Control strategy for a multiple hearth furnace in kaolin production

Sirkka Liisa Jämsä-Jounela, Jose Valentin Gomez Fuentes, Jonathan Hearle, David Moseley, Alexander Smirnov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In the face of strong competition, the kaolin calcination industry is aiming at higher profitability through increased productivity and reduction of costs. Specifically, the industry is facing market demands to maintain product quality with the depletion of high-quality ore. Therefore, considerable research is being conducted to enhance existing processes and their operation and control. In this paper, the concept of a mineralogy-driven control strategy for multiple hearth furnaces for kaolin production is presented and discussed. The aim of the advanced control concept is to increase capacity and to reduce energy consumption while maintaining the desired product quality. The control is based on two main soft sensors: the spinel phase reaction rate indicator for energy use reduction and the mullite content indicator for capacity improvement. In this simulation study, the control strategy is tested and compared with an industrial controller based on a proportional–integral scheme as a benchmark. The results show that the capacity of the process is considerably improved and energy use is remarkably reduced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-27
Number of pages10
JournalControl Engineering Practice
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Advanced control
  • Calcination
  • Control performance
  • Energy consumption
  • Multiple hearth furnace
  • Quality
  • Soft sensor


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