Identifying, and Preventing, the Buildup of Fly Ash in Electrostatic Precipitators (ESPs) using 3D Level Measurement

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This article discusses the applications and challenges related to steel production and outlines ways to detect and prevent the build-up of fly ash. Figure 1 displays the process of steel production.

Steel production

Figure 1. Steel production

Coal Storage

Coal is kept in silos that feed the coke oven. This oven feeds the coke to the furnace. At least one silo is provided for each furnace.

Challenges

If the coal silo is completely empty, the furnace would have to be shut down. As coal is very important for the process, the end user requires a method to regulate and track the amount of coal stored in the silo to prevent any disruption to the process.

The 3DLevelScanner from BinMaster uses advanced surface mapping technology and provides accurate, real-time measurements of the level and volume of coal stored in all silos feeding the furnace. This considerably improves the end users’ inventory management and control capabilities.

BinMaster’s 3DLevelScanner

Figure 2. BinMaster’s 3DLevelScanner

ESPs

Fly ash is collected and removed from the flue gas through electrostatic precipitators or fabric bag filters placed at the furnace outlet, before the induced draft fan. It is then captured in hoppers under the bag filters or precipitators and removed from them on a periodic basis.

Challenges

Hot fly ash is continuously fed into ESP hoppers. In addition to high temperature and humidity, fly ash is likely to adhere to the hopper walls, leading to buildup and clogging of the hopper, which can affect the ESP plates.

End users have to constantly track the volume and level of fly ash and its distribution within the hopper, so that the hopper can be emptied promptly, cleaned, and maintained if required. This process should be followed to avoid clogging and potential damage to the ESP plates, as damaged ESP plates can also create health and environmental concerns.

BinMaster’s 3DLevelScanner is the only device that allows continuous measurement of the level and volume of fly ash within the ESP hopper. The 3D visualization tool of the 3DLevelScanner enables the end user to view the distribution of material within the hopper, indentifying material buildup as it occurs.

This allows them to schedule timely maintenance to prevent costly and unanticipated disruptions of the production process, and potential damage to the ESP plates.

At coal-fired power facilities where BinMaster’s 3DLevelScanner is not deployed in the ESP process, the emptying of the hopper is carried out in scheduled intervals. There is no reliable method to determine the amount of fly ash remaining in the hopper, so a timer is set to begin the emptying of hopper, irrespective of the volume of fly ash present in the hopper.

This makes the entire process highly inefficient, for example the air compressor is working needlessly. Using the 3DLevelScanner, users can consistently coordinate and automate the filling and emptying process of the hoppers.

Coke Storage

Coke is stored in silos prior to being delivered for further processing.

Challenges

During the filling and emptying processes coke creates a considerable amount of dust. It is kept under harsh dusty conditions and it tends to stick to the walls of the silo, leading to buildup and rat holes.

As a result, the end user find it difficult to accurately determine material inventory, which is critical as coke is important for the production of steel.

The 3DLevelScanner supplied by BinMaster uses an advanced dust-penetrating technology that provides reliable, accurate, and real-time measurements of the volume and level of coke stored in silos, even under adverse conditions.

The scanner also offers an optional 3D image of the distribution of coke within the silo. This allows the end user to detect material buildup as early as possible and to schedule cleaning and maintenance activities in a timely manner, preventing unanticipated and unnecessary interruptions of the production process and the related losses in terms of time and money.

Limestone Storage

Limestone is kept in silos prior to entering the manufacturing process.

Challenges

During the filling process, limestone creates excessive amounts of dust and is likely to adhere to the silo walls, resulting in uneven buildup and rat holes. Given that limestone is important to produce steel, it is crucial to measure the quantity of raw material present in the silo to ensure an ongoing production upstream.

With its dust-penetrating capabilities and advanced surface mapping technology, the 3DLevelScanner provides real-time volume measurements of the limestone stored in silos. It also provides an optional 3D visualization of the contents stored in silos, allowing early detection of material buildup.

This approach enables the end user to schedule cleaning and maintenance activities in a timely manner, preventing unanticipated interruptions in the manufacturing process and the related losses in terms of time and money.

Sinter Ore Storage

Sinter ore is typically kept in silos before being sent to the manufacturing process.

Challenges

During the filling process, sinter ore generates a significant amount of dust and is inclined to adhere and form buildup along the walls of the silo. Generally sinter ore storage silos are extremely large with extreme storage conditions, this makes it challenging for the end user to constantly track inventory levels.

The sophisticated dust-penetrating technology of the 3DLevelScanner provides reliable, accurate, and real-time volume measurements of the sinter ore stored in silos, regardless of any buildup even in adverse environments.

The optional 3D visualization tool of the 3DLevelScanner creates a real-time 3D image, demonstrating the distribution of the sinter ore within the silos, and enables early detection of material buildup as it occurs. This prevents costly and unanticipated disruptions of the production process, but also enhances the end users’ inventory management and control capabilities.

Iron Ore Storage

Iron ore is kept in silos prior to entering the manufacturing process.

Challenges

The iron ore stored in silos can be constantly supplied to the furnace. If the iron ore silo has to be completely emptied, the furnace would have to be shut down. The advanced dust-penetrating technology of the 3DLevelScanner provides reliable, accurate, and real-time volume measurement of the ore stored in the silos, irrespective of any buildup even under adverse conditions.

This enables the end user to schedule cleaning and maintenance activities in a timely manner, preventing unanticipated interruptions of the production process and the related losses in terms of time and money.

Download the Brochure for More Information

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by BinMaster.

For more information on this source, please visit BinMaster.

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