In line with Anglo American’s asset optimization and environmental policies, the coal burning flash dryer operations at its smelters have been identified for potential optimization by means of advanced process control. For this project, the process and related literature were studied in detail and a revised control philosophy, which includes modifications to the existing basic control structure as well as a hybrid rule and model-predictive advanced control layer, was developed, installed and tested on one of these flash drying operations. Since commissioning of the APC, the flash dryer’s average throughput has increased by more than 6 %, despite higher feed moistures. Furthermore, even though coal consumption has increased slightly, the operation efficiency has improved by almost 5 %. This was made possible by improving the stability of the drying column outlet temperature by approximately 40 %, which in turn enabled the selection of a more optimal setpoint. Recent data has shown that APC utilization now exceeds 95 %. This is indicative of a successful controller installation with good site acceptance.
Dissertation (MEng)--University of Pretoria, 2011.