Smart conveying

Published 11 January 2022

To get the maximum out of maintenance, proactive and predictive approaches have proven to increase the overall efficiency of plant equipment. The PREMAS® 4.0 predictive maintenance solution, developed by AUMUND for conveying equipment, combines both these strategies. The data-based system enables a cement plant to plan, take timely action and prevent potential issues before operations are impacted.
By Robert Henry Morris, AUMUND Fördertechnik GmbH, Germany, and Wes Allen, AUMUND Corp, USA

The premas® 4.0 predictive maintenance solution, developed by aumund for conveying equipment,

demonstrates that what cannot be seen and detected, cannot be measured

Running machinery and steady production are top priorities in any business, but maximum production also requires optimum maintenance of equipment. Many crucial observations are unable to be made at a running machine, often making regular maintenance activities and routines a challenge.

PREMAS® 4.0, developed for AUMUND and non-AUMUND conveying machines, understands this challenge. The solution helps companies plan regular maintenance activities, detect machine weaknesses at an early stage and act proactively before operations are affected.

Keeping pace

Maintenance is mostly left to walk-by inspections or relies on continuous measurements and sensors indicated in the central control room. Today, the world is spinning faster and faster, walk-in inspections are turning into rushed emergencies and most companies must adapt their operations to the exact pace. This leads to machines that cannot be maintained as required, postponed inspections and a lack of detection when it comes to wear or even damaged components. Bucket elevators, pan conveyors or other conveying machines are sometimes called auxiliary equipment, but are as crucial in the production process as the main equipment (eg, the kiln, cooler, mill). They are often the bottleneck of a production line, as they are the only transport line in front of or behind the main equipment. PREMAS 4.0 breaks this Gordian knot between operation and maintenance and helps show that what you cannot see and detect, you cannot measure.

Overall Equipment Effectiveness measurement

The Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) productivity measurement standard can be used to determine the actual percentage of a machine’s productivity and how much productivity is lost due to factors such as downtime or reduced production. The OEE formula is calculated by multiplying availability, performance, and quality.

Why PREMAS 4.0?

In general, there are four types of maintenance strategies. Reactive maintenance (also referred to as ‘damage-dependent maintenance’) is only carried out when a defect has occurred. Planned maintenance is carried out regardless of the actual condition of the system where certain measures, such as the replacement of wear material or other maintenance work is carried out on a regular and routine basis. When a company wants to get the maximum out of maintenance, it relies on proactive and predictive maintenance strategies, which have proven to increase overall efficiency of equipment – as with PREMAS 4.0.

The difference between proactive and predictive maintenance

Proactive means acting before damage has occurred. This includes replacing parts that are usually not yet defective but could soon show damage.

The main advantage of this approach is that potential issues are detected before serious damage and failures occur, and maintenance and necessary shutdowns can be planned.
The main disadvantage is that the wearing part could have been used further. In other words: why not increase the return on investment (ROI) even more?

This leads to predictive maintenance. This strategy takes, for example, the condition of a belt and analyses it using digitally-collected data. If the analysis shows that the belt is ageing faster than expected, it gives the company the decisive indication to order and replace the belt within a convenient lead time. It is a data-based strategy that considers all machine data in real-time (eg, service life, wear, load, external circumstances such as temperature and empirical values). It constantly measures the machine’s condition, monitors key performance indicators (eg, belt or chain life), predicts when maintenance might be required, and proactively informs maintenance managers of anomalies.

The main advantage is that the maintenance manager receives information about the condition of the machine and critical wear parts at any time. They immediately know when and where to act, and it is within their knowledge base to act in time, plan maintenance needs, schedule repairs and carry out inspections before serious damage occurs.

The main disadvantage is that data is key and the algorithm needs some time to learn from the machine. No data means no condition monitoring and no predictive maintenance.

PREMAS 4.0 is both proactive and predictive. This enables the ability to plan, take timely action, and prevent potential problems before operations are impacted. The system can be installed on new equipment within a few hours. If it is to be installed on an existing and well-prepared conveying machine, it takes no longer than a belt change.

PREMAS 4.0 at Jura-Cement-Fabriken AG, Switzerland

Since the beginning of 2021 Jura-Cement-Fabriken AG has been using the PREMAS 4.0 solution at its cement plant in Wildegg, Switzerland, on a kiln feed belt bucket elevator supplied by AUMUND Fördertechnik in 2015.

Commissioning is carried out via plug-and-play: install

the IoT Box (Internet of Things), connect it to the signals,

log into the premas portal on any preferred device and then

go back to production. Pictured is Ramona Keller,

head of maintenance at Jura-Cement-Fabriken

Ramona Keller, head of maintenance at Jura-Cement-Fabriken, draws a positive conclusion after almost a year with the predictive maintenance solution. She comments: “We are convinced that predictive maintenance is the future. With PREMAS 4.0 we can better plan our spare parts and maintenance, which has a positive effect on resources and costs.

“The PREMAS portal is easy to use and very clear. It allows us to recognise immediately when we need to act, no matter where we are, or what time of day or night it is.”



AUMUND offers three solutions for the maintenance of its own and other conveying machines. There is the classic on-site inspection for preventive maintenance, in short: the PREMAS, Preventive Maintenance Service. In addition, there are the all-around PREMAS 360˚ and PREMAS 4.0 maintenance packages. These services can be combined as desired, based on individual needs, targets and requirements. With its spare parts pooling programme, AUMUND offers to bundle purchases and inventory pooling in the customer’s or AUMUND’s own warehouses worldwide for better resource planning and reduced lead times.

This article was first published in the January 2022 issue of International Cement Review.