To enhance safety and efficiency, the alumina refinery seeks a mechanized cleaning solution that eliminates human entry, reduces turnaround time, and improves asset performance.
In an alumina refinery, regular shutdowns of digestion trains every 4-5 months are vital for maintaining asset performance. However, the manual cleaning of flash tanks using jack hammers during these turnarounds poses safety risks and requires significant labor. To address these challenges, the refinery seeks a solution that eliminates human entry by employing machinery or crawlers for cleaning.
The primary task during the flash tank turnaround is removing hard scale residues composed mainly of silica, alumina, and iron, with thicknesses ranging from 40mm to 120mm. The current turnaround time is 2 days, involving five workers equipped with pneumatic jack hammers, entering confined spaces with the aid of temporary structures.
The desired solution aims to reduce cleaning time and improve safety. It must consider space constraints, limited entry points to the vessel, scaling hardness, and ease of installation for adaptability across all digestions. Potential savings of approximately 4.5 KT/Annum of Hydrate Volume could be achieved with a five-day reduction in turnaround time.
The refinery envisions an automated approach to flash tank cleaning that enhances operational efficiency, minimizes labor requirements, and ensures a safer working environment. By implementing an advanced and machinery-based cleaning system, the refinery seeks to optimize turnaround processes, improve asset performance, and protect employees from hazardous confined space entry.