Measuring Cement Storage Silo Level and Volume Reliably

The cement-making process involves quarrying raw materials such as limestone, sand and clay and then crushing these materials and others into small pieces in a series of stages. Rotary cement kilns heat these materials along other materials such as iron ore or fly ash. The high heat removes elements that are turned into gasses and the materials left are cooled and ground up with small amounts of gypsum and limestone added. Storage silos house the finished cement until delivered to customers. Concrete is made by mixing the cement with water, sand and gravel.

Emerson's Vijay Vidyasagar


I caught up with Emerson’s Vijay Vidyasagar about a great problem-solving story of level and volume measurement in a cement manufacturer’s storage silos. For the Sin Minn Cement plant in Myanmar, their silos measured 30 meters in height by 13 meters in diameter.

Cement Storage SilosThey were having issues with accurately measuring the level and volume of cement in each silo. They had tried several level measurement technologies including guided wave radar and ultrasonic level transmitters, but neither provided the accuracy required in this extremely dusty environment.

As the Portland Cement Association notes:

Cement is so fine that 1 pound of cement contains 150 billion grains.

That fineness can create quite a bit of dust!

Rosemount 5708 3D Solids ScannerThe operations staff needed to climb the silos on a regular basis in order to know what was going on inside. This practice was both time consuming and a safety risk and the Sin Minn team did not want to compromise the safety of their operators.

The engineering staff heard about the Rosemount 5708 3D Solids Scanner, which is based on acoustical measurement technology that was not affected by dusty environments. These scanners were installed on two of the silos and they were able to accurately track the surface of the cement levels in the silos during filling and emptying operations.

This eliminated the need for frequent visits to manually check on levels and improved the reliability of the measurements. This meant reduced operational risk, improved level and volume measurement reliability and a clear visualization of the contents of each of the silos instrumented with the 3D Solids Scanners.

You can connect and interact with other level measurement experts in the Level group of the Emerson Exchange 365 community.

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