Tap hole monitoring technologies

Author(s) W. Braun, P. Gebski, R. MacRosty, R. Pula, A. Sadri, and W. Ying
SAIMM Furnace Tapping Conference 2014


This paper provides a progress update on three tapblock monitoring technologies that Hatch has been developing with our clients for non-ferrous smelting furnaces.

The Tapblock Diagnostic System (TDS) is an advanced on-line monitoring system that uses temperature data along with embedded thermal model results to evaluate the condition of a tapblock over its campaign life. Hatch recently installed a second Tapblock Diagnostic System, some details of which are provided in this paper.

The Tap-hole Acoustic Monitoring (TAM) system is installed on water-cooled copper tapblocks and uses the noise from the tapping channel to provide a qualitative indication of wear and deterioration of the tapping channel refractory. In addition, TAM can be used to monitor drilling and lancing performance, and potentially could also be used in the future as a guide for automatic drilling and lancing systems (Sadri et al., 2008).

The third technology is the use of fibre optic sensors to measure temperature on the hot face and in the tapping channel of a tapblock. Fibre optic technology allows installation of numerous sensors in key locations where they are very sensitive to tapblock condition a d also provide more extensive spatial coverage than is possible with traditional instruments. This paper provides an update on our efforts to address issues with premature failure of the sensor cables due to corrosion, and also converting the vast amount of data from the sensor cable into information that can be used by furnace operators.