient way in the context of modernisations and modifications. Typical customer challenges include performance improvements, adaptations to modified process parameters, new materials, optimisation of availability and extension of the maintenance cycles, designs that are easy to maintain, as well as reduced noise levels. In addition, all new developments with regard to Industry 4.0, such as belt monitoring or continuous temperature monitoring, are included in the modifications. BEUMER Group offers everything from technical dimensioning to assembly on site. Only having the one contact also reduces organisational and coordination expenses.

Profitability and especially availability play a crucial role for customers, because modifications are often an interesting alternative to new constructions. In the case of modernisation measures, as many components and structures as possible are kept – in many cases, the steel structure is also kept. This alone reduces material costs by approximately 25% compared to a new construction. In the case of the customer in Germany, the bucket elevator head, the chimneys, the drive unit and the bucket elevator boot could be reused. In addition, the assembly effort for a project like this is lower, and so the downtime is usually much shorter. This leads to a faster return on investment compared to a new construction.

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