ABB's digital solution enhances efficiency and lowers energy usage at Tokuyama cement plant in Japan

  • ABB Ability™ Expert Optimizer improves operations and reduces thermal energy consumption in the kiln by 3 percent at the Tokuyama Nanyo cement plant, one of the largest single factories in Japan
  • The advanced process control-based system controls, stabilizes and optimizes industrial processes across the calciner, kiln and cooler
  • ABB’s technology enables automation of kiln operations, reducing the number of operator manual operations by about 70 percent
Tokuyama cement plant in Japan
Tokuyama cement plant in Japan

ABB has delivered the advanced process control solution ABB Ability™ Expert Optimizer system to control, stabilize and optimize industrial processes at the Tokuyama Nanyo cement plant in Japan.

The commissioning of ABB Ability™ Expert Optimizer enables Tokuyama to reduce about 3 percent of thermal energy consumption in the kiln as well as maintain operational quality at the Nanyo plant, one of the largest single factories in Japan.

Tokuyama manufactures high-quality cement at the Nanyo plant which has a clinker production capacity of 4.54 million tons per year and supplies customers in Asia and Oceania as well as Japan. The company has invested in an efficient and sustainable factory that manufactures cement, incorporating by-products in the Nanyo plant, as well as raw material waste and fuel substitutes mainly from neighboring areas. All materials are treated in the cement kiln to ensure they are harmless ahead of cement manufacturing.

ABB’s digital system improves productivity and reduces energy consumption .
ABB’s digital system improves productivity and reduces energy consumption

ABB Ability™ Expert Optimizer controls and optimizes the calciner, kiln, and cooler processes, and will further stabilize production at the Nanyo plant by properly controlling equipment and function such as induced draft fans, burners, grade speeds, etc. in each process. It is an industrial software based advanced process control solution that enables and automates the best operational decisions accurately and consistently at all times drawing on linear and non-linear model predictive control, fuzzy logic and neural networks. By coordinating the setpoints of the different stages of the process and immediately detecting deviations among the various operation procedures, ABB Ability™ Expert Optimizer helps plant managers to reach set profitability and sustainability goals within significant payback time and typically provides a return on investment of less than 6 months.

“We selected ABB’s Expert Optimizer to equalize the quality of the operation and improve the operational efficiency,” said Mr. Ryota Kakimoto, Cement Manufacturing Dept., Tokuyama. “As expected, we have significantly reduced the number of the operator manual operations normally spent on manual tasks. Through increased automated operations we can use the time saved for other tasks. We believe that this solution will also support our young operators to learn the know-how of the operation efficiently.”

“Expert Optimizer emulates an operator and provides sharp control with fewer deviations. It is already bringing efficiency and sustainability benefits to production at the Nanyo plant,” said Hiromichi Yoda, Local Division Manager for Japan, Process Industries, ABB. “Although, the timing of the introduction of the system was during COVID-19, we worked remotely between Japan and Switzerland to complete the commissioning, and this was a success with the support of our customer. As part of the ABB Ability™ portfolio of digital applications, Expert Optimizer supports digital transformation and sustainability aims at customer’s plant.”

Since commissioning, production has been maintained and thermal energy consumption in the kiln has reduced by 3 percent. Expert Optimizer has resulted in a near 70 percent reduction of operator manual operations and has benefits when cleaning the kiln.

ABB provides tailored automation and industrial software solutions that use real-time data enabling constant monitoring and analysis of process and assets. The ABB Ability portfolio delivers additional value with integrated digital applications for unmatched operation, maintenance, as well as process and production optimization in the cement industry.

ABB’s Process Automation business automates, electrifies and digitalizes industrial operations that address a wide range of essential needs – from supplying energy, water and materials, to producing goods and transporting them to market. With its ~20,000 employees, leading technology and service expertise, ABB Process Automation helps customers in process, hybrid and maritime industries improve performance and safety of operations, enabling a more sustainable and resource-efficient future.

ABB is a technology leader in electrification and automation, enabling a more sustainable and resource-efficient future. The company’s solutions connect engineering know-how and software to optimize how things are manufactured, moved, powered and operated. Building on more than 130 years of excellence, ABB’s ~105,000 employees are committed to driving innovations that accelerate industrial transformation.

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