Outotec’s Fully Automated Smelter 2020 – The Vision, the Status and the Future

Additonal authors: Jåfs, Mikael. 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

Jansson, Jani

At the Copper 2016 conference in Kobe, Japan, Outotec introduced a vision for the year 2020, wherein smelting would make use of four digital cornerstones: intelligent instruments, advanced process control, improved information management and transparency of and access to data. Since then, this vision coined the phrase “Fully Automated Smelter” with the mission promising a concept where no manual actions from human operators would be needed during normal smelter operations. Replacing repetitive physical work, collection and analysis of everyday production data has a great potential for further automation and will provide productive ways to improve efficiency and safety of smelters in the future. Therefore, a lot of emphasis has been put into developing solutions to automate these tasks and to move people out of harm’s way. A lot of new equipment, systems and optimization tools are under development. In addition, a lot of effort is going into developing dynamic process models and advanced control systems to interface with the plant automation systems. The goal is to integrate all these concepts to meet Outotec’s Fully Automated Smelter vision. This paper will cover these latest achievements toward this vision and introduce the near-future of digital smelting. INTRODUCTION As is well known already, the humankind is currently experiencing a change, extent of which is broadly studied by the governmental, educational and industrial institutions and parties. The wellbeing and quality of life have traditionally been improved alongside the developments in industrial production, which is now about to enter its fourth revolution. Therefore, the current change is often described as fourth industrial revolution, or industry 4.0 (or industrie 4.0, as named by Acatech, 2013) and can be considered anything from small incremental development to a ground-breaking global reset that will affect everyone’s lives. Many seem to agree, that the scale of change will indeed be big, even significantly bigger than the three industrial revolutions before it (Pellini, Weyrauch, Malho & Carden, 2019; Geissbauer, Vedso & Schrauf, 2016; Jansson, Bjorklund, Lahtinen, Heinonen, Jafs & Fagerlund, 2016).
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019