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ADEX Optimized Control of IKN Type Coolers

Cooler control plays a fundamental part in the optimization of the clinkerisation process due to its influence on the flow rate and temperature of secondary air re-entering the kiln. The first application of adaptive predictive control of the cooler at the Cement works at Gador delivered outstanding results. Its success was published in the first Colloquium of Cement and Concrete (Cemento y Hormigon) in 1991 and since then, this solution has been extended to several other cement plants. 

Further technical advances introduced a new type of clinker cooler (IKN – shown in the first figure) where clinker emerging from the kiln does not fall directly onto the mobile grid of the cooler, but instead, falls onto a stationary surface forming a slope cooled by a fan acting directly on it before falling eventually onto the mobile grid. 

The arrangement of the new clinker included a new control system. The optimization of this process requires good control of the size of the slope, and at the same time, the thickness of the clinker bed on the mobile grid.


Clinker IKN Cooler



The clinker cooler (shown on the left) has to cool the hot clinker emerging from the kiln in order to enable subsequent transport and storage. It also recovers heat energy by introducing hot air from the cooling process into the kiln. This hot air is called “secondary air”.

 

It is thus required to stabilize flow rates of air from the fans and also the thickness of the clinker bed by acting on the speed of both the fans and the mobile grid.


Problems associated with the IKN Grid



Two variables must be controlled: the size of the slope and the thickness of the clinker bed on top of the grid using only one control action – the speed of the mobile grid.

 

Other difficulties were associated with the process: large dynamic process changes, no direct measurement of the thickness of the clinker bed, and strong unmeasurable perturbations etc.

 

The figure on the left shows the most significant process variables in the plant before the application of the ADEX solution.


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