The new technology is the result of collaboration between the hydrocyclone team at FLSmidth Krebs and FLSmidth’s automation team.
The SmartCyclone solution combines SmartCyclone wireless wear-detection sensor and roping sensor technology with a wireless controller system, and field-proven ECS/ProcessExpert (PXP) process control software, including a new SmartWear cyclone maintenance algorithm.
The SmartCyclone system introduces electronic sensing and communications to Krebs’ hydrocyclone separator product line and the encompassing process creating an ‘island of optimisation’ for mineral processing and specialty markets. With a SmartCyclone-equipped process, the cyclone sensors can report the functional state of the cyclone by monitoring the conditions of the slurry flow for each cyclone individually. The sensors can also report the wear status of the cyclone components, so that parts purchasing and maintenance operations can be planned in advance and with greater control. Finally, the sensors can report when a cyclone, or the SmartCyclone system itself, is malfunctioning such as when an individual cyclone experiences a condition called ‘roping’ or a break-down in the classification.
Jon Culbertson, sales director at FLSmidth Krebs, said: “We believe we are truly pioneering a new segment of control solutions, and one of the first to formally target the closed-circuit grinding process with a dedicated automation philosophy using sensors, ranging from the mill sump level through the cyclone overflow particle size, to optimise the flotation feed and maximise production.”
The ECS/ProcessExpert system is a modern, advanced process control solution used to stabilise and then optimise key minerals processes. It balances equipment loads, manages and corrects process disruptions, and minimises wear on the plant’s equipment – all by dramatically reducing/eliminating manual involvement from mill operators and to ensure optimum plant performance by achieving maximum efficiency and higher profitability. The ECS/ProcessExpert solution also enables a minerals plant to develop a uniform operation strategy that outlines the best way to run the plant. Once this strategy has been established, training new operators becomes much easier.
SmartCyclone systems will be offered with three levels of sophistication:
- A basic cyclone monitoring system only;
- A standard cyclone monitoring and control system to correct for process perturbations and manage cyclone wear to a desired maintenance schedule; and
- An expert system for incorporating additional sensors and control algorithms to maximise process throughput and further reduce variations in, as well as optimise, cyclone overflow particle size distribution.
Utilising SmartCyclone monitoring and control solutions, plants can achieve maximum process efficiencies through quick upset condition identification and automatic correction resulting in less process downtime, reduced variation in flotation feed resulting in improved mineral recovery, more systematic cyclone operation and continuous wear monitoring/management resulting in predictable cyclone circuit maintenance, and increased production capacity by limiting roping which allows the process to be operated closer to the limits of the cyclone manifold design.
Overall, the SmartCyclone system will help a closed-circuit grinding process to achieve a level of automation with process efficiencies previously not possible with conventional processing equipment alone. Extended cyclone life and increased operational efficiency lead to the ideal outcome – improved comminution productivity, improved recovery and higher profitability.
The SmartCyclone technology is one of the products that FLSmidth will be previewing at MINExpo 2016 later this month, at booth #4237 in the central hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.