Monitoring Furnace Sidewall Integrity Using Multivariate Statistical Models

Additonal authors: MacRosty, R.. 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

Pula, R.

Sidewall accretion in a smelting furnace plays an important role in furnace integrity as it provides protection to the sidewall cooling elements and thereby extends the furnace campaign life. The extreme thermal and mechanical stresses in the furnace and changes in the slag chemistry can cause the sidewall accretion to melt or break away decreasing the lining protecting the cooling elements. Thin accretion is highly undesirable as it increases the risk of exposing the cooling elements to the molten bath and in the worst case may lead to a failure. Therefore, monitoring the sidewall accretion on an operating furnace is extremely important to manage furnace integrity and to support safe furnace operation. Operators often generate estimates for sidewall accretion and refractory thickness using either copper cooler temperatures or heat load into the cooling water circuits. Multivariate statistical models, on the other hand, have the capability to consider all the process measurements simultaneously to provide a more reliable estimate. This paper describes the application of multivariate statistical models for sidewall integrity monitoring on a Flash Converting Furnace (FCF) and also discusses the online implementation of these models as the Sidewall Accretion Monitoring System. INTRODUCTION Rio Tinto’s Kennecott Utah Copper (KUC) smelter located near Salt Lake city, Utah operates a Flash Smelting Furnace (FSF) and a Flash Converting Furnace (FCF) to produce high-grade matte and blister copper respectively. Since the commissioning of smelter in 1995, several improvements were made to these furnaces to increase their efficiency and operational safety. At present, Kennecott smelter is known to be among the lowest-emission and highest energy recovery copper smelters in the world. Since the smelter start-up, Kennecott has invested in several advanced furnace monitoring practices to evaluate the integrity of the furnaces and improve their campaign life. An example is their temperature monitoring system installed for the smelting and converting furnaces, which continuously monitors the furnace sidewall temperatures and notifies the operators during temperature excursions. During an investigation on the converting furnace, it was revealed that there were frequent temperature excursions in the settler sidewall area towards the reaction shaft end of the furnace that caused significant furnace downtime. The reason for the sidewall temperature excursions was not clearly known.
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019