Role of Operational Support in Ramp-Up of the FeNi-II Furance at PT Antam in Pomalaa

Author(s) L.R. Nelson, J.M.A. Geldenhuis, T. Miraza , T. Badrujaman , A. Taofik Hidyat , I. Jauhari , F.A. Stober , N. Voermann , B.O. Wasmund, E.J.M. Jahnsen

The role of dedicated operational support in the ramp-up and stabilisation of the FeNi-II furnace for ferronickel production at PT Antam’s smelter located in Pomalaa, Indonesia is described. The furnace was uprated to 32MW capability in a rebuild performed in 2005. This primarily involved installing a larger transformer, coupled with adoption of HATCH water-cooled copper plate, waffle and flanker coolers with integrated metal and slag tapblocks, HATCH air-cooled copper fin lower sidewall cooling and HATCH vertical sidewall binding system – “holddowns”.

Following a smooth commissioning period, the progress in attaining the preliminary ramp-up target load of 24MW is described. This initial target was set by Antam, subject to some prevailing smelter equipment constraints, particularly kiln capacity. Stabilisation of the furnace operation is discussed, together with some of the specific commissioning and operational challenges surmounted by the joint Antam-HATCH team. These included:

  • Mastering furnace integrity monitoring and operation with copper coolers, especially metal tapblock planned maintenance and repair strategies;
  • Transition from traditional “immersed electrode” to “brush-arc” mode of operation approaching as closely as possible to the productive “shielded-arc” mode of operation within existing equipment constraints;
  • Reductant selection and control issues;
  • Utilising the sophisticated furnace monitoring to provide detailed indication and warning of potentially destructive furnace upset conditions such as Si reversion and CO boils