System Integration & Control Systems Design


Iritron awarded international contract for furnace control

September 2023 System Integration & Control Systems Design

Iritron has been awarded two international, multimillion-Rand furnace drying projects. The company has extensive expertise in furnace drying control systems, and provides solutions in the fields of electrical, instrumentation, control systems, and decision support systems. It has been appointed by an international OEM for projects in Canada and Angola. The OEM is a global supplier of bulk material handling and separation equipment for mines, and specialises in high-tech engineering for the drying and processing industries.

“We have collaborated on several projects with the OEM, and provide specialist in-house engineering expertise, and products specific to these complex drying projects. By designing an intelligent thyristor control system, we provide immediate savings by reducing the cost of expensive, high-maintenance capacitors and freeing up transformer capacity, making the plant more cost effective,” says Iritron managing director, Andre Roeloffze.

Iritron has been appointed to supply the control system utilising Eurotherm’s award-winning EPower that offers a patented predictive load management control strategy utilising a high-speed CanBUS network. It continually samples data that allows the main drive to distribute furnace zone firing cycles, keeping demand as low as possible, while maintaining product quality.

In addition, through advanced diagnostics, the resistance of each element is continually measured for possible local failure, giving maintenance teams proactive warning to correct the element phase and remediate any unbalanced load on the star connection. All communication protocols are supported, including ProfiBus, ProfiNet and DeviceNet, for early warning to PLC, DCS and scada systems.

The system will include machine learning and artificial intelligence for predicting anomalies, for smart alarms, and for indicating trends in operational areas. All these are focused on overall equipment efficiency and preventive maintenance.

Within the mining, minerals and metals clusters, large consumers of electricity are processes utilising kilns, ovens, glass lehr baths, and furnaces for extracting, drying, melting, and heat treatment.

“The current energy crisis facing many countries across the world makes it increasingly critical to implement energy-efficient systems and processes. Implementing digital transformation will result in efficiencies and ultimately energy savings,” explains Roeloffze. He concludes: “It is important to not only reduce energy consumption and maintenance costs but also reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations become important when investors measure the sustainability and ethical impact of a company.”


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