SUNConferences, 27th Annual Conference of the SA Institute for Industrial Engineering

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Schalk Willem van Heerden, Johan Nicolaas Du Plessis, Johan Hendry Marais

Last modified: 2016-10-06


Mines use large compressed air networks to supply shafts and processing plants with compressed air. These networks can however be very complex as multiple compressors are located at different locations. Each end user of compressed air is also often a separate business entity – each following its own schedule and usage requirements. Despite this complexity, most mines still use static compressor control, which is based on typical usage patterns, on these networks. However, the static control strategy is only effective when all the end users use compressed air matching the typical usage pattern, since if one end user deviates from this pattern, the strategy becomes outdated. This typically happens on a daily basis. The article describes a dynamic compressor controller that offers an optimised solution for controlling the network. This optimised solution will specify the running compressors as well as the minimum pressure set point for these compressors. This ensures that the compressed air network is controlled optimally. The system was tested repeatedly and has shown that the system has the potential to reduce the running costs of a typical mine by up to R17 million per annum.


dynamic compressor control, dynamic compressor system, DSM, energy management, mine compressor, compressed air ring, compressed air supply, compressor control