Making industry 4.0 a reality in El Salvador

Launched in 2019, Holcim’s “Plants of Tomorrow” program is one of the largest roll-outs of Industry 4.0 in the building materials industry. The goal: future-proof more than 270 cement production sites with technologies such as automation, robotics and artificial intelligence.

With the opening of the state-of-the-art Maya cement plant, Holcim El Salvador is one location putting the initiative into practice.

“Leveraging the Group's investment in Industry 4.0 technologies equips us to more rapidly meet our customers’ needs, optimize our environmental footprint, and consolidate Holcim’s leadership in our market.”

Rodrigo Gallardo| CEO, Holcim El Salvador

Remote control – at scale

Maya is inaugurating a new Remote Plant Control system, through which its kiln and grinding station can be operated remotely from Holcim El Salvador’s other cement plant, El Ronco. This solution will allow teams to monitor the processes at both plants from a single control room, ensuring uniformity and increasing efficiency.

Increasing productivity and ensuring safety with drones and automated surveillance systems

The Maya teams are also equipped with productivity tools that enable them to strengthen profitability while safeguarding our people. To reduce high-exposure field work, drones conduct tower and kiln inspections, and automated surveillance systems point out where inventories are running low. The teams can also use a mobile app to monitor the chemical composition of the materials being processed as well as production levels across the plant, all from the palm of their hand.

Thermographic scanners and more to advance our net-zero journey

With sustainability at the core of our strategy, the next-generation technologies deployed at Maya are also geared towards reducing environmental impact. An online system for constant monitoring of CO2 emissions and energy and water consumption ensures the plant is on track to meet sustainability targets. To ensure the plant does not use more fuel than is necessary, the kiln is equipped with a state-of-the-art thermographic scanner to monitor temperature and a high-resolution camera to monitor flame size. Even Maya’s circular systems are high-tech: the plant will be equipped with an autonomous feeder for alternative fuels and resources (AFR) that will allow the co-processing of 6-8 tons of waste per hour.

The Maya plant project began in early 2021 to ensure we were ready to support El Salvador’s post-COVID economic recovery. Today it’s a model for innovation in Latin America and the Holcim Group, demonstrating the potential of our Plants of Tomorrow.