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Improved safety and productivity in cokemaking

Pumas from Siemens combines camera-based coke oven monitoring with optimized battery-machine positioning

Siemens VAI has developed a new camera-based coke oven monitoring system, referred to as Pumas (PUshing MAnagement System), that allows various oven criteria and parameters to be examined, measured and documented when the coke oven door is open during coke pushing.

This solution also includes the functions and features of the existing Level 2 Radiposi (Radio Digital Positioning) system from Siemens for precise control, positioning and interlocking of mobile coke oven battery equipment. The result is improved scheduling of coke oven maintenance activities, safer operations and thus higher cokemaking productivity.

Cokemaking takes place in gas-fired coke oven batteries comprised of up to more than 100 individual ovens per battery. The ovens are exposed to enormous thermal and mechanical wear which requires regular monitoring and maintenance to assure high productivity, maximum service life and an optimized product. Up until now, visual inspections of the inner oven conditions were typically carried out by operators during coke pushing when the coke oven doors are opened. However, this activity is not normally performed on a regular basis, is subject to an operator's experience and interpretation, and involves working in an unsafe and harsh environment.

The Pumas system was developed to counter these problems and to improve the accuracy and reliability of coke oven monitoring. The unit is mounted on the coke guide from where it performs visual oven condition monitoring with video cameras during the coke-pushing sequence. Continuous coke-temperature measurements are also performed to monitor wall heating and heat transfer to coke, in addition to other applications. High-capacity and fast wireless data transfer to a LAN server allows operators to systematically evaluate coke oven conditions online from the safety and convenience of the control pulpit. Selected photos are stored in the data base for reference as well as to improve evaluation and interpretation skills.

The application of Pumas allows badly worn oven soles to be identified and repaired on time, which avoids possible subsequent damage. The efficiency of oven filling can be also checked. The degree of graphitization of individual ovens (i.e., the caking of carbon on the furnace walls), can also be recognized by Pumas as the basis for better defining and coordinating maintenance intervals to rectify inadequate oven conditions. In this way, heat transfer to the coking coal can be improved leading to energy savings, the required electrical energy for coke pushing reduced, oven productivity increased and overall battery service life prolonged.

Another key challenge in the cokemaking process is to ensure the exact control, coordination, positioning and interlocking of various moving machines during coke discharge from the ovens. These include the coke-oven door-removal machine, the pusher machine for pushing the finished coke from the ovens, the coke guide which directs the coke exiting the oven into the coke-quenching car without spillage, and loading into the moving coke-quenching car. Pumas incorporates the well-proven features of Radiposi, an integrated Level 2 control system, to reliably perform these tasks.

The Siemens Industry Sector (Erlangen, Germany) is the worldwide leading supplier of environmentally friendly production, transportation, building and lighting technologies. With integrated automation technologies and comprehensive industry-specific solutions, Siemens increases the productivity, efficiency and flexibility of its customers in the fields of industry and infrastructure. The Sector consists of six divisions: Building Technologies, Drive Technologies, Industry Automation, Industry Solutions, Mobility und Osram. With around 207,000 employees worldwide (September 30), Siemens Industry achieved in fiscal year 2009 total sales of approximately €35 billion.

The Siemens Industry Solutions Division (Erlangen, Germany) is one of the world's leading solution and service providers for industrial and infrastructure facilities comprising the business activities of Siemens VAI Metals Technologies, Water Technologies and Industrial Technologies. Activities include engineering and installation, operation and service for the entire life cycle. A wide-ranging portfolio of environmental solutions helps industrial companies to use energy, water and equipment efficiently, reduce emissions and comply with environmental guidelines. With around 31,000 employees worldwide (September 30), Siemens Industry Solutions posted sales of €6.8 billion in fiscal year 2009.

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