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After the successful demonstration of the SpectraFlow NIR online analyzer technology on iron ore at Vale Brazil, we are now happy to announce the successful adoption of the SpectraFlow technology at a Tata Steel sinter plant in Jamshedpur, India.

Tata Group, head quartered in India, was founded in 1868 and is now a global business conglomerate operating in over 100 countries. Tata Steel was established in India as Asia’s first integrated private steel company in 1907 at their Jamshedpur facility. Tata Steel, with an annual crude steel capacity of 34 million tons per annum (MnTPA), is one the world’s most geographically diversified steel producers and the plant at Jamshedpur produces nearly 10 MnTPA.

Improving process efficiencies with respect to resources, especially coke and energy, has become a need of the hour for industries, and even more so with increasing focus on environmental regulations and local & global efficiency benchmarks.

After some past and ongoing trails of online analyzer technologies in the Tata group, the Jamshedpur team decided to select SpectraFlow for the task to reduce the sinter chemistry standard deviation and fuel consumption. SpectraFlow’s near infra-red (NIR) technology can measure minerals on oxide (CaO, SiO2, Al2O3, …) as well on mineral phase level (e.g. Fetot vs. FeO), organics (e.g. Ctot or Cfree) and moisture (incl. loss on ignition). With this real time measurement ability, the above challenges can be actively addressed.

Tata Jamshedpur sinter plant is working with domestic iron ore fines delivered to the plant and are premixing these iron ore fines with limestone, coke breeze, plant reverts and return fines to prepare base mix stockpiles. This base mix is the primary raw material for making sinter. The SpectraFlow analyzer was installed after the base mix bins and now measures the composition of the base mix feed on a minute-by-minute basis. The data is delivered to the plant DCS for sinter chemistry calculation and precise control by varying the trimming additions of coke, limestone and so forth.

Figure 1 - General process flow of Tata Jamshedpur SP2 and location of the SpectraFlow Analyzer.

Effective planning and execution by the Tata Steel team enabled trouble-free integration of the analytical data from analyzer into their control system, resulting in prompt comparison and fine tuning of the system. After a verification period of about two months to gain confidence in the analyzer results, plant operation personnel commenced use of the analytical data for control. The operational results based on use of the analyzer for the past few months show:

  • significant reduction in sinter chemistry standard deviation while

  • the chemistry is more consistently kept on target.

Besides this, the analyzer also withstood the rough operating and climate conditions (including monsoon season) and had an availability of 97%.

Figure 2 – SpectraFlow Crossbelt Analyzer integrated at Tata SP2 after base mix bins

SpectraFlow Installation for Advanced Process Control (APC):

The SpectraFlow analyzer is an online analyzer that measures dry raw material composition at key points in mining, processing and refining value chains. Usually placed over a conveyor belt, or in an airslide, the analyzer is able to measure fine deviations in the moisture, grade or gangue composition of the material in real time. By using the measurements from the analyzer that are exchanged directly with the control room PLC or from SpectraFlow’s database and monitoring user interface, bulk mineral, precious metal and cement producers can create automated control loops for quality control and assurance of their final product.

The summarized benefits of SpectraFlow’s online NIR analyzer are:

  • The analyzer is free of any radioactive sources, neutron generators or any hazardous components. This means that the SpectraFlow analyzer does not require any permits or licenses regarding importation, operation or maintenance. Thus, the SpectraFlow analyzer is completely safe and maintenance can be done by the plant personal.

  • Real time, short acquisition time measurements taken of the complete flow of material give the customer the opportunity to provide high resolution feed forward information to downstream processing or make value-based ore sorting control decisions on the material.

  • The Crossbelt Analyzer reduces the need for frequent belt cuts or manual sampling of the material for quality control, and instead gives the user large amounts of accurate composition data for real time feedback on upstream quality delivery like ore block control and stockpile blending.

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