Molten material handling in the operation and its challenges focused on people’s safety

Molten material handling in the operation and its challenges focused on people’s safety

7 November 2016

The dynamics that are imposing the development and modernization of production processes in the industry, are directed to the idea of strengthening the Mining 4.0 concept. It means that every day it is possible to find new applications or robotic solutions that address these issues.

It is generally known that mining industry operations are permanently challenged to generate improvements and productive processes in accordance with the dizzying pace that the industry has today. Along with the challenges of process optimization, the concern for economic factors and their known fluctuations, the human or labor factor emerges more and more strongly.

In concrete terms, and when we make a detailed analysis of the stages of mineral production, we find a process or stage of high sensitivity to the human factor. The exposure to material with high temperatures or exposure to molten materials with high radiation.

A solution to this problem has emerged and is now available for the national and Latin American market. MIRS, as a leading company in the development of robotic applications, has created the Robot for opening and closing passages in melting furnaces. It is a robotic system designed to automatically perform the tasks of burning and plugging the slag discharge of the Flash furnace.

This application reduces human interaction to a minimum, thus avoiding dangerous and unnecessary exposure to toxic gases, projection of incandescent particles and molten liquid material. This robotic system allows the opening and plugging of the process in a more precise and safe way.

Besides avoiding the exposure of people to a very high temperature environment, with projection of incandescent particles, in a strenuous work, it also allows a more continuous drainage of the slag, avoiding contact accidents. The work of burning and plugging the slag discharge of the Flash furnaces, translated into the opening and plugging of passages in melting furnaces and operated by people, is an arduous and strenuous task that is also subject to high-risk environmental conditions and susceptible to accidents. Then, if we add initiatives such as the one developed by CODELCO for the industry, which is related to the identification of the most recurrent critical risks in the operation, including exposure to molten materials at high temperatures or high levels of radiation. In addition to the constant effort of the mining industry to modernize and robotize complex processes, it is understood that the path developed by MIRS so far is fully in line with the needs of mining 4.0, which has resulted in a correct interpretation of these needs and the generation of products that continue to support the path of technological development that modern mining is implementing.