Hatch has developed a novel tapblock fiber-optic temperature-measurement system to provide accurate readings from previously inaccessible locations inside the furnace. This system has been successfully installed on the hot-face of copper coolers and metal/matte tapblocks.
Optical gratings on the fiber measure temperature on the hot-face and in the tapping channel. These measurements are fed into software Hatch has developed specifically for this application. The software displays the temperatures as a heat map of the cooler and includes capability for alarming.
When compared to current thermocouple technology, the Tapblock Fiber-Optic Temperature System is a significant advance in tapblock monitoring. The ability to obtain high spatial coverage temperature measurements on the hot-face was not previously achievable. This important advancement allows the operator to gain continuous feedback on refractory wear/condition, as increasing temperatures are indicative of refractory degradation.
Knowing the extent of refractory wear:
- Enables condition-based maintenance
- Decreases the risk of uncontrolled taps and steam explosions
Features of the system include:
- A substantial increase in spatial resolution (on the order of 100 temperature readings per tapblock)
- Superior sensitivity and accuracy
- Immunity to electrical interference near an arc furnace
- Minimal intrusion into the tapblock
The Tapblock Fiber-Optic Temperature System is currently in use South Africa and Australia on several furnaces.