Challenge

Flotation circuits have a number of variables that operators can manipulate to adjust the performance of individual cells (also columns or banks), and the overall circuit. Operators continuously make decisions on what the airflow rate into the cells should be, at what pulp level to operate, how much reagent to add, etc. While mass pulls and final grade and recovery provide valuable feedback to operators, it is often still unclear what exactly they should change to improve performance.

Should they increase the levels and keep the airflow rates unchanged, or the other way round? On which flotation cell should they make changes to have the best impact on recovery - Roughers or Cleaners? These are the kind of decisions that operators continually make. What if they had something that could assist them with these decisions?

Our Solution

IntelliSense.io's Flotation Application provides operators with Virtual Sensors on key operational metrics, to provide transparency on how each cell is doing on a bubble level. These Virtual Sensors include:

  • Bubble size

  • Gas Hold-up

  • Bubble surface area flux

  • Residence times

These Virtual Sensors provide a valuable link between control variables and target variables (see below diagram). We will initially work with you to determine from your historical data what range of e.g. Bubble Surface Area Flux (Virtual Sensor) give you the grade and recovery you are targeting. This will be configured in your brains.app, so you can see from the Virtual Sensors how your flotation circuit is performing compared to those desired ranges. If they are outside of the desired ranges, you will be able to change key Control Variables to get it back - e.g. by increasing the airflow to a certain flotation cell.

We will then show you how to update these ranges yourself, based on the grade and recovery performance of your circuit.

Figure 1: How the Flotation App's Virtual Sensors serve as intermediate variables between control variables and target variables (or KPIs).

This Help Article gives a more technical overview of these Virtual Sensors.

The following image shows an example of how the Flotation Virtual Sensors are used to find optimal airflow rates on a rougher flotation circuit.

Figure 2: Example of an Operator Dashboard, providing feedback to a Control Room Operator on how to change airflow rates to achieve the desired bubble properties for a given Circuit.

Key Steps:

  1. Navigate to your Dashboard showing the Flotation Virtual Sensors (e.g. the Flotation Roughers (Operators) Dashboard shown).

  2. Find/update the Virtual Sensors' desired ranges by looking at what values give optimal grade/recovery performance. IntelliSense.io can help with this where needed.

  3. Set these ranges by using the Data Input widget.

  4. Monitor these variables to see that the actual values remain within the ranges.

  5. If they go outside (either above max or below minimum), review the airflow rates per cell to see why this might be occurring.

  6. Make the necessary changes to air addition to improve the process performance.

Value

This allows you to:

  • Quickly identify problems with specific parts of the flotation circuit

  • Directly improve your flotation circuit's grade & recovery

  • Measure key properties with Virtual Sensors that need no physical maintenance

There are many more ways to use these Virtual Sensors. So, for more info, please do reach out to us via Instant Messaging. We're happy to help!

Did this answer your question?