Real-time level monitoring with Nanolike and Holcim Greece

Today, it is still a problem to match concrete replenishment deliveries with customer demand. The process is done manually without any quantitative insight into the fill level of the silos. When a silo is estimated to approach a low fill level, new orders are placed over the phone based on existing customer orders. This can result in missed sales opportunities due to mismatches between production equipment and delivery terminals.

Holcim Greece saw great potential in automating these processes through the use of real-time data and sensors attached to the silos in a non-invasive way. With the help of the Holcim MAQER, the team in Greece launched a pilot project with French start-up Nanolike. Nanolike was founded in 2012 and focuses on supply chain optimization offering turnkey IoT solutions for real-time fill level monitoring of industrial silos. Together with Holcim Greece, the first successful KPIs were evaluated in October 2021 and currently, we evaluate the use of the technology in further plants.

Increase your Working Capital | Lidya

Many of our customers in emerging markets are small enterprises. Due to the size and maturity, many experience a reduced growth due to working capital restrictions. In many cases, traditional banks are not able or willing to provide working capital credit.

Fintechs have emerged in these countries, specializing in assessing credit risks in alternative ways. Holcim is partnering with these fintechs, such as Lidya in Nigeria, to provide additional working capital to our customers, which of course has a positive impact on our sales revenues as well !!

Pilots have been initiated with promising results. Further fine tuning is required to ensure a smooth customer enrollment process.

Improving Employee Experience | Leena AI

During the Covid-19 pandemic, many companies face the challenge to ensure the wellbeing of their employees, who work from home or have no access to digital solutions at all in the production lines. Independent from the crisis, many HR departments face the challenge that they need to handle repetitive issues, as e.g. employee questions regarding holidays or home office regulations. This offers great potential for an AI-powered HR assistant to engage with employees digitally and answer questions automatically.

That’s why Holcim Startup MAQER has kicked off a project with Leena.Ai, who offers an AI-powered virtual assistant that provides instant responses to employee queries and allows to communicate with users digitally. At the beginning of March when the Covid-19 outbreak had just started, Leena.Ai, Holcim México and Holcim Startup MAQER reacted quickly and set up a chatbot solution for employees working from home only within a few days. As a result, superior employee experience can be offered, while for the first time in the history of Holcim blue-collar employees can access HR services and communications from their home. Holcim has now rolled out Leena AI’s solution within 3 continents, from Latin America to Africa and Europe.

Dynamic Demand Management

In many countries we experience a strong variation of daily volume due to demand from the market. This can lead to variations up to 100% within a week, with an obvious cost impact as a result.

In Kenya we have designed customer specific incentives in order to drive demand on slow days. After an intense testing period, we are now capable to move up to 23% of volume to slow days. As a matter of fact, the customer incentives have also led to an overall volume and margin increase.

The approach is 100% data driven allowing for an automated weekly update of the customer incentives. We are testing further data driven ideas ideas that will give us direct business impact.

Drones – Save lives, Cost and Create Competitiveness for the Plants of Tomorrow

A recent report by Goldman Sachs predicts that the commercial sector represents the biggest growth opportunity for drone technologies. Investments of USD 13 billion are expected in the construction industry alone by 2022. While Cement Excellence Manufacturing has been following up on using drones in our industrial sites – from site inspections to surveys and stockpiling – we’ve only scratched the surface of what can be done with airborne drones and how this technology will change the way we work.

Drones bring a number of key benefits to Holcim. In the area of Safety, this solution safeguards our colleagues from having to enter confined or hard to reach spaces. Predictive maintenance is another key area where drones are making operations more efficient. With drones, inspections can occur at higher frequency and issues can be detected remotely through real-time imagery or non-destructive analysis before they arise. This saves time and money associated with costly repairs.

Finally, where mapping, surveillance and measurement of raw materials stored in the open and requiring blast design used to be costly, the use of drones has cut this spend to a fraction of earlier levels.

Interested in more information on this initiative? Then follow our Manufacturing Maqer Linkedin page for more insights!

Carbon capture, utilization & storage – The path towards zero emissions

Leveraging technology to create carbon-efficient sites across more than 270 sites is one of the key ambitions of the Plants of Tomorrow. To this end,  our teams are pioneering the use of Carbon Capture, Utilization and Sequestration technologies (CCU/S) for use at sites globally. Carbon Capture technologies concentrate CO2 with the aim of giving it a second life as fuel, chemicals, building material, or safely storing it in the ground.

To work towards a net zero industry, we’re spearheading a number of innovative projects that range from converting CO2 into synthetic fuel and chemicals, producing a food-grade CO2 and using CO2 in greenhouses. Equally, through collaboration with startups, we’re developing agile and innovative solutions to get a head start on tomorrow’s challenges.

We’re also multiplying our efforts to reduce Co2 emissions by partnering with other leading multinational companies. Addressing the CO2 challenge requires a consortium of government and industry peers. To this end, Holcim is committed to working with key stakeholders to reduce  emissions globally.

Interested in more information on this initiative? Then follow our Manufacturing Maqer Linkedin page for more insights!

CemQ – Real-time cement quality prediction

It is currently impossible to estimate cement strength with any certainty until its 2-day, 7-day and 28-day strengths are measured through physical tests. Plants tend to compensate for this by using a higher amount of costly, high-quality clinker and additives to ensure a high-performing product. Alternatively, they may grind the product more extensively, as the fineness of the cement is another factor in determining its final strength. These approaches offer no way of accounting for the multitude of other production process variables that can affect cement quality.

Predictive quality models use machine learning algorithms to correlate the quality of each production batch with the relevant production parameters while minimizing clinker factor.

This enables forecasting cement quality accurately in real-time at any point during the production process, reducing typical overspending of up to 15 percent in efforts to meet quality targets as well as achieving CO2 reductions and energy savings.

Interested in more information on this initiative? Then follow our Manufacturing Maqer Linkedin page for more insights!

PACT – Performance and collaboration tool

In cement factories, the several interlinked production steps are monitored by automated systems. They provide the production team with a large set of data that is then used to derive . required actions for an efficient operation. Up to now, data from different monitoring systems has been collected and processed manually. This made collaboration and exchange very difficult and led to a bias towards experience-driven decisions rather than concise data analysis. Another hurdle: each plant used different systems, and action management tools making direct comparisons of factories impossible.

PACT supports the plant teams to take better, data-based and more forward-thinking decisions, consistently achieve targets and spend less time in meetings and data crunching. This allows the teams to focus more on optimizing the processes and adapting in a flexible way to requirements from the markets.

PACT is the Holcim platform that combines all aspects of business with production, maintenance, quality, environment  as well as H&S data from plants worldwide. This data is used for data-based decision making, benchmarking, consistent action tracking and as basis for machine learning applications that scale globally, such as CemQ.

Purpose bound remittances | BeamAndGo | MyCashOnline

Worldwide USD500B is sent back home by overseas workers. Up to 15% of these remittances are used for home construction. Some of the top 10 remittance-receiving countries include India, Mexico, Egypt, Nigeria and Bangladesh. Counties in which Holcim has a strong presence.

One of the big worries of the overseas workers is that money sent back home is used for alternative purposes.

When partnering with tech companies such as BeamAndGo and MyCashOnline, we connect overseas workers with the Holcim retailer network in their home countries ensuring a simple, safe and reliable delivery of cement and other construction materials.

Control the chaos of deliveries on jobsites | StruxHub

StruxHub was born walking jobsites around the world and seeing the pains of general contractors trying to orchestrate the constant flux of material deliveries on tight jobsites with whiteboards and paper.

So in 2019, we launched StruxHub Deliveries—an all-in-one, real-time site logistics management system that allows general contractors to coordinate their subcontractors materials deliveries, log quality & performance issues, and manage materials stocks.

Today, we’re being used daily on high-profile projects such as the Uber HQ in San Francisco and a new Facebook Office in Silicon Valley and looking to help other projects around the world.