Press releases

Siemens creates a soda production line simulator for the CIECH Group; the goal is to increase the efficiency of the production process

The CIECH Group, the second largest European producer of sodium carbonate (soda ash) and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), and Siemens, a global leader in digitisation of industrial production, are working together to create a complete soda production line simulator in order to improve the efficiency of the production process of this raw material. Specialised software is a valuable tool used by the CIECH’s production technologists and R&D Department. It enables you to simulate changes in the operating parameters of the production line. The simulator is being constructed at the factory in Inowrocław, in combination with the “Advanced Process Control” technology implemented there.


- Creating software that fully reflects the production of soda ash enables our technologists to look for ways to increase the efficiency of this process. In the next step, it will enable the creation of a training simulator for employees who are production operators. Thanks to this, they will be able to train in the operation of the production line and gain the qualifications necessary to manage the soda production process faster – says Mirosław Skowron, Member of the Management Board of CIECH S.A.


Currently, the process of training production operators takes up to two years, and with the use of the new training simulator in the future, it can be significantly shortened.


Digitisation and the use of innovative technological solutions to improve production efficiency are the key elements of the CIECH Group's business strategy. Accordingly, since 2019, together with Siemens, CIECH has been working on the creation of a complete simulator of the soda production line. This specialised software also takes into account the functioning and operating parameters of the heat and power plant, supplying the installation with high pressure steam - a key raw material in the production of soda. The simulator developed by Siemens, with the participation of CIECH’s specialists, allows for effective testing of changes in parameters, both chemical and physical, in the soda production process.


The application of the Siemens gPROMS software at the Inowrocław plant made it possible to create a Digital Twin of the installation. This model recreates the operation of the entire production plant, which consists of 266 unit operations reflected by 240 thousand equations describing physicochemical phenomena and 460 partial differential equations describing the dynamics of the mass and energy balance.


- The expected profitability threshold of this investment is to be reached after 6 months. The expected result of the use of simulation tools is a more efficient use of raw materials and semi-finished products in production. The implemented tool enables, among others, carrying out analyses of the balance of carbon dioxide, one of the key gases used in the production of soda. It is also expected to recover media within the process installation more efficiently – says Szymon Paprocki, Process Automation Director at Siemens Polska.


The Optimisation function is an important feature of the Digital Twin used to simulate the processes in the Inowrocław plant. It enables you to make simulations for previously set parameters. An example is the optimisation of the process of obtaining brine purified using the lime-sodium method. After the purity of the target brine has been defined, the tool allows you to obtain the best operating parameters of the installation and suggests what media concentrations should be used to obtain the desired effect.


At the same time, the CIECH Group is working on many other research and development projects in the soda segment, focused on improving the efficiency of resource use, reducing waste and implementing the idea of a circular economy. An example of this is the active collaboration with the Department of Chemical Technology of the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, under which works are continued with regard to crystallisation in non-equilibrium conditions, waste stream management or modification of the Solvay soda production technique.

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