Strong demand and environmental considerations are increasing the pressure for alumina producers to operate safely, reliably and efficiently. Traditional operational methodologies are being tested and compared to best practices in other industries for improvement opportunities.
Operator training simulation is one technology, used extensively for many years throughout the hydrocarbon processing industries, which is now being deployed successfully within alumina refining, especially for greenfield and brownfield expansions. Operator training simulators utilise dynamic simulation to provide a high fidelity model of the process dynamics associated with an alumina refinery. This has been proven to provide benefits through increasing availability (operators better able to handle upsets), safety and operator competency certification. Additionally it enables process and control design validation minimising design shortfalls that would negatively impact throughput, quality and commissioning times.
This paper provides an overview of this technology and the benefits with reference to an alumina refining case study – the Gove double digester simulation project.