ABB is launching an advanced control solution embedded within a variable-speed drive. Called SmartMillTM, it utilizes real-time data for continuous control of individual grinding mills. Traditionally, operators face limited flexibility in optimizing grinding operations; an example is adding balls to the mill load and waiting for load reduction when the mill is overloaded. These adjustments are usually performed with only rudimentary control automation, or none at all. ABB’s SmartMillTM optimizes the process by adapting the actual mill speed and feed rate to current conditions in real time. The speed is varied according to an advanced control concept that keeps the mill’s solid feed as high as possible, while monitoring signals such as power consumption, motor torque and bearing pressure and mill speed.
ABB offers advanced process control (APC), which increases grinding efficiency, decreases energy consumption and extends equipment lifetime throughout the entire grinding circuit. SmartMillTM incorporates a variable-speed drive system as standard, while accessing all mill operation and maintenance features, such as automatic positioning, creeping speed and the frozen charge protection and remover function. For inputs, SmartMillTM uses power, torque and load, which the controller uses to predict future mill behaviors. The outputs can take into account several mill variables, such as feed rate, mill rotation speed, ore hardness and purity, total load and water addition rate. SmartMillTM provides full stability to individual mills, without the need for additional controllers or sensors. This leads to increased grinding efficiency, reduced energy consumption, higher throughput, better influence over particle size, fewer shift-to-shift variations and extended liner lifetime.