The SMS team has assisted numerous smelters across Australia over the last 20+ years including Tomago Aluminium and Bell Bay. Projects have covered various aspects of smelter operations including anode handling, casthouse operations, molten aluminium transport, ingot mill scheduling, nickel smelter upgrade, and zinc materials handling.
Extensive experience in smelter operations
Tomago Aluminium, Boyne Smelters, New Zealand Aluminium Smelter (NZAS), Bell Bay Aluminium
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Molten aluminium and casthouse operations
Simulation modelling of molten aluminium and casthouse operations to review options for the management of crucibles and crucible transport vehicles (CTVs). Parameters reviewed included the number of crucibles and CTVs, location of pickup points, quantity of and time taken for scrap melting in VDC furnaces, siphon downtimes, and continuous ingot casting. The option for a dedicated CTV in the furnace area was considered, along with a review of the crucible cleaning area and its impact on overall production.
Extensive modelling of anode handling supported the introduction of new technology. Issues addressed included the number and size of vehicles involved in the placement of trays on rodded anodes beside potlines preparatory to the changing out of anodes in individual cells; the collection of anode butts after change-out and their return to the rodding room; alternate schedules for anode changes; and interference of anode and butt transfers with other production activities.
As part of a study to review proposed changes to a casthouse operation, SMS modelled the collection, transportation and consumption of molten aluminium. The model helped to determine the number of furnaces required and the dependence of this upon the mix of products made.
Ingot mill operations
A study of ingot mill operations was undertaken to assist with management of hot metal usage following a revision of operating procedures and increased production levels. The study was used to develop appropriate scheduling methodologies. It also highlighted some areas of concern with the proposed upgrade. This model was subsequently used to investigate further operational changes.
SMS modelled a nickel smelter to support a proposed upgrade in converter capacity. The model studied the impact of the upgrade on upstream and downstream processes and established the point at which interference between two overhead cranes became a limiting factor in throughput. SMS also provided advice on different work practices relating to crane operation.
Raw materials handling and storage
SMS analysed raw materials handling and storage to assist with planning for a proposed third potline. The study looked at the arrival, ship unloading, transfer, storage and consumption of all raw materials, along with the circulation of the various recycled materials within the plant.
Other smelting projects
Other smelting projects have involved high purity model capture, butt cleaning, alloying furnaces, modelling of anode baking furnaces, aluminium bath delivery, rodding room simulation, carbon bake conversion, and continuous homogenising study.
Simulations minimise risk for complex supply chains
Simulation modelling of coal stockpiling and logistics for BHP
SMS developed a simulation model of a complex raw coal transportation system to address bottlenecks and inadequate storage. Relatively minor infrastructure upgrades were recommended, avoiding anticipated new stockpiles or other major investment. The model was then available for ongoing use, to support decision making for other proposed projects and upgrades.
Simulation modelling of new manufacturing facility for CSR Hebel
SMS worked collaboratively with CSR Hebel to simulate their proposed new manufacturing facility. The resulting Arena simulation software clearly demonstrated that the proposed design could not meet production requirements.