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Mass balance control of crushing circuits

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-47
Number of pages11
JournalMinerals Engineering
Publication statusPublished - May 2019
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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.


  • Crushing, Dynamic modeling, Limiting control, Mass balance control, Sensor fusion

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland