An uncomfortable observation in the Shift Logs and Process Control records of most aluminum smelting plants is that process control failures, large and small, happen every day. Although only a small fraction of these failures give rise to catastrophic events, the difference between a disaster we read about and a failure which, although expensive, has no irreversible consequences, is only chance.
Control for Aluminum Production and Other Processing Industries exemplifies new control thinking fused with an understanding of process variability, and how to diagnose abnormalities and their causes in aluminum production plants. Many real life examples in the book demonstrate the importance of human behavior and a scientific, questioning approach in the control of a technologically complex process. Written from the perspective of production staff and management, the book also gives readers a view into the human aspects of accidents and their analogy with failures in control of production.
Production plants regularly experience more control failures than successes and staff must continuously strive to establish stability and control of their process. Through on-the-job experiences of the authors and their industry colleagues, the control experiences described in this book provide readers with a foundation for building their own robust control rationale and a framework for avoidance of plant control problems.
Table of Contents
The Importance of Control
A Tour of the Plant
Welcome to Production
A Potline Process Control Failure
Diagnosing Variation in Materials Processing
Understanding Potroom Processes
The Start of a New Culture
Reformulation of Potline Control
People, Process, and Plant
Better Decisions for Control
Accelerating Removal of Variation
"I enjoyed reading this book and will refer it to others who are new and not so new to aluminium electrolysis. The tales of escape from some of the all too common "sand traps" that persist in this industry are both enlightening and entertaining. But, the real points of reflection shall be upon how to best apply the over-arching principles that are shared in my own never-ending quest for improvement."
––Stephen Lindsay, Alcoa, Inc., USA
"The process control challenges in potline operation are comprehensively covered. The style is a blend of a storyline that will resonate strongly with most potline staff, with the details of the process control methods that can and should be used. This approach highlights that there is a better way! Everyone interested in potline operation, from crew member to general manager to researcher, could benefit from this book."
––Mark Cooksey, CSIRO Enquiries, Australia