Can an old plant learn new tricks?

Producers in the aggregates industry are constantly facing greater challenges to increase the production capacity of their plant and equipment.

End products, such as asphalt or ready-mix concrete, have different standards nowadays.

New products have higher requirements and demand modifications to the old plants. There is a need to increase profitability, as the costs of operating an old plant are rising; however, income remains the same.

On the other hand, acquiring a completely new plant is a huge investment.

Without investing in new plants, there are opportunities to increase the production of existing ones with plant optimisation solutions.

Intelligent systems, smart devices

What exactly can be achieved with plant optimisation? First and foremost, it increases the efficiency and reliability of the plant.


Many plants that are 15 to 25 years old require a lot of downtime and outage for repair. Through plant optimisation and using Metso’s process and design expertise, a plant operation can be improved by eliminating activities that do not bring value to the producer, and by minimising downtimes and outages.

Additionally, through plant optimisation, the customer can also save on the consumption of water, energy, trucking, wears and spares. By adding smart devices incorporated in an intelligent and fully automated system, smooth and efficient operation is secured. Metso’s process equipment – notably for its crushers and screens – are then big energy savers. Intelligent systems in crushing and screening and materials handling also make plant maintenance easier and reduce the number of personnel needed for operating the plant. Last, but definitely not least, plant optimisation also improves safety.

What’s your bottleneck?

In practice, each plant optimisation process starts by identifying the individual customer’s needs.

Therefore, each plant optimisation solution is different from another. First, the process bottleneck is identified together with the producer, and the right technical and business solutions are then defined within the customer’s budget and requirements. Metso can carry out the whole project, including training for the producer’s employees.

As a rule of thumb, the solution lies either in the replacement of a machine or plant section, creating a process break, extending the plant, relocating a sector or replacing all the sections.

For example, in conjunction with one producer, Metso replaced about 60 per cent of the plant to secure operation for another 20 years. The solution included new equipment and existing equipment when viable, which turned out to be a real money saver.

If every component of the plant had been replaced, it would have cost 40 per cent more. To get the production back up as quickly as possible, all replacements were done in a tight schedule – in as little as four months. 

Source: Metso

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