Flash Furnace Feed System Developments

Additonal authors: Coleman, M.. Book title: Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019. Chapter: . Chapter title:

Proceedings, Vol. Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019, 2019

Reed, M. E.

The control of feed delivery quality to the flash furnace remains an unsolved problem. Many operations around the world still have limited control of feed quality to their flash furnace. Schenck Process and WorleyParsons continue to work towards the ‘holy grail’ of simple quality feed delivering both radial feed distribution and pulseless feed delivery. Ten years ago they joined forces to offer a system based on then Clyde Process RotoFeed system which could deliver ground level installation, online mixing of materials, pulseless feeding direct to the burner, with good radial distribution. Unfortunately, this proved to be too large a step for the Flash Smelting community and met with resistance from the process owners. Since then the community has developed a range of options some of which have been implemented over this period. Despite these improvements there are still areas of concern including safety issues associated with concentrate leaks and spills, uncontrolled variations in feed rate including massive flooding events, intermittent distribution improvement and set up of the burner continues to be trial and error and hard to repeat the success in each burner campaign. These continue to impact flash furnace performance globally on a daily basis. Following the community reticence to pursue the complete solution a number of interim steps are now available to pave the way to the ultimate feed system. The mixing of material has been installed and is delivering line blended materials on a daily basis. This paper will investigate the developments over the last 10 years and discuss the pros and cons of this incremental step process for overall furnace control. INTRODUCTION Schenck Process and WorleyParsons have continued to interact and observe changes in the flash smelting industry and to consider application of the Clyde RotoFeed now incorporated in the Schenck Process ProStreamTM range for delivery of feed directly to the concentrate or matte burner. Schenck Process pneumatic injection from the Clyde Process range, ProStreamTM, utilises two types of volumetric feeders to accurately control the feed of material into an injection pipeline. These are referred to as the RotoFeed and RotoScrew technologies and the choice of feeder type is dependent on the characteristics of the material to be handled. The RotoFeed is generally used for finer, granular and powdered materials which cannot be accurately handled with a screw such as pulverised coal and copper concentrate, whilst the RotoScrew is particularly suited to coarser lump materials, particularly abrasive of cohesive materials like zinc powder, electronic scrap and metal ashes. Both units can operate at high pressures and many systems work at 3 to 10 bar with the occasional system working at 20 or 30bar for carbon to gasifiers. For the Flash furnace the ProStreamTM units can be used to deliver each of the furnace feed materials into a single line, mixing the materials homogeneously and live to the burner.
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019