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SimL8

A user friendly powerful simulation tool for the design and optimization of mineral and material processing unit operations and circuits

SimL8 is a software tool developed by Tata Research Development & Design Centre (TRDDC), a division of Tata Consultancy Services, Pune, for simulating mineral processing plant operations, in particular those involving grinding, classification and flotation. This tool is based on more than 15 years of TRDDC experience in modeling, simulation and optimization of mineral processing unit operations and circuits.
SimL8 has been developed using the state-of-the-art Simulator Development Environment (SDE), a proprietary technology of Tata Consultancy Services, consisting of several novel features :

  • SDE, a meta simulator used for building domain specific simulators

  • Supports a variety of continuous systems

  • A functional open architecture which permits easy add on of new components such as unit operations, models, solvers

  • Supports entire life cycle of a plant with multi-model capability

The models and simulation optimization strategies employed in SimL8 have been tested extensively in commercial plant environments, in particular the modern plants commissioned and operated by Hindustan Zinc Ltd. , India.

Features:

Salient features of simulator SimL8 include

  • State-of-the-art sophisticated process models for unit operations

  • Multiple models for different unit operations

  • Information for mineralogical data, sieve size, mill selection

  • Easily recognizable icons for commonly encountered unit operations

  • Powerful diagram editor for drawing circuits of any level of complexity

  • Automatic validation of circuit configuration

  • Subcircuit as well as complete circuit analysis

  • Monitoring of analysis status through dynamic graph

  • Strong data base support

  • Multiple options for output format such as editable graph, bar charts, editable report, display value and run info option

  • Interface with Microsoft Office : MS Word, MS Excel, Ms Access

SIML8

Figure 1: Salient features and capabilities of SimL8

Applications

SimL8 is a tool for plant engineers/consultants/researchers engaged in design and/or optimization of plant performance for a given objective function, specified in terms of one or more of the following enhancement criteria:

  • Productivity

  • Quality

  • Yield

  • Energy utilization

  • Efficiency of separation

  • Throughput

SimL8 performs diagnostics and quality assessment and provides plant improvement strategies with help of three modules of operations, namely data reconciliation, parameter estimation and simulation.

Data reconciliation:

The collection of data set from the plant is the first step in the analysis, evaluation, simulation, and optimization of the plant performance. But due to errors in measurements and inaccessibility of sampling locations, the data is often inadequate, incomplete and inconsistent for a complete and meaningful evaluation of plant performance. SimL8 utilizes a powerful 2-tier data reconciliation algorithm through which minor adjustments are made in the measured data in order to satisfy all the mass balance and consistency constraints.

Figure 2: SimL8 output of measured and reconciled plant data of size analysis in feed and discharge of a rod mill

The output of this mode of operation leads to:

  • Flow rate, assay and size distribution values of those streams where the measured data were not available

  • Consistent data set which can be used further in parameter estimation and simulation mode

  • Split factors at each node and for each component which can be employed as a diagnostic tool for evaluating the process efficiency of each unit. It can be used to identify the process units that are operating unsatisfactorily. This split factor information can also be utilized for circuit simulation purpose.

Parameter estimation:

The model parameters for each unit operations are estimated using either reconciled plant data or laboratory data. SimL8 provides an easy to use procedure to carry out the parameter estimation process.

Simulation:

In the simulation mode, SimL8 provides the user a predictive capability, that is the answer to ‘what if’ kind of questions. Once the model parameters are known, the SimL8 flowsheet becomes essentially a “virtual” plant on the screen, completely defined mathematically. The user can conduct plant trials involving changes in feed specifications, operating conditions, design parameters, modifications in circuit configuration, etc, with help of SimL8.

For example, a closed circuit grinding operation can be simulated and optimized with respect to one or more of the following objectives:

  • Maximize target product size and minimize slimes

  • Maximize throughput

  • Effect of circuit configuration

  • Cyclone cluster design

  • Effect of classifier separation efficiency

  • Effect of design and operating parameters

  • Effect of feed rate, size distribution and ore grindability

  • Estimation of work index and mill power

  • Selection of mill and its scale up

Figure 3 : A typical grinding circuit on SimL8

Fig 4: SimL8 output - Cumulative size distribution at various location of grinding circuit

Similarly the performance of a flotation circuit can be quantitatively assessed as well as optimized by conducting the following kinds of studies with SimL8:

  • Identification feed to flotation circuit, that is, mathematical representation in terms of a set of flotable species having flotation rate constant k1, k2, ….., kn

  • Effect of number of cells in a bank

  • Effect of residence time

  • Changes in the operating and design parameters like pulp density, aeration rate, reagent dosage through changes in flotation rate constant k.

  • Changes in circuit configuration

  • Particle size effect

Figure 5 : A typical flotation circuit on SimL8

Figure 6: SimL8 output – effect of number of rougher cells on lead circuit performance

A unique feature of SimL8 is the provision for conducting circuit design and simulation for plants having unit operations which are not at present amenable to rigorous mathematical modeling. For these units zeroth level models are provided for obtaining useful and reliable results.

System requirements:

HARDWARE

  • Pentium PC with minimum 32 MB RAM and CD-ROM drive

  • 30 MB minimum disk space required. Additional recommended disk space of 70MB for running the software.

  • Windows 95 with compatible mouse

  • SVGA color monitor

  • Printer

SOFTWARE

  • Windows 95 or later

  • MS-Word 97 or later

  • MS-EXCEL

  • MS-Access

  • Microsoft Access Driver Ver. 3.50.3602