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Course Outline


  Understanding process control:
Introductory session
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  • Defining process control, in the wide and narrow senses
  • Scene setting: Examining the renewed focus of processing plants on ‘tuning’ the operation - maximising plant utilisation and process performance by formalisation and automation of process control
  Plant and process performance Profit Process Control
  • Examining the effect process control has on performance and profitability - realising the economic gains attainable through improved process control
  • Evaluating how and why performance losses occur and how to prevent them by understanding and improving process control [operating at the ‘edge of adhesion’]
  • Monitoring and controlling plant processes and assessing plant performance
  • Reducing variability and raising averages
  • Optimisation example: throughput vs recovery – NPV
  Process control technology overview
  • The fundamental principles behind process control on a mineral processing plant
  • Overview of instrumentation, control and network hardware and systems software
  • Applications software: control, basic and advanced, optimisation, HMI, history and reporting
  • Application architecture: modular and layered control system structure
  • Worked example of application architecture
  • Application functionality: stabilisation, constraint compliance, optimisation
  • Worked example of application functionality
  Effectively managing process control to optimise plant throughput
  • Developing a method of managing the assets through process control – hard and soft
  • Automating the simple functions and formalising the manual/people functions - knowing what and how much to automate
  • Formalising and documenting the process control system including the control functions and performance evaluation
  • Conducting a process control audit and creating a development plan for future performance improvement
  • Developing and implementing continuous improvement practices
  • Acquiring, nurturing and retaining the essential skills
  Control scheme design - Developing a control strategy
  • The key elements involved in designing a control strategy
  • Examining common design errors and developing best practice methods to prevent similar errors
  • Worked Example 1 - Two-Stage Grinding Circuit
  • Worked Example 2 - Crushing Plant
  The function block approach to control function design
  • Examining the advantages of the function block approach - “Control Leggo”
  • Overview of the basic control design structures: loop, ratio, cascade
  • Building constraint compliance functions
  • When and how to use Delay Compensation to improve control
  Worked examples of basic control schemes
  • Cyanide concentration control (gold leaching)
  • Mill feed rate control (multiple feeders, delays)
  • Precision level control (flotation, SX settler interface)
  The operator and the operator interface
  • Designing ergonomic graphics, faceplates and trend charts
  • Providing an effective alarm system
  • Documenting plant history and ways to report effectively
  • Examining the role and the functions of the operator - what essential elements need to be in place or changed to optimise the process control operation?
  Understanding and optimising process control of specific processes through interactive worked examples: Stabilisation and constraint compliance
  • Example 1 - SAG mill charge weight and power control and optimisation
  • Example 2 - controlling and optimising a 2-stage grinding circuit
  • Example 3 - crushing plant throughput and product sizing control
  • Example 4 - optimising flotation performance through cell level and air flow control
  • Example 5 - thickener control with bed pressure measurement
  Higher level control for mineral processing plant optimisation
  • The ‘Expert System’ approach and its uses
  • Understanding multivariable control
  • Optimisation - assessing problems and workshopping solutions [example: SAG mill]
  Review and Interactive Discussion
  • Examining participants’ mineral processing plant challenges and issues
  • Summing up and general questions

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