Motion Control & Drives


VLT drive saves energy at AEL blasting

May 2020 Motion Control & Drives

AEL (African Explosives Ltd.) Intelligent Blasting’s nitric acid plant saves R3,6 million on annual operating costs thanks to an upgrade from direct-on-line operation to VLT drive control of electric pumps and motors.

The AEL Intelligent Blasting nitric acid plant in Johannesburg supplies other AEL divisions serving mining operations with chemicals and explosives, nationally and internationally. The nitric acid plant has improved its reliability by upgrading the process water cooling system, and reduced energy consumption by 500 kWh hourly in the process.

For many years, motors and pumps in the process cooling water (PCW) system operated direct-on-line. With the upgrade, AEL Intelligent Blasting aimed to improve efficiency and reliability by introducing AC drive motor control. It chose VLT AQUA Drive FC 202 and VLT HVAC Drive FC 102 drives from Danfoss, based on their ability to ensure stable operation despite unreliable mains power supply. These drives offer automatic energy optimisation and kinetic backup features to support highly efficient and reliable plant operation.

During the upgrade, there was no disruption of operations as pre-installation of all equipment was performed with wires run to and from the motor control centre. The final connections were made during a planned shutdown for a catalyst change-out.

Variable speed control with fast payback time

Since the upgrade, AEL Mining Services has been able to reduce the electricity consumption from the two fans by 200 kWh combined and by another 300 kWh on the pump motors. The total savings on operating costs based on an average electricity charge of 85 c/kWh, is roughly (200 + 300) x 8560 hr x 0,85 = R3,6 million.

The remarkable payback time of only 18 months reflects the vast improvement in process cooling water efficiency enjoyed by AEL Intelligent Blasting.

For more information contact Lynne McCarthy, Danfoss, +27 11 785 7628, mccarthyl@danfoss.com, www.danfoss.co.za


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