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Blog: Can an old plant learn new tricks?

If you bought equipment for aggregate production back in 1980’s, chances are that your market has since evolved and you now need different options from the production equipment. Not to mention incorporating smart devices and other technology advancements into an intelligent system to monitor and improve the material flow and handling. Luckily, with Metso’s plant optimization solutions, an old plant can learn new tricks to boost productivity and drive down costs.

Metso’s customers in the aggregates industry are facing all the time greater challenges to increase the production capacity of their plants. End products, such as asphalt or ready-mix concrete, have nowadays different standards. 

New products have higher requirements and demand modifications to the old plants. There is a need to increase the profitability, as the costs of operating an old plant are rising; however your income remains the same.  On the other hand, acquiring a completely new plant is a huge investment.

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

Let intelligent systems and smart devices be your eyes and ears

What exactly can be achieved with plant optimization? First and foremost, it increases the efficiency and the reliability of the plant. Many plants that are 15-25 years old require a lot of downtime and outage for repair. Through plant optimization and using Metso’s process and design expertise we can improve the plant operation by eliminating the activities that do not bring any value to the customer and minimizing the downtimes and outages.

Additionally, through plant optimization the customer can also save in 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 the crushers and screens, are then big energy savers. Intelligent systems in crushing and screening and materials handling also make the plant maintenance easier and reduce the amount of personnel needed for operating the plant. Last but definitely not least, plant optimization also improves safety. 

What’s your bottleneck?

In practice, each plant optimization process starts by identifying the individual customer’s needs. Therefore, each plant optimization solution is also different from another. First, the bottleneck of the process is identified together with the customer. After that we define the right technical and business solutions within the customer’s budget and requirements. Metso can carry out the whole project, including training for the customer’s employees.

As a rule of thumb, the solution lays either in replacement of a machine or plant section, creating a process break, extending the plant, relocating a sector or replacing all the sections. For example, with one customer we replaced approximately 60% 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 we would have replaced every component of the plant, it would have cost 40% more. To get the production back up as quickly as possible, all replacements were done in a tight schedule – in less than four months.

Interested to hear more?

More information and examples of plant optimization solutions will be discussed at our Aggregates Academy presentation at Bauma 2016, construction machinery exhibition in Munich on April 11-17. At our stand you will also be able to meet our best experts in crushing and screening plant design. See the schedule of the presentation here.

If you can’t make it to Bauma, write to us for more information: or



SVP Aggregates Business & Product Management

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