Mass balance control of crushing circuits
Journal article, 2019

This paper describes a novel circuit-wide control scheme that addresses the challenging problem of mass balance control of crushing circuits. The control objective is to ensure 100% utilization at the circuit bottleneck and hence push the realized performance towards the theoretical maximum. The present control problem is challenging due to long transport delays, complex circuit layout, under-actuated process, several uncontrolled disturbance flows, varying number of active equipment, varying downstream demand, and changing bottleneck location. The proposed mass balance control scheme involves feeding the circuit according to actual demand and realized circuit throughput, whilst maintaining the amount of material accumulated into the circuit and ensuring the physical integrity of the circuit. Therefore, the circuit feeding is based on the realized processing capacity, rather than an individual bin level or an operator decision. To ensure the efficient use of available surge capacity, a limiting control structure is proposed to simultaneously realize the in-circuit multi-objective limit violation control and loose bin level control strategy. The proposed scheme offers a simple solution for the otherwise complex control problem, which can be easily and efficiently implemented using classic control methods. The paper details an entire design procedure, from the fundamental theory, through dynamic modeling and controller tuning, to the complete circuit control system design and implementation. The proposed scheme is evaluated under extensive full-scale and simulated experiments at various production scenarios and equipment combinations. The rigorous control experiments revealed that the proposed scheme delivered the desired behavior in every possible scenario. This enables the circuit to reach its true potential.

Dynamic modeling

Sensor fusion

Mass balance control

Limiting control



Pekka Itävuo

University of Tampere

Erik Hulthén

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Product Development

Moshen Yahyaei

University of Queensland

Matti Vilkko

University of Tampere

Minerals Engineering

0892-6875 (ISSN)

Vol. 135 37-47

Subject Categories


Control Engineering

Other Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering



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