Bringing high-tech

to bulk storage.

Piles of limestone, gypsum, clay, or iron ore: a storage facility for bulk materials used in cement production lines looks like a typical low-tech operation. But now thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions has developed a pioneering fully automated storage system that brings high-tech to bulk storage – and numerous key benefits as well.



Operator health is the key issue with conventional storage solutions for the bulk additives and correctives required for cement production. Every time the equipment that stacks the raw materials into piles (belt stacker) has to be moved to a different pile, somebody has to enter the dust-filled storage facility to operate the machine. The same is true of the reclaimer, the equipment used to remove the required quantity of the raw material for cement production. The dust levels in a conven­tion­al facility can be a health risk, and in many countries the relevant health and safe­ty regulations have become much stricter. Furthermore, the other issues with conventional storage solutions are, on the one hand, the high cost of labor and, on the other hand, the inferior reliability of the equipment.

The fully automated storage system developed by thyssenkrupp means operators no longer need to breathe in the dusty air inside the storage facility. This high-tech solution not only eliminates the health risk, but also lowers labor costs and enhances both reliability and efficiency.




Automation is the answer

thyssenkrupp has successfully developed, designed, and put into operation a fully automated tailor-made longitudinal storage system where correctives for raw meal grinding are stored on one side of the facil­ity and additives for cement grinding on the other. A 180° slewing belt stacker installed in the middle runs up and down on rails to stack the additives and correctives in piles. Two portal scrapers, one on each outer side, reclaim the materials as required.

The key feature of the automated solution from thyssenkrupp is its intelligent radar sensor technology that collects reliable data on the pile shape and positioning of the equipment. The belt stacker is equipped with two radar sensors for 2-D scanning and one radar sensor for precise positioning of the belt stacker. The stockpile management software then converts the data transmitted from this radar system into 3-D models of the piles. This high-tech storage system enables four key tasks to be carried out automatically: moving the stacker from pile to pile; moving the reclaimer from pile to pile and precisely undertaking the first cut; avoiding any collisions between the stacker and the two reclaimers; and determining the re­spective pile volume. With conventional systems the first cut is always tricky to perform because after stacking, the pile surfaces are not at all even. As the thyssenkrupp software precisely knows the height and shape of each pile, it automatically directs the reclaimer to exactly the right position.

Being able to determine the volume of each pile is particularly useful because it pro­­­­­vides an overview of the used and remaining quantities of additives and correctives, thus facilitating forecasting of future demand.



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Health, cost, and efficiency benefits

Probably the most important benefit of this fully automated storage system for the operator is improved employee health. No longer does anybody need to breathe in the dusty air during routine bulk-handling op­­erations. And that’s not the only significant benefit. In countries where labor is expensive, the cost savings achieved by using this system are possibly a key factor, too. Moreover, by scanning and creating 3-D models of the stockpiles, the software also allows the volume of the piles to be determined with previously unattainable accuracy, thus enhancing the efficiency of stockyard management. Last but not least, the compact design of this automated stor­age system saves space, which also helps to cut costs.

Applied expertise

As one of the world’s leading full-line suppliers to the cement industry, thyssenkrupp can point to vast experience and expertise in this field. The first-ever high-tech solution for storing the bulk materials required in cement production lines shows how industry-leading know-how can be de­ploy­­ed to deliver concrete benefits to cement manufacturers and, in particular, their personnel.

The bottom line: thyssenkrupp has successfully developed, designed, and put into operation a fully automated tailor-made longitudinal storage system for the bulk materials used in cement production. This high-tech bulk storage solution minimizes operator health risk, lowers labor costs, improves operational reliability, and enhances the efficiency of stockyard management.