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CSIR-IMMT Bagged NI Engineering Impact Award (Runners-up) on 18th September 2014

CSIR-Institute of Minerals & Materials Technology, Bhubaneswar, bagged the NI Engineering Impact Award (Runners-up) under System Category during NI Days Conference 2014 at Bangalore on 18th September 2014.

A Novel Online Image Processing System for Finding Size Distribution of Pellets in a Pelletization Plant using LabVIEW.

To meet the increasing demand of steel and due to the scarcity of high grade lumpy iron ore, the steel plant industry in India have started adopting pelletization process to extract iron. Pelletization is a growing field for Indian steel making industries. Preparation of proper sized pellets increases the permeability of the blast furnace. Preparation of iron ore fines/concentrates, as feed to blast furnace, involves production of spherical pellets of typically 8mm -18mm diameter is called pelletization. The process of pelletization helps in converting iron ore fines into “Uniform Size Iron Ore Pellets” that can be fed in the blast furnaces or in the DRI kiln. The productivity of a pelletization plant depends on a process which generates equal sized spherical pellets with a proper strength. Any change in the process or the feed material can lead to decrease in productivity. The manual sieving methods used for sizing analysis of the pellets are too time consuming and also do not provide enough data for further analysis. Presently, in many pelletization plants in India the size monitoring and control is being carried out by human supervision. Therefore, the chance of uneven size distribution is predominant due to human error and hence a machine monitoring system is a demand for maintaining the quality. Therefore, there was a need for the development of an automatic system which can continuously monitor the size of the green pellets when it is formed and provide the size distribution trend.

This work deals with the design and development of an instrument for online monitoring of the size distribution of pellets while it is being formed in the pelletization plant using a vision system. The system consists of an industrial camera and an image processing system which processes the image intelligently to find the size of individual pellets frame by frame and provide a size distribution trend. Other accessories like illumination system, vibration resistant enclosure, and camera protection systems are also included to make the system industry ready. The system is capable of capturing the image of pellets both while falling from disc and moving on the conveyer belt. The image is stored, processed and the size distribution trend is plotted on the screen. In addition to this, the size distribution trend is also transmitted to a remote computer through Ethernet. The system is tested both at laboratory and pelletization plants. The performance of the system was quite satisfactory. This equipment is very much useful for pelletization plant in mineral processing industry. A patent is filed in India in this respect and awaiting granting.