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Ironing Out Savings In Iron Ore Cleaning

Thu, 04/02/2009 - 5:30am

It has never been more important for companies to save on costs than today. Melting iron ore in a furnace, for example, requires high levels of energy, so every kilowatt saved can be significant. Due to this trend, a customer (whose name cannot be released for the sake of confidentiality agreements) recently charged Pelletron Corp. with finding a cost-saving solution for its melting process.

The Wrinkle

Iron ore contains a large amount of fine dust, which settles on furnace walls and acts as an insulator. At a flow rate of 700 tons per hour (TPH), this dust accumulates quickly. Because the customer’s transfer systems are all open-belt conveyors, the dusty ore further compounds into an environmental problem for workers.

The Impact

The thicker the layer of dust, the higher the melting process costs escalate. As a result of being exposed to this airborne dust, workers also complain about potential health effects.

The Challenge

Clean the dusty iron ore before loading it onto open-belt conveyors for transport to the furnace.

The Solution

Use the Pelletron DeDuster® to remove dust particles prior to conveying.

The First Step

Pelletron immediately went to work proving the feasibility of the DeDuster® in its lab. The company’s analysis revealed that the dust content amounted to greater than 8,000 PPM before cleaning, yet shrunk to less than 100 PPM after DeDusting. Nevertheless, the customer was convinced that the problem was best solved by implementing this technology, and thus approved the project.

Pelletron’s Bulkmatology® team was subsequently tasked to develop a DeDuster® that could withstand up to 700-TPH discharge flow rates of these abrasive iron ore pellets. While simply modifying the company’s standard DeDuster® P2000, the team specifically set out to fortify the wash decks on this particular unit to improve wear resistance, thereby enhancing longevity.

The System

The system is fundamentally made up of:

  • An inlet filter.
  • A wash air fan.
  • A DeDuster®.
  • An efficient cyclone.
  • A cyclone intended specifically for wet-dust recovery.
  • An exhaust air fan.

The DeDuster® operates on an open-loop system. The wash air fan guides ambient air through an inlet filter into the DeDuster®, so the iron ore pellets can be “air washed.” Immediately thereafter, the exhaust air fan forces the removed dust into a cyclone in which the dust and coarse particles are separated, and under which they are recovered.

The pre-cleaned air successively enters into a wet-cleaning cyclone that removes and recovers the remaining fine dust. After being allowed to dry, the recovered dust and coarse particles are transported to a pelletizing system. Finally, the cleaned air can be released into the atmosphere.

Not only does Pelletron boast that its system doesn’t lose any iron ore during the process, but its customer also attributes it with a much cleaner plant environment.

Reaching Goals

In conclusion, the customer is satisfied with the performance of Pelletron’s dust removal system. The expected energy savings were achieved, and worker complaints regarding dust vanished. The customer is now considering a second dust removal installation to improve the environmental conditions in other areas of the plant.

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