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AUTOMATED DESCALING – IMPROVING SAFETY AND EFFICIENCY

Blevin, I. and Konovalov, E.

The application of high and ultra high pressure water jetting systems in the Alumina Mining and Refining process has been steadily increasing over the years. Concurrently, there has also been a progressive increase in the pressures and flows applied giving rise a need to re-assess the safety and efficiency of operations. With this in mind WOMA (Australia) has invested significant efforts into the development and manufacture of hydraulically operated remotely controlled machines. To date various purpose built machines have been supplied by WOMA to customers. These machines have not only provided for increased operational capabilities and efficiencies, but also, and by no means less importantly, improved safety of the operational process to a completely different level. An operator can be in full control of the process, while located dozens of metres away from the jetting nozzles and, if necessary, behind a protective shield. In this scenario, the operator can override automatics and take control over the hydro blasting process if and/or when needed. Importantly, this does not compromise safety as the visual information is communicated via a monitor, located close to the operator.

Based on the experience gained, WOMA is currently engaged in the development of a new generation of these machines, which could in practice completely eliminate human involvement in the hydro blasting process. Apart from the obvious improvements in safety, an automatically operated machine would set a new standard in efficiency.