Developing a dynamic control system for mine compressed air networks
Van Heerden, S.W.
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Mines in general, make use of compressed air systems for daily operational activities. Compressed air on mines is traditionally distributed via compressed air ring networks where multiple shafts are supplied with compressed air from an integral system. These compressed air networks make use of a number of compressors feeding the ring from various locations in the network. While these mines have sophisticated control systems to control these compressors, they are not dynamic systems. Compressors are selected based on static priorities for a chosen time period. While this is acceptable for some days it is not always the ideal solution. The compressed air demand of the ring is dynamic and it is often difficult to estimate the future needs of the system. In this document the Dynamic Compressor Selector (DCS) is described as a solution to this problem. The DCS is a computer-based control system with the aim of dynamically calculating a control pressure set-point, using the demand for compressed air as well as indicating the optimal compressors to supply the required compressed air. This will reduce the power requirement of the compressed air ring as well as reduce compressor cycling. The preliminary results indicated significant electricity savings could be possible