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A flotation control system to optimise performance using peak air recovery

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Title: A flotation control system to optimise performance using peak air recovery
Authors: Shean, B
Hadler, K
Cilliers, JJ
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Automatic control of industrial flotation cells and circuits presents a set of significant challenges due to the number of variables, the sensitivity of flotation cells to variation in these variables and the complexity of predicting flotation performance and/or developing a strategy for optimisation. Air recovery, a measure of froth stability, has been shown to pass through a peak as flotation cell aeration increases. Furthermore, the air rate at which the peak air recovery (PAR) is obtained results in optimal flotation performance, whether improved concentrate grade, recovery or both grade and recovery. Peak air recovery, therefore, presents a clear optimising control strategy for the operation of flotation cells which is generic to all flotation cells regardless of position in the flotation circuit. In this study, a novel control system based on PAR is developed and demonstrated using a large continuous laboratory flotation cell. In this study, a direct search optimisation algorithm based on the GSS (generating set search) methodology was developed using a 70 l continuous flotation cell operating with a two-phase system (surfactant solution and air only). Characterisation of the laboratory system showed that it was stable for up to 6 h and exhibited a reproducible peak in air recovery. A dynamic model of the response of the system with regards to changes in air recovery was developed that allowed simulations of the proposed optimising control system to be carried out. The optimisation algorithm was then applied to the experimental system. The trialled GSS algorithm was shown to find the PAR air rate when starting above, below and at the PAR air rate, and additionally with a disturbance introduced into the system. While the direct search approach can be slow, it is simple and robust. This demonstrates an innovative approach to optimising control for froth flotation and is the first application of froth stability maximisation for flotation control.
Issue Date: 1-Jan-2017
Date of Acceptance: 12-Oct-2016
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/42019
DOI: 10.1016/j.cherd.2016.10.021
ISSN: 0263-8762
Publisher: Elsevier
Start Page: 57
End Page: 65
Journal / Book Title: Chemical Engineering Research and Design
Volume: 117
Issue: 1
Copyright Statement: © 2016 Elsevier. All rights reserved. This manuscript is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Sponsor/Funder: Technological Resources PTY Ltd
Technological Resources PTY Ltd
Funder's Grant Number: Project EF
3100429469
Keywords: Science & Technology
Technology
Engineering, Chemical
Engineering
Froth flotation
Flotation control
Flotation optimisation
MODEL-PREDICTIVE CONTROL
MASS-PULL
STRATEGY
SEARCH
Strategic, Defence & Security Studies
0904 Chemical Engineering
0914 Resources Engineering and Extractive Metallurgy
0102 Applied Mathematics
0911 Maritime Engineering
Chemical Engineering
Publication Status: Published
Online Publication Date: 2016-10-20
Appears in Collections:Earth Science and Engineering
Faculty of Engineering