Dr Clark takes the theme of online analysers for this month’s Technical Forum, reviewing the history of these devices in the cement industry and speculating as to how their deployment may increase in the future.
One of the main themes of this month’s ICR is online analysers, which also makes a good topic for this month’s Technical Forum. Online analysers have a long history in the cement manufacturing industry and seem set to enjoy an expanded role in the future as process, emissions and quality monitoring requirements increase.
A good place to start the discussion would be to define what we mean by an online analyser. As the name says this must be an instrument or device that is continuously monitoring the cement manufacturing process in an “online” mode. Secondly, the instrument or device must be “analysing” some aspect of the production process.
We might extend this definition to say that the instrument or device is analysing some aspect of one of the material flows in the cement manufacturing process. So temperature or pressure sensors, bearing temperature measurements, vibration monitoring or an electronic ear on a ball mill are all continuous monitoring devices but they are not analysing anything or any material flow, at least in themselves. They might be an input to some software or expert system that is making inferences and analyses bases on their inputs, but they are only process sensors or machine condition monitoring devices.