Predictive furnace refractory maintenance procedures to extend campaign life and reduce waste

Author(s) A. Sadri, M. Cramer, W. Ying
Presented at 61st Annual Conference of Metallurgists (COM 2022) - August 21-24, 2022 - Montreal, Quebec, Canada


As furnace lining concepts and designs have improved over the last 100 years, the smelter management and maintenance approach has also changed significantly within this period. One of the fundamental approaches that have changed is the view of the furnace lining. In traditional thinking, the lining was viewed as a consumable with unpredictable service life, but a new and modern idea is to see the furnace lining as a piece of equipment that should be maintained. Simply burning through the lining and hoping for the best is no longer acceptable or economically viable. Modern actively managed freeze lining approaches have, in theory, infinite life and must be proactively managed. If refractory linings need, it flows logically that the causes and costs must be understood so that the appropriate measures and strategies can be developed to manage the equipment. The strategies must be turned into operating and maintenance procedures that are followed on a regular basis, and the data generated should form the basis of any decisions. Throughout the campaign life of a furnace, successful refractory maintenance procedures will ultimately reduce relining costs, waste, and carbon footprint of the smelter. In, the authors will discuss the reasons and costs of a furnace run-out and the benefits of data-driven predictive maintenance in decision-making leading to the extension of a furnace campaign life.