• Advanced Raw Material Tracker for improved blast furnace charging and process control
  • Data-driven models ensure optimal allocation of the burden on the conveyor belt
  • Early prevention of inefficient material distribution

Aktien-Gesellschaft der Dillinger Hüttenwerke (Dillinger) and SMS group have announced a cooperation agreement to optimize blast furnace operation by modeling and digitalizing logistics processes. The Raw Material Tracker will be based on the proven BFXpert software and include three different digital models that accurately track the bulk materials along the burdening-to-blast furnace process chain. This enables the blast furnace process to be controlled more precisely.

Digital mapping of material conveyance through the material feed models enables predictive problem analysis and monitoring of digital values with the Advanced Raw Material Tracker, which highlights irregularities. As a result, Dillinger is able to manage the hoppers with low staffing levels and produce 10,000 tons of hot metal every day. Similarly, load peaks can also be reduced by utilizing load-optimized belt feeding, and the transport of spherical goods on conveyors is enhanced by preventing unwanted discharges from inclined conveyors.

SMS group's process control and operator guidance system BFXpert serves as the platform for the development of the "Advanced Raw Material Tracker." By implementing three models, disturbances in burden charging can be detected at an early stage, resulting in more efficient conveyor belt assignment. The conveyor model is responsible for monitoring bulk material that is charged onto the conveyor belt. The hopper model delivers a real-time calculation of the material distribution, which is based on the material properties, during filling and emptying of the material hopper. The burdening model provides information as well as the radial distribution of the individual material portions in the blast furnace, in order to achieve optimal conveyor belt occupancy. These models have already been successfully integrated into production operations on two blast furnaces at the site in Dillingen.

"We are proud to work with Dillinger to develop the Advanced Raw Material Tracker based on a proven application. This solution has already been successfully launched on the market and is now more precisely tailored to customer needs," says Fabrice Hansen, Chief Technology Officer at SMS digital.

"So far, the models have demonstrated the system's ability to adapt quickly to changes in feedstock qualities. Their implementation has led to more efficient logistical planning with regard to the input and circulated material, as well as improved maintenance practices. The integration of these models into BFXpert has made it easier to monitor burdening processes," explains Dr. Peter Maagh, Chief Operations and Technology Officer at Dillinger.

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