Control Strategies for Solid/Liquid Separation

Carriere, K. C.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 14
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1986
INTRODUCTION The purpose of this paper is to introduce the reader to basic control strategies for solid/liquid separation in mineral processing and to indicate some of the implementation difficulties to be encountered, without becoming overly involved in details of process, equipment or software. It is assumed that the reader has some familiarity with control systems and with dewatering processes, since exploration of these topics would require considerably more length. The paper is organized into three parts: first a general discussion on the need for control of dewatering processes and of the general criteria involved, next a more detailed elaboration on control strategies for the various unit operations, and finally a case study showing a specific approach towards such a project. Motivation & Objectives The justification for implementing any control system in an industrial plant is to improve operations and thereby to increase profitability. Without this motivation, the system will likely be perceived as unnecessary and will decline into disuse, an expensive and troublesome monument to someone's ill-conceived ideas. However, when a control strategy is correctly conceived, implemented and integrated into operations, it can provide significant advantages in operating ease and efficiency, and a handsome return on investment. In general terms, the objectives in establishing a control system are: • stabilization of process disturbances maintenance of product quality • maximization of throughput • dearer definition of process • protection of personnel and equipment A successful control strategy must address at least some of the above criteria. However, the most important requirement is a commitment on the part of plant personnel and management to start up, operate and maintain the system, and to upgrade it to reflect current process status and operational philosophy. Process Applications In this paper, control strategies will be explored for the most common methods of dewatering of mineral pulps. These unit operations include: drying, centrifuging, filtering and sedimentation. While the first three are important, they do not tend to be as complex as sedimentation, and thus will not be as exhaustively treated. Sedimentation is very widely applied, not
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