Flowrox Makes Filtration Process Easy-to-Read
Like many other filtration plants, Terrafame’s filter operators faced a common problem: detailed information about tower press filters’ performance was only accessible on the screens mounted on individual filter control units. Usually, the performance information is limited to only overall production. It is hard to find out how individual filters are doing and even harder to check phases of each filtration cycle. The control room is crowded with screens and data in SCADA is presented with complex graphs. It is extremely difficult and time consuming to get an idea about filter’s performance. That is where the Flowrox Smart Filtration stepped in.
All data is now represented in a user-friendly way, clear and easy for anyone to understand. The 3D environment model replicates how the plant really looks like, so it is easy to navigate and see what is going on in different parts of the process. The Flowrox system even monitors infeed characteristics and shows performance of the auxiliaries like slurry pumps, tanks and compressed air which are crucial parts in filter’s cycle.
Key Performance Indicators Shown on Only One Screen
One of the best improvements of Smart Filtration, is getting the big picture of the complete filtration process at one glance. In addition, it is possible to view the filtration process in real time and remotely. All you need is a computer or any other handheld device with an internet connection. Through Flowrox Malibu™, an online portal, Terrafame personnel with user credentials can access the filtration information. The most important data is collected on only one screen. For Juha Paavilainen, Process Engineer at Terrafame, this makes his job much easier.
“Before, the information about filtration process was hard to access and read. I didn’t have the time to try and get through big amount of data. There are three tower press filters operating in Terrafame’s zinc production and I could only see what the overall production rate was. Now,
with Flowrox Smart Filtration, I can open my laptop in the morning and from one screen instantly see, how the filtration process is going. Within a couple of minutes, I know what is happening at the moment: what is the utilization rate, productivity, cake weight, waiting times, average cycle duration, etc. If I wish, I can move the slider and observe the filtration process throughout the past 72 hours,” Paavilainen explains.
Terrafame’s Filtration Process Improvements
The three tower press filters in Terrafame’s process are of the same size and model. From the technical point of view, they should perform in nearly the same way. Flowrox analysis has shown this is not the case.
“For some reason, we noticed more slurry is pumped into the filter number 2. The productivity of the newest filter, which should be the highest, is for some reason the lowest. In comparison to the other two, one of the filters has an extremely high pressure peak, when pressing starts, which could result in premature breaking of diaphragms,” explains Aimo Rautanen, Product Manager, Textiles & Elastomers at Flowrox. All those discoveries were previously unknown to Terrafame. “I did not know the pressure peak was that high. This was an important find because if diaphragms break too soon, we face more downtime and higher costs,” confirms Paavilainen.
Flowrox Brings Significant Savings
Another example how Flowrox has helped Terrafame to optimize the filtration process, is by detecting extremely high consumption of compressed air by one of the filters. Drying with compressed air is a big expense, about 80 % of all energy costs of the filtering process.
“By comparing the use of compressed air with one filter to another, I discovered one of them is consuming much more energy. I lowered the compressed air consumption and cake moisture was not affected but the energy costs have significantly decreased,” explains Paavilainen.
With this valuable information, provided by Flowrox filtration specialists, Terrafame can now detect minor issues and use the data to prevent major failures. “We can remotely observe the filtration process and also get alarms if some values exceed the normal situation. Through the
real-time online view, Flowrox can support Terrafame and help optimize the filtration process. The filtration specialists can remotely find malfunctions and advise how to eliminate them,” adds Simo Rounela, Application Manager, Digital Services at Flowrox.
No DCS Integration Required & Full Data Protection
Smart Filtration is a turnkey solution and is completely safe. With Terrafame’s filters, Flowrox uses existing filter sensors to read the data. DCS (Distributed Control System) integration is not necessary, but it can be arranged upon request. Flowrox is using its own internet connection to send the data to the cloud. Smart Filtration is secured by SSL/TLS encryption; the same technology is used in internet banking. Flowrox Smart Cube collects the data. System is configured as a read-only, so it is completely safe and cannot disturb Terrafame’s process control in any way.
“I am using the Flowrox Smart Filtration on a daily basis. It gives me a fast insight to the filtration process and works extremely well. We have already requested from Flowrox to expand the service to other parts of the process,” concludes Paavilainen.