Process Control of Crushing Circuits

Pekka Itävuo

Research output: Book/ReportDoctoral thesisCollection of Articles


Crushing is an essential high-volume processing stage in the production of aggregates, metals and cement. Crushed products form the basis of our modern infrastructure and therefore play a major role in the economic growth and welfare.

Despite its significant role in society, crushing is one of the few remaining industrial processes that is currently being operated using belief-based manual control without the possibility to quantify the consequences of performed control actions. This practice makes crushing processes vulnerable to process variation and exposes them to inefficient production and capacity underutilization. The aim of this thesis is to address this deficiency by bridging the gap between theoretically possible and realized crushing circuit performance, by means of automatic process control.

This thesis covers the entire model-based control system design procedure – from the formulation of control objectives and development of dynamic process model(s), through the development of control strategy, to the control system implementation and performance evaluation – for crushing circuits. Research has led to significant advances within crushing process measurement and control. Developed methods have been rigorously tested in various production scenarios and circuit flowsheets, using both dynamic simulations and full-scale experiments. Experiments revealed expected behavior with a significant increase in performance. The results have shown that the efficient operation of a crushing circuit requires addressing two control tasks: mass balance control and size reduction control. The objective of mass balance control is to guarantee 100 percent circuit utilization, whereas size reduction control ensures the desired degree of size reduction. The ideal degree of size reduction is determined empirically to maximize the value of the used KPI. The developed control strategy delivers near-maximum circuit performance.

This thesis represents a major leap forward in the area of process control of crushing circuits. It has opened entirely new possibilities by making it possible to quantify the instantaneous performance of crushing circuits and by introducing the ability to ensure consistent and efficient long-term production. These major breakthroughs can have a significant impact on how crushing plants will be operated in the future. Developed standard control practice can be expected to serve as a basis for future control system implementations of industrial crushing circuits.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTampere
ISBN (Electronic)978-952-03-2874-0
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (articles)

Publication series

NameTampere University Dissertations - Tampereen yliopiston väitöskirjat
ISSN (Print)2489-9860
ISSN (Electronic)2490-0028


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