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DOLOMITE FRANCHI Spa

DOLOMITE FRANCHI, a member of the RHI Group, has been making dolomite refractory products for the iron and steel industry since 1919. Thanks to nearly a century of experience, the company can guarantee products of a consistently high standard of quality using excellent raw material obtained from its own quarry. Dolomite refractory products are used almost solely by steel mills. Thanks to their low impurity contents, the bricks are mainly used in ladles and AOD converters, whereas blocks are used as complementary materials and for building and repairing the hearths of electric-arc furnaces.
The Dolomite Franchi project called for STAIN’s experience in industrial automation and process supervision. STAIN promptly identified the need to revamp the sintering furnace weighing and loading system, and proposed a solution that was very successful. It covered both plant automation and data flow management as a strategic component in view of: 
  • optimising efficiency thanks to the real-time availability of accurate and reliable data;
  • improving product and process quality thanks to tracking and analysis of all events, statuses and process parameters.
Jointly with Dolomite Franchi engineers we identified the targets, assessed possible alternatives, compared our experiences and developed automation of the sintering furnace metering and charging system, using distributed-logic PLC architecture as well as a production and process data supervision, acquisition, filing and analysis system, since having accurate real-time and automatically acquired information increases overall plant efficiency.

A SIEMENS PLC uses an inverter to control and automate the systems for weighing and metering the stone to be loaded in the bucket, which is then conveyed to the sintering furnace by a remote-controlled car.
With the distributed supervision system it is possible to establish charging recipes for the specific article to produce, and to monitor and file in a database the numerous process parameters (temperatures, capacities, pressures) by article, date/shift and operator, allowing remote furnace control as well as analysis and continuous optimisation of the finished product parameters and quality.
 
We wish to thank all those who took part in the Dolomite Franchi project for their efforts and constructive collaboration, which was fundamental in achieving the results, which can be summarized as follows: 
  • Increased plant efficiency and availability of production and process data that are integrated, shared, immediately available and accurate.
  • Tracking of operations and process data (per batch).
  • Simplified field data analysis and comparison for continuous process optimisation.
  • Enhanced product quality thanks to constant monitoring of operations.
  • Minimization of downtimes thanks to a preventive MTZ plan updated with field data.
  • Integrated and shared production, process and quality data.
  • Optimization of energy used and raw material consumption.
  • More efficient plant utilisation with reduced maintenance times and costs. 

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