IEEE Computer Volume 15 Number 12 -- NEW APPLICATIONS & RECENT RESEARCH
Original Publication Date: 1982-Dec-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-11
Software Patent Institute
Demetrios Michalopoulos: AUTHOR [+3]
NEW APPLICATIONS & RECENT RESEARCH * Steel corporation automates coke process * Boston bank provides push button bill paying * Mercantile exchange transaction-handling system
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NEW APPLICATIONS & RECENT RESEARCH
New Applications Editor: Prof. Demetrios Michalopoulos
California State University, Fullerton
Steel corporation automates coke process
Computers, designed for almost any function in today's technologically oriented world, have found their way into operations at Bethlehem Steel's Sparrows Point Plant as part of the firm's new coke oven battery. For the first time, the quenching of hot coke with water is being controlled by computer.
Other computer roles in the process are scheduling the pushing of hot coke from A battery's 80 ovens, operating coke conveyor belts, and monitoring the battery's gas flows, pressures, and temperatures.
In about a year, the company expects to have enough information about oven operations to allow the computer to control the temperature in each oven by regulating the gas underfiringsystem. Underfiring control by computer should help to achieve consistent coke quality and could save energy. Eventually, this automatic and continuous temperature measurement and control will result in optimization of combustion under a wide range of operating conditions. Temperature sensors that will allow the computer to control the underfiring system are already in place within the battery's oven walls along with other electronic devices needed to implement the system.
Besides handling functions that actually assist in the production process, the computers on A battery have more traditional functions like gathering and recording information. The computers in the monitoring station located high above the battery are the heart of the new operation, but they are also being used to report on the oven heating in the plant's eight other batteries.
For A battery, in addition to producing a more elaborate heating report, the computers are providing a production report every eight hours that contains detailed information on how much coke was produced and the amount of gas, water, and steam used to produce it. The supervisor and monitor operator who staff the station during each shift are also able to review eight-hour coal charging and coke pushing reports.
Notification alarms connected with the monitored equipment help keen operations moving smoothly. For example, if a coke conveyor belt stops unexpectedly or an oven temperature suddenly rises above standards, monitoring station personnel are immediately notified so that they can react before a severe disruption occurs.
Helping to guide the operation from the monitoring station are two computers, each with 32K words of memory and...