Holcim launches world-first cement plant 'digital twin'

Building materials giant Holcim has launched what it says is the world’s first cement plant digital twin, a real-time 3D virtual model accurately replicating one of its sites in Switzerland. 
Concrete Plants, Equipment & Applications / March 2, 2023
By Liam McLoughlin
The digital twin enables a real-time 3D virtual model of a Holcim cement plant to optimise its operations. Pic: Holcim

The digital twin integrates Holcim’s enterprise software and performance prediction algorithms with the 3D model, and is designed to enable faster, more efficient and more reliable operations at minimal cost. 

Holcim says that, with sensors, data analytics and machine learning capabilities, the digital twin prevents costly downtimes and enables predictive maintenance. The project is part of Holcim’s Plants of Tomorrow program, deploying Industry 4.0 technologies across its sites for enhanced efficiency, safety and sustainability. Building on this launch, Holcim will scale this digital twin technology across its operations, starting in Europe.

Holcim logo
Holcim is promoting a more digitalised global cement production industry

Rozemarijn Wesby, Holcim global head of plants of tomorrow, said: “Our digital twin in Switzerland is a breakthrough for the entire industry. By leveraging digital technologies like this, we are generating massive amounts of data, allowing smarter decision-making to take our operational efficiency to the next level.”

The digital twin platform was developed in partnership with artificial intelligence startup HyBird. It uses data from Holcim's enterprise software and predictive maintenance system to keep the 3D model continuously updated with the real-time status of manufacturing equipment.

Launched in 2019, Holcim’s Plants of Tomorrow program is claimed to be one of the largest roll-outs of Industry 4.0 in the building materials industry. To date, it has deployed more than 1,600 applications across 140 sites, delivering annual savings of more than CHF70m and reducing CO2 emissions by over 400,000 tonnes.

For more information on companies in this article