Flotation Stabilization And Optimization

Singh, A.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2003
The control of flotation plants is by no means trivial. Flotation is one of the most interactive minerals? processing operations. The interactive nature of flotation circuits results in oscillations of levels and hence of grades and recoveries. Also, poor level setpoint tracking and disturbances have negative influences on grades and recoveries. The result is an unstable plant with limited scope for optimization. An advanced controller, FloatStarTM, has been developed to provide tight control and to reduce the amount of disturbances in flotation levels. It has been shown on a number of plants that the system results in faster and better setpoint tracking, better regulatory control and faster settling times after start-ups and disturbances. The successful stabilization provided by FloatStar has made it easier to investigate the area of optimization on flotation circuits. Mintek has identified the need for a more meaningful set of setpoints or aeration rates to use as a basis for control than levels and have advocated flow control by looking after residence times. When the feed conditions change, the ideal solution would be an algorithm or strategy that finds the new optimum conditions rather than just having an unguided hunt from the previous point. A multivariable flow-optimizing algorithm, a new module in FloatStar, has been developed to calculate optimum level setpoints and/or aeration rates that will aim to optimize the residence times, mass pulls and circulating loads within a flotation circuit. Keywords: flotation, regulatory, FloatStar, start-up, disturbance, residence times, circulating loads
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