INVENTORY PREDICTIVE CONTROL FOR BATCH PROCESS PRODUCTION REGULATION
Ms Carole Prévost, Mr Roberto Pinto, Mr Vincent Leclerc, Mr Michel Ruel
A buffer’s ability to dampen production variations is directly related to its size. Small buffers cannot handle large variations in production, resulting in production losses when their inventory is depleted or saturated. This paper presents a predictive control algorithm used to regulate the inventory in a buffer of limited size, subject to large production variations caused by an upstream batch process. The algorithm was designed to manage the acid flow rates in an acid regeneration process, servicing batch leach reactors at Rio Tinto Fer et Titane, in Sorel-Tracy, Québec. The objective was to increase production by reducing equipment downtime caused by imbalances in the acid tanks servicing the leach reactors. The controller attempts to maintain acceptable acid tank volumes by optimizing the leach reactors acid/slag ratio and reaction time as a function of anticipated acid needs, all while maintaining product quality.