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Analytics in the cement industry: part one

World Cement,


The simple facts is: every device in our world is collecting data. The future trend is to link this data to achieve a higher level of service or to optimise production processes. The goal is not simply to collect huge amounts of data in a database; the value from this digitalisation is to develop new innovations, improve customer service and to differentiate from the competition. All these characteristics are applicable to the cement industry. This starts from production, where it is essential to structure and correlate the information from all the sensors and actors along the production line to keep the time and cost for maintenance low with a high production quality at the same time.

The logistics department is dependent on data from all stages of the supply chain, but simply having access to various platforms does not help. The benefit comes with structured information at the right step in the process.

VED ICT Pole – together with Vinci Energies - has already tackled this issue in a very specific and positive manner. This is demonstrated by projects for well-known customers such as HeidelbergCement in the area of IT-Logistics, with corresponding practical experiences. Dedicated project teams are working on the implementation of Industry 4.0 projects both within the Fritz & Macziol Group as well as at Actemium the sister company of Fritz & Macziol in the VINCI Group. Actemium are well known to the cement industry in the field of automation and equipment.

Founded in June, the VED ICT Pole Competence Centre Industry 4.0 has developed a joint market presence in order to be able to provide customers with a comprehensive solution by taking into consideration all related areas.

To create effectively functioning Industry 4.0 infrastructures, completely different areas have to work together hand in hand. It starts with having an excellent knowledge of the business processes. Only then is the organisation able to be set up in a structured and efficient way. The measurement and control technology has to be enabled to gain the information precisely at defined steps in the process. To transport this data a secure infrastructure must be set up. Intelligent databases are used to store the collected information and to allow flexible and fast access to the Big Data & Analytics tools. With these prerequisites, fast analysis and decisions can be made and fed back to the devices. To become a smart cement plant, all areas within the factory are involved, from technical departments to process design and from IT infrastructure to application integration.

In a cement plant, from an IT 4.0 perspective, production, logistics and organisation are a perfect place for improvements. An ERP System controlling the customer contacts, the suppliers, the sales and logistic processes, and production systems are organising the best way to create a cost-effective product. By linking these two worlds together and aligning the data collected, it is possible to start to control data, create forecasts and start with analytics.

In parallel with this, maintenance and quality standards can be targeted in a predictive way – knowing what exactly is going on in production and having a forecast that helps to act in advance.


This is part one of a two-part article written by Jens Büschl for World Cement’s November issue and abridged for the website. Subscribers can read the full issue by signing in, and can also catch up on-the-go via our new app for Apple and Android. Non-subscribers can access a preview of the November 2015 issue here.

Read the article online at: https://www.worldcement.com/special-reports/27102015/b%C3%BCschl-fritz-macziol-customer-service-852/

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