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How Park Cam achieved zero refractory wear over 12 months

Park Cam recently made reality out of a glass industry dream. Working with PaneraTech to manage their furnace digitally, they were able to achieve zero refractory wear over 12 months while pulling at full capacity. This puts Park Cam one step closer to having the ideal furnace.

Park Cam is a container glass company based in Türkiye with a production capacity of 365,000 tons per year. The furnace that achieved this milestone, Furnace 20, is located at Park Cam’s Bozuyuk glass packaging production facility.

In 2018, Park Cam began a multi-year furnace monitoring programme with PaneraTech to monitor the entire furnace with SmartMelter® radar technology. The plant team collected data for SmartMelter® inspections at least twice per year. These results were reviewed in a digital furnace model and discussed with the PaneraTech team. In its predictions, PaneraTech benefited from over half a million refractory measurements they had performed during this time. This allowed PaneraTech to make data-driven predictions when discussing the results with Park Cam.

Park Cam used the data from the SmartMelter® inspections to increase cooling wind at critical blocks and watch the area closely to ensure safe operation. The radar scans created a map that pinpointed the thinnest refractory areas. Once the critical areas were identified, the plant applied targeted wind cooling based on these reports. They also collected temperature data on a regular basis on these critical blocks. The plant continued to make adjustments based on recurring six-month scans. They were able to take the AZS to the limit of failure and ultimately past that limit to a controlled failure of the block which they were prepared for.

Total refractory wear in the last 12 months is almost none when thickness is below 20mm.

By making data the heart of their decision-making process, Park Cam was able to have confidence in their actions. They were able to carefully manage risk while making financially rewarding decisions about their furnace. All glass manufacturers would like to optimize the life of their furnace; however, in the months that followed, Park Cam successfully took this goal to a new level.

The industry typically overcoats when refractory thickness is 25mm (1 inch). However, Park Cam was able to operate without overcoating an additional two years after reaching 25mm. Once the thickness reached 18mm, the targeted cooling allowed the plant to operate 12 months with no additional wear on these blocks. Park Cam is the first glass manufacturer in the industry with a proven record of operating 12 months with virtually zero refractory wear at this stage. After this 12-month period, they decided to overcoat the refractory. This process extended the life of the furnace two years beyond typical industry practices.

As the glass industry moves toward data-driven decision-making, advanced technology like radar-based sensors and digital tools to monitor and manage the furnace campaign are essential. PaneraTech has expanded their services to meet this need. To help more glass manufacturers optimise their furnace campaigns, PaneraTech now offers a full Digital Furnace Monitoring (DFM) program.

Over the last five years, after collecting more than 1 million points of refractory wear data in over 300 plants, PaneraTech is now able to put data at the centre of major decision-making for glass furnaces through the DFM program. XSight™ software acts as the command centre for the programme, allowing managers to monitor their entire furnace portfolio in one dashboard. Furnaces in the DFM program are digitally transformed so that furnace activities and records from radar scans, audits, temperature checks, and visual inspections can easily be viewed at the plant or corporate level.

Data Collection on Park Cam Furnace 20.

SmartAudit® is a key component of the DFM programme. SmartAudit® is a traditional furnace audit that includes an 18-point radar spot check at eight data points on the metal line and ten points on high-risk areas to establish a health Index. Manufacturers can evaluate this radar sampling with KPIs such as pulled ton/ sqm to identify outlier furnaces early and take action before small issues become larger problems. A future addition to SmartAudit® will be Digital Endoscopy, a service that upgrades traditional endoscopy with laser technology to measure the actual thickness of the super structure.

Critical areas, such as the blocks that were carefully monitored by Park Cam, can now be monitored in real time with Polaris™ permanent IoT sensors. Polaris™ sensors can be installed anytime during the furnace campaign to monitor high- wear areas closely. Polaris™ works especially well with electric or hybrid furnaces, as the sensors can monitor continuously without any interference with electrodes and with no disruption in production.

However, the DFM program is more than a collection of new tools. The data that is collected from this technology is used to create a refractory health index in the AI platform that was developed based on data from monitoring hundreds of furnaces. This index helps managers view data in the right context and prioritise maintenance actions.

When a furnace is enrolled, PaneraTech creates a schedule of services for each year of the anticipated campaign life based on experience with hundreds of furnaces. Additional specific condition- based monitoring on a narrower scope can be defined as necessary throughout the campaign life. PaneraTech also works with the plant team to develop a routine monitoring plan to complement this schedule, which can include furnace walks that are scheduled and confirmed in XSight™ software.

Park Cam’s early interest in data-driven decision-making and their approach to refractory monitoring helped to establish a foundation for the program that PaneraTech offers today. The partnership between these two companies proved that traditional ideas about furnace campaigns can be reimagined with advanced technology.