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May 10, 2016

Unlocking productivity bottlenecks at TISCO’s Jianshan Filtration Plant

Frequent unplanned shutdowns are costly when plant success depends on performance. With four sets of Metso VPA pressure filters, TISCO Jianshan Iron Mine was able to upgrade the filtration plant’s efficiency in China.

When improving process management alone does little to help increase the plant’s efficiency, what is the next step? Implementing an upgrade project utilizing Metso VPA pressure filters at the Jianshan Filtration Plant made it clear that well-chosen equipment results in measurable outcomes.

Taiyuan Iron & Steel (Group) Co., Ltd (TISCO) is one of the world’s largest stainless steel producers. Located in the northern China city  of Taiyuan, TISCO’s Jianshan Filtration Plant is part of Jianshan Iron Mine. The mine has an annual processing capacity of 10,400,000 tons, with an annual output of 3,880,000 tons of iron concentrate. The filtration plant produces dry iron concentrate through dewatering treatment from the slurry with density 65%, solid 4.96t/m3, viscosity 11.5-12 η/μ, pH value around 7.0 and 93.81% -200 mesh.

Identifying the barriers

“We had experienced unplanned shutdowns frequently before the transformation. Although we had been attempting to improve our management level, we were not seeing improvement in the productivity. We had a bottleneck in our productivity,” says Cui Hongjun, Director of Jianshan Filtration Plant, about the upgrade project.

Before 2013, the Jianshan Filtration Plant was equipped with three sets of US-made pressure filters and four sets of domestic filters, with an annual production capacity of 3,250,000 tons. In terms of energy consumption and production efficiency, this was not fully up to expectation.

Efficiency reached new levels

Four sets of Metso VPA pressure filters were integrated into the upgrade project implemented by TISCO in 2013. This increased the processing capacity from 3,250,000 t/a to 3,880,000 t/a and reduced the filter cloth moisture from 9.5%-10% to 9.1%-9.3%.

“After a careful comparison, we finally selected the Metso VPA2050-50 pressure filter for our new plant. Through the project, not only has the production efficiency been greatly improved, but the management has also achieved a breakthrough: the cycle time dropped by 18% and efficiency improved by over 22%. The VPAs have been in stable operation so far, and downtime has clearly been reduced,” says Mr. Cui.

“The Metso VPA2050-50 filter presses only require two operators on site. Not only does this reduce labor costs, it also makes managing the operation simpler.”

Savings in figures

The transformation resulted in an energy savings of approximately 40%, according to the data provided by TISCO (see Table 1). By using the Metso VPA2050-50 pressure filter, the annual saving can reach up to 5,400,000 kWh, which is a savings of approximately EUR 750,000 (RMB 5,400,000)*

Table 1. Comparison of electricity consumption (kWh/t) in filtration plant before and after the transformation

The amount of damaged filter cloth was reduced by 70% after the transformation (see Table 2). Thus the annual savings in the cost of filter cloth is estimated to be nearly EUR 1,500,000 (RMB10,000,000).

Table 2. Comparison of filter cloth consumption (piece/10,000 ton**) before and after the transformation

*Based on calculation of 1 RMB yuan/kW electricity consumption for industrial use

** Amount of filter cloth per 10,000 t iron concentration processed


*Metso Outotec was formed July 1, 2020 when Metso and Outotec merged into one company. This case study has been written prior to the merger under the old company name.
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