Metso Insights Blog Mining and metals blog Service Offering for Alumina Calciners
Metals refining
Feb 18, 2020

Service Offering for Alumina Calciner

Metso Minerals and Outotec technology companies, officially merged on 1 July 2020, forming a leading process technology equipment and services company serving the minerals, metals, and aggregate industries.

Being a technology leader in providing plant and equipment solutions for alumina calcination, part of our mission at Metso Outotec is to provide our customers with integrated services that ensure reliability, maximum performance, and safe operation of their plants and process equipment. Our service portfolio is aimed at improving the OEE (Overall Equipment Efficiency) and provides support to customers to improve their performance with regards to availability, throughput, and product quality. 

Our service portfolio includes equipment inspections, plant audits, CFD modeling as well as research and development, including lab and pilot plant facilities, providing troubleshooting and solution optimization. Our knowledge is based on years of expertise and experience, in conjunction with the development of key spare parts and maintenance-friendly equipment packages, we can perform modernizations and upgrades to boost the reliability of your plants. Our range of alumina calciner services is typically associated with shutdowns which are extremely challenging procedures for many customers, characterized by tight schedules to reduce production losses, high costs, and risks.

Our comprehensive shutdown planning and management procedures have advanced over decades of successful furnace shutdown services, greenfield plant installations, and brownfield modernizations, specifically for CFB calciners. We are also pioneers in the development of digital tools for the metals and mining sectors, our calciner optimizer digitization offering primarily targets the improvement of energy efficiency of calciner operations.

We view our customers as strategic partners. To strive to assist our customers to design the best maintenance practices and long term operation strategies.  We recommend developing a comprehensive calciner roadmap in collaboration to ensure equipment and operational improvements, to prioritize and finally implement these measures with our specific service products and offerings. Our global presence and local operations enable world-class engineering, project delivery, and service for our customers. Our experts from a worldwide network of extensive technical, engineering, and operational capabilities.  Safety is of utmost importance to us, our QEHS Management System defines the principles and elements by which we conduct our global business to protect employees and stakeholders, the public, company property, and the environment.  

Equipment Inspections

Certain pieces of equipment are process critical for smooth calciner operations, such as the feed screw, preheat burner, discharge device, fluidized bed cooler, ESP, etc. Periodic inspections during the planned shut-downs, conducted by a Metso Outotec specialist, provide precise information about the condition of the equipment. The inspection reports summarize the equipment status and developments to provide maintenance, operational, and safety-related recommendations.  This information is critical in maximizing operational capacity by minimizing unscheduled downtime and maximizing the possible campaign life. It also allows planning the requirements for the next shut-down as well as the operating expenses over the long run.

Plant Audits

Metso Outotec also applies process know-how to perform comprehensive calciner plant/process audits, to investigate bottlenecks, the potential for improved process performance, production or product (Alumina) quality, and the impact of raw material or fuel basis changes, etc. We value customer feedback to ensure continuous improvement and R&D activities as we strive to enhance equipment and designs.  Continuous improvement includes the latest technologies as potential retrofit solutions. 

CFD modeling & R&D Facilities as a Root Cause Analysis and Technology Development

Metso Outotec employs CFD modeling as an integral part of calciner design, also as a tool to provide troubleshooting investigations.  With intensive know-how of gas-solid particle modeling, we have accumulated a good portfolio of successful customer cases in determining a root cause analysis for failures or the development of process improvements, especially in critical process areas such as cyclones, seal pots, FBCs and CFB Furnaces.  CFD modeling also provides verifications for any design improvements as part of the design phase to ensure that the performance expectations are met as well as a smooth and trouble-free start-up. Metso Outotec has extensive R&D laboratory and pilot plant facilities which are typically used to verify modeling results or for test work campaigns. The fluidized bed pilot plants can be operated in a range of modes (from bubbling to fast/circulating fluidizing regimes) with different fuel types and gas atmospheres over a wide capacity range (from small-batch scale up to semi-industrial capacities).

Continuous Improvement of Calciner Key Spare Parts

The quick, reliable supply of quality spare parts is crucial to a successful maintenance program.  

Metso Outotec, as the OEM of calciners, supplies certified spare parts for all of our equipment. It is of paramount importance that the lifetime of key components matches the scheduled campaign of uninterrupted operation for calciner plants.

We invest continuously in our in-house research and development centers to further improve and perfect key components.  Each component undergoes rigorous testing in both laboratory and field-based trials to ensure the manufacturing processes, materials, and quality control are of the highest standards.

Our genuine parts, therefore outperform imitations and with a longer lifetime, saving time and costs.

The reduced downtime and the continued performance of your plant will save costs over the lifetime of your plant.  We are happy to assist you with a cost-benefit analysis to demonstrate the advantages of Outotec proprietary spares.

Crucial proprietary spare parts for Metso Outotec calciner equipment include:

  • Fluidizing Nozzles
  • Water Injection Lances
  • Components for Discharge Device
  • Vortex Finders for the Cyclones
  • Water and Air Cooling Coils for the Fluidized Bed Cooler

Modernizations and Upgrades

Over the last 50 years, Metso Outotec has designed and delivered over 60 calciners. During this period we have perfected the state of the art technology development in the fluidizing bed process and developed the Calciner Generation O'5. The process performance was the core of every new plant to provide enhancements and optimizations of all equipment, to ensure longevity, better consumption, maintainability, environmental sustainability, and safety.  

Metso Outotec has a proven track record of successful modernizations in calcination plants, on single equipment, or complete process areas. Below are some examples:

  • Improved process stability and reduction of the energy consumption close to the theoretical minimum by adding a hydrate dryer, a hydrate bypass, a second cooling stage and a third preheating stage (CircoCal upgrade)
  • Downsizing or even replacement of Vortex finders by adding a refractory ramp in the cyclones and modifying the gas and material kinetics, based on the results of CFD modeling
  • Replacement of fluidizing nozzles, water injection lances or discharge devices with improved equipment of the latest generation       

Holistic and Integrated Shutdown Services for Calciners

Metso Outotec has performed, planned, and executed installation and shutdown projects for the past 35 years on metallurgical facilities (including calciners) with references from hundreds of projects.

Our shutdown services for calciners include:

  • Equipment & Refractory Inspections
  • Planning and Scheduling
  • Shut-down Management
  • Equipment Maintenance
  • Refractory Demolition and Repairs

Our holistic calciner shutdown approach is coupled closely with our technology and servicing offering, for example, equipment/plant audit to assess your alumina calciner asset performance well in advance, identifying bottlenecks for potential upgrades during shutdowns, Spares inventory check and recommendation pre and post-shutdown, process support to ramp up the start-up of calciners.  

Our well-proven 12-point planning system offers turnkey shutdown scope which reduces the risk of managing multiple sub-contractors, keeping cost and budget under control. Ultimately, for our customers, this is about campaign life and uptime – we add value by decreasing shutdown time, and prolonging intervals between campaigns through refractory and technology improvements.

The refractory is the highest contributing factor to plant shutdowns.  Refectory associated services are more than 50% of usual calciner shutdowns. We have in-house refractory engineering expertise.  Our comprehensive scope of service related to refractory (before, during, and after shutdown) covers:

  • Analysis of Thermo imagining reports to use them as the basis for planning shutdown scope
  • Material planning, refractory demolition, repair, ramping up during shutdown.
  • Long-range planning for refractory engineering coupled with shutdown planning to extend major overhaul intervals  

Digital Solutions to optimize the Process and Control of Calciners

Digital solutions have become an integral part of the calciner service offering. One of the main cost drivers is the fuel consumption in a calcination plant.  Energy efficiency is therefore one of the main concerns for most operations. Our background over several decades in plant and process design and engineering is backed by vast process know-how.  Our process optimizer helps improve the energy efficiency of the plant by stabilizing the process. There are fewer temperature fluctuations, which reduces equipment stress and improves long-term plant availability. Process know-how ensures the plant operates at high throughput.

Our new Pretium Calciner Optimizer functions alongside any DCS or control system in place in a calciner which has been showing promising results with up to 10% energy savings in a brownfield installation –, we are saving up to 55 kt of CO2 per annum in a single calciner.

Metals refining