A recently published paper from Malvern Panalytical, jointly authored with an expert from the aluminium industry, considers how best to exploit on-line particle size analysis to automate and improve milling efficiency, towards more cost-efficient operation. 'Automated control of the milling circuit' includes research that illustrates how automated control on the basis of real-time particle size measurement using the Malvern Panalytical Insitec online analyzer simultaneously improves product quality and reduces energy consumption.
Mill output is most typically defined in terms of a particle size specification. In a number of industries a product that is too coarse is not acceptable, while an overly fine one is. Consequently over-milling is a major issue and a significant cause of excessive energy consumption. For many products, grade change (a switch from one particle size to another) is also an important source of waste because manual analysis and control make it difficult to rapidly reach a new set point.
While on-line particle size analysis is increasingly employed for mill monitoring, a greater return on investment is achieved by using the resulting data to automate control. Designed for integration within existing control platforms, Insitec is an on-line laser diffraction particle size analyzer that measures up to four complete particle size distributions per second. This paper addresses the issue of how best to filter such data for optimal control and discusses the benefits that automation delivers. Results show how automation robustly maintains product quality, reduces over-milling and cuts unproductive transition times - delivering significant financial benefit.