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MEI Online: Plant Operation News: Australasia: March 26th 2007


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:: Iluka Improves Quality and Reduces Acid and Gas Consumption with ABB’s EPO Solution

Iluka, a leader in the production of titanium materials, is now benefiting from kilns operating at their optimum and improved wet process scheduling at its Narngulu plant.

ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, has completed the installation and commissioning of its Economic Process Optimization (EPO) solution at the Narngulu plant of Iluka Resources Limited, in Western Australia. At this plant two grades of Synthetic Rutile are manufactured using the Becher process to produce a total of about 240,000TPA. The EPO solution comprises ABB’s well known Expert Optimizer system to optimize both the control of the rotary kilns and the scheduling and operation of the batch/continuous wet process.

For the wet process the advanced ABB Model Predictive Control (MPC) and Mixed Logical Dynamical (MLD) models tools were a necessity as they can handle on/off decisions and complex logical constraints and so can decide to stop or start parts of the operation, where this is required, for optimal scheduling. ABB’s EPO was chosen as it is the only industrial product in the world that provides MPC, Fuzzy Logic and Neural Nets in one integrated platform thus allowing a choice of the best technology for each optimization problem.

The control strategies were developed by ABB Switzerland during the first half of 2006 and then the system was deployed and commissioned in two phases during July/August and December 2006.

More stable operation of the kiln process is seen by the standard deviation of the temperature having reduced by over 50% and by a reduction in the number of pressure spikes in the system, this latter is important because too many pressure spikes can lead to environmental violations. More stable operation of the wet process has meant reduced gas consumption in the driers, decreased acid consumption in the leach system and reduced power consumption in the aerators.

Savings are currently running at around AU$450k pa and in addition the quality measurements are showing reduced standard deviation resulting in quality benefits for Iluka’s customers.




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