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FEBRUARY 13-17 · 2005 TMS ANNUAL MEETING · SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

AM05 LogoAluminum Smelter Control

Sponsored by: TMS Light Metals Division
Dates and Times: Sunday, February 13, 2005 ~ 8:30 am-5:00 pm
Advance Fees: Members $475; Non-Members $560
. If you register by January 17, 2005 you will save an additional $50.00.

To register for a course, please use the 2005 TMS Annual Meeting Registration form. You may register any time prior to the Annual Meeting and on-site. Course size is limited and a sufficient number of pre-registered attendees are necessary to offer each course, so please register early!

Who Should Attend

As amperages have increased on existing plants and environmental and energy constraints have tightened on both new and existing ones, smelter control has become the biggest leverage area for not only cost reduction and product quality improvement, but also environmental compliance. The license to operate smelters now is becoming increasingly dependent on the reputation of companies for close control of their operations, and this is equally the case for companies building new smelters.

This short course is targeted at smelter operations practitioners, and smelter designers and engineers who have a need for hands-on knowledge of the drivers of smelter process variation and the levers to reduce it. The content in each area will start at a managerial level, and move to specific examples of control issues while providing a framework to build on the understanding gained.

Course Overview

The course is designed to provide learning experiences based on real examples of smelter variation and control improvements and set backs over many years. These experiences are taken from a range of operations, and from different parts of the smelter flowsheet. Although it is not possible to cover every unit operation within and every input to a smelter in one day, the presenters will use these examples to build a framework of thinking about control which can be applied over the full range of plant operations and to other complex process industries as well. An introductory discussion of Control Fundamentals will first highlight:

  • The origins of control in Smelters
  • The three main phases of Control including the importance of observation
  • The understanding of variation observed, and
  • Risk management in control decision-making where automatic and manually performed control loops co-exist.

A more in depth presentation on variation then follows, with manufacturing analogies from other industries. This leads into a discussion of the linkages between the various parts of any smelter and the tendency for all variation to show up in a magnified way in the Reduction Lines. Two specific case studies then bring the focus back to the inputs and outputs of a smelter – these case studies will discuss smelter experiences with controlling alumina variation, and with managing environmental regulation under varying input and process conditions. This is particularly topical at the moment because of recent experiences with hydrogen fluoride emissions at many different smelters.

After lunch the course turns to the manufacturing control necessary for consistent quality anodes, with another case study highlighting the leverage points for Carbon Plant control. This leads into the subject of Reduction Line process stability, and some examples of how reduction control loops have been destabilized through the underlying conditions, with event or process change triggers often involved as well. Consequences of Reduction Line instability will be discussed with substantial input from the participants on the course. Next the latest developments in control are overviewed in two presentations - one focusing on new data analysis and monitoring techniques which are now available for multivariate systems, and the other looking more broadly at trends in energy management in smelters in the future. The crucial aspect of primary metal quality, purity drivers, and quality differentiation at the reduction lines is addressed last in a joint presentation on metal contamination control, and impurity control more generally.

About the Presenters

Dr. Mark P. Taylor graduated from Auckland University in 1984 with a PhD in Chemical and Materials Engineering. His career with the Comalco organization spanned 18 years in a variety of research, technical and operational roles. He commenced at the Comalco Research Centre in Melbourne, before moving into technical management at New Zealand Aluminium Smelters, Tiwai, Invercargill. During this time, he was also the Implementation Manager for the $450m smelter upgrade and then Potroom Manager. Following this he managed the smelter for a six month period before transferring to Brisbane. As General Manager Technical, M.P. Taylor directed Comalco’s reduction research and development and provided technical support to Comalco’s three operational smelters. He was appointed General Manager Operations in 2000 to Comalco’s largest smelting operation, Boyne Smelters Ltd in Central Queensland. During his time with Comalco M.P. Taylor published over 50 papers, has been the recipient of two Best Paper Awards at TMS, and authored more than 100 technical reports within Comalco. M.P. Taylor joined the University of Auckland in January 2003 as the Director, Light Metals Research Centre and Honorary Professor in Chemical and Materials Engineering. He is engaged in light metals research and consulting globally and specializes in aluminium smelter improvement programs.

Prof. John JJ Chen is Professor of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Auckland. After obtaining his BE degree from the University of Auckland, he worked for three years as a Potrooms Development Engineering at New Zealand Aluminium Smelters. He then returned to Auckland and completed a PhD in 1979. He has published over 170 papers in international journals and conference proceedings, one patent and over 60 proprietary research reports. He is on the Light Metals Division and the Aluminium Committee of TMS. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, the Institution of Chemical Engineers (London), and the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand. He has received Merit Awards and Best Teachers Awards in the School of Engineering, and awards for best paper from TMS and IPENZ. Professor Chen’s research interests include the modelling of the aluminium smelting process, the treatment of molten metal, and process control in the potrooms. He has been for many years at the forefront of multiphase flows and related transport processes. Professor Chen’s research team was the first to quantify the impact of bubble driven flows on current efficiency in aluminium smelting cells and the first to identify and measure the increase in sidewall heat transfer coefficient opposite the bath/metal interface due to the waves in the metal layer impinging on the wall.

Associate Professor James Metson completed his PhD at Victoria University of Wellington in 1980. After a period as a staff Scientist at Surface Science Western, the University of Western Ontario, Canada, he moved to the University of Auckland late in 1985. In addition to his appointment in the Department of Chemistry he has since held positions as Director of the Research Centre for Surface and Materials Science, Acting Director of the Light Metals Research Centre during its formation. In addition he held the position of Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) for the University between 2000 and 2002. His research work, largely based in surface and materials science, has involved extensive contact with the Aluminium industry, including involvement in the development of a new dry-scrubbing technology and studies of cell emissions, electrolyte chemistry, and electrode reactivity. He has presented many papers at the TMS Light Metals Conference and was a Light Metals award winner in 1994. He was also winner of the New Zealand 1995 Shell Prize for Industrial Chemistry. He has presented more than 20 plenary or keynote lectures, has over 100 research publications and sixty technical reports, many dealing with applications in the aluminium industry.

Dr. Margaret Hyland graduated with a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Western Ontario, London, Canada in 1989, and is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Auckland. She has carried out extensive research in aluminium smelting technology with primary interests in dry scrubbing and cell materials. She has presented a number of papers at the TMS Light Metals Conference and is the winner of 3 TMS Awards in Carbon and Reduction Technology in 1997 and 2000. Dr Hyland has published over 40 papers and over 60 technical reports, involving contracts with many of the major aluminium companies.

With Contributions by

Dr. Barry Sadler, Managing Director, Net Carbon Consulting Pty Ltd Mr. Keith Sinclair, Sinclair Associates

For More Information

Christina Raabe
TMS, Manager of Continuing Ed and Information
184 Thorn Hill Road
Warrendale PA 15086 USA
Tel (724) 776-9000 ext. 212
Fax (724) 776-3770
E-mail raabe@tms.org


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