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Dynamic modeling and simulation of cone crushing circuits

Pekka Itvuo
, Matti Vilkko
, Antti Jaatinen
, Keijo Viilo
Department of Automation Science and Engineering, Tampere University of Technology, P.O. Box 692, FIN-33101 Tampere, Finland
Minerals Processing Systems, Metso Automation, P.O. Box 237, FIN-33101 Tampere, Finland
Crushing and Screening Equipment, Metso Minerals, P.O. Box 306, FIN-33101 Tampere, Finland
a r t i c l e i n f o
Article history:
Available online xxxx
Process control
a b s t r a c t
As a common practice, steady-state models are used for simulation and process dimensioning of crushing
circuits. However, intended circuit performance is rarely achieved due to constantly uctuating feed-
material size and characteristics. This gap between theoretical and realized performance has the potential
for process control.
Little scientic attention has been paid to the analytic control system design of crushing circuits. The
current lack of suitable dynamic process models for the task is direct evidence of this. Therefore, it is not
surprising that currently existing control applications are biased towards heuristic, model-free, non-ana-
lytic approaches.
This paper presents an effective way to produce dynamic process models from established steady-state
models. The resulting simulator makes it possible to develop control methods that fully utilize the capac-
ity potential of crushers and facilitates efforts for energy-efcient operation of crushing circuits.
2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
Crushing plays an important role in the aggregates and mining
industries by reducing the particle size of granular solids, such as
rocks and ores. Before the desired product size is reached, the feed
material undergoes 24 crushing stages that form a circuit.
Each crushing circuit consists of a unique combination of unit
operations for crushing, screening, conveying, feeding, and storing.
Contrary to the steady-state modeling that primarily focuses on
crushing and screening, every unit operation in the circuit contrib-
utes to the dynamic presentation.
Dynamic modeling of crushing circuits for analytic control sys-
tem design has not received much attention in scientic literature.
Traditionally, interest has been limited to the narrow range of min-
ing applications to control crusher load by manipulating the feed
rate. Controlling crusher product size and shape by using manipu-
lated variables (that is, the closed side setting (CSS) or eccentric
speed (ES)), has not been addressed from the dynamic modeling
perspective. However, crushing control has major possibilities for
efciency and protability.
The purpose of this paper is to: provide models for analytic con-
trol system design of cone crushing circuits, and serve as a starting
point for future dynamic modeling endeavors.
Section 2 gives a state-of-the-art review about dynamic
modeling of crushing circuit unit operations. Section 3 presents a
thorough description of dynamic process models for control sys-
tem design. Section 4 uses the presented models to give a dynamic
simulation example.
2. State-of-the-art review
This section presents a short review about dynamic modeling of
crushing circuit unit operations. Borison and Syding (1976) empir-
ically concluded that material ow dynamics in feeders and crush-
ers can be approximated using rst-order lag transfer functions.
Whiten (1984) later discussed dynamic expansion of static models
by adding small time delays to crusher and screen outputs.
Moreover, he proposed that conveyors can be modeled as simple
time delays, and ore bins, surprisingly, as a LIFO-queue with
variable time delay.
Herbst and Oblad (1985) presented the rst dynamic simulation
model specically made for control system design that incorpo-
rated disturbances such as feed-material size, rate, and properties.
Herbst and Oblad linked feed-hopper material level with crusher
ow rate, power, and product size distribution, using a static rela-
tionship. Moreover, they approximated that a step change in feed
rate to the hopper causes rst-order lag to the hopper level.
Sbarbaro et al. (2005) empirically modeled feeder-conveyor
combinations with rst-order with time delay (FOTD) transfer
functions. The model structure is in line with Borison and Syding
(1976). In another paper, Sbarbaro (2005) discussed feed-hopper
material balance and the relationship between material mass and
volume. Moreover, he approximated the dynamics between
0892-6875/$ - see front matter 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Corresponding author. Tel.: +358 50 3444401.

E-mail address: pekka.itavuo@tut. (P. Itvuo).
Minerals Engineering xxx (2012) xxxxxx
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feed-material mass ow and crusher power with rst-order lag
transfer function. He also proposes a modeling procedure for vari-
able-speed conveyors.
Most recently, Johansson (2009) used distributed parameter
models to give a very precise dynamic presentation of the cone
crusher. However, this model structure would suit better for nite
element method (FEM) simulations than for control system design.
Moreover, there are some simulation software packages (e.g.,
SysCAD, IDEAS and ProSim) that have dynamic properties, but
the structure of the dynamics is not known to the authors.
The common missing element in all the previous work is that
none of the presented models includes dynamics of crusher actua-
tors (CSS and ES). This is a serious error from the control system
design point of view. Moreover, several important disturbance
types (such as moisture) are not included in the models, even
though disturbance rejection is one of most important tasks for
the control systems.
3. Modeling
This section presents the general principles for dynamic model-
ing of cone crushing circuit unit operations. A detailed description
of dynamic models for the cone crusher, screen, conveyor, and fee-
der is given.
3.1. Modeling approach
Modeling in this work is mostly carried out using Hammerstein
and Wiener-type systems that combine static nonlinearities with
linear dynamics. The advantage of such a hybrid structure is that
modeling can be separated into individual tasks. This makes it par-
ticularly suitable for situations where the static process behavior is
known in advance. In other words, it allows for using static perfor-
mance models made for other purposes (Janczak, 2005). The struc-
ture of a Hammerstein and a Wiener system is given in Fig. 1.
3.1.1. Framework for control system design
The modeling for control system design is particularly inter-
ested in two specic relationships: the input/output relationship
and the disturbance/output relationship. These two relationships
form a framework and modeling domain for the control system de-
sign. This approach is illustrated in Fig. 2. From the process control
point of view, the variable u refers to control inputs, the variable y
refers to process outputs and the variable w refers to disturbance
inputs (that is, manipulated variables (MVs), controlled variables
(CVs), and disturbance variables (DVs), respectively). In general,
the control system will use MVs in order to achieve desired CV val-
ues in the presence of measured and unmeasured DVs. In this
sense, the material fed to the crushing process is, in fact, a distur-
bance. Consequently, the process will never be in a steady state
without a control system.
3.1.2. Dynamic model types
In this work, the linear dynamics are primarily modeled using
rst-order transfer functions given by the following equations:
Time delay:
s e
; 1
; 2
First-order lag:
Ts 1
; 3
First-order with time delay (FOTD):
Ts 1
; 4
Integrating rst-order with time delay (FOTDI):
sTs 1
; 5
where s is the Laplace operator, K is the steady-state gain, s is the
apparent time delay, and T is the apparent time constant. The aver-
age residence time is given by T
= s + T (strm and Hgglund,
2006). The parameter K in this work is mostly equal to unity (where
not mentioned) because K is actually a linearized counterpart of the
static nonlinearity, and thus already modeled in the corresponding
steady-state model.
3.2. Cone crusher
The cone crusher has two manipulated variables (MVs) that can
be arbitrarily changed during operation: closed side setting (CSS)
and eccentric speed (ES). The CSS is dened as the shortest distance
between crushing liners. Other parameters affecting crusher oper-
ation are the stroke length and the crushing cavity geometry. Both
of these can be changed, but not while operating, and are thus con-
stants in this work. Moreover, the cone crusher is subject to a num-
ber of DVs (Evertsson, 2000; Ruuskanen, 2006; Bearman and
Briggs, 1998). These variables are listed in Fig. 3. In addition, the
process equipment experiences time-variant behavior due to wear
of crushing liners (Bearman and Briggs, 1998), which is not consid-
ered in this work.
A generic simulation model for a control system design of a
cone crusher is presented in Fig. 3. The model consists of eight indi-
vidual submodels for actuators, material and feed-hopper ows,
crusher dynamics, and crusher performance models divided to
product size, capacity, and power models. Flow and performance
models are static and nonlinear, directly from Ruuskanen (2006).
The other submodels are dynamic and mostly developed within
this work. A detailed description of the submodels is presented
3.2.1. Actuator models
Actuator models are special because the model is actually a con-
trol loop similar to Fig. 2. The control input to the system is there-
fore a setpoint for the corresponding control loop.
(a) (b)
Fig. 1. A Hammerstein system (a) and a Wiener system (b).
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Use of a frequency converter is the obvious way to control
crusher ES. In this case, the control loop dynamics are usually so
fast that there is no actual need to take them into account in the
input/output presentation. The important thing about frequency
converters is that they come with parameterizable ramps for accel-
eration and deceleration. Consequently, the ES follows those ramps
very closely. Thus, the input/output relationship becomes an inte-
grator, as in Eq. (2), with K equal to the acceleration/deceleration
rate of frequency converter. The actual input to the system is either
1 or 1 in a transient situation, or zero in a steady state. Note that
this model is nonlinear.
The cone crusher CSS is controlled by means of a hydraulic pis-
ton. The actual process model depends on the hydraulic system
conguration. Known congurations are at least a two-way, load-
compensated proportional valve, a two-way pump, and a one-
way pump with an on/off valve. The dynamic model for the
hydraulic piston with proportional valve is given by Eq. (5) (Dorf
and Bishop, 2001), where the apparent time constant T and time
delay s usually range between 50 and 200 ms. Due to fast dynam-
ics, by assuming frictionless conditions, a transfer function can be
approximated with an integrator, as in Eq. (2). The parameter K is
the ratio between the hydraulic valve input and the rate of CSS
change in both cases. The nal closed-loop transfer function can
be then calculated using the following equation:
1 GC
; 6
where G and C are the process and controller transfer functions,
3.2.2. Flow model
In this work, a ow model is used to provide crusher- and cav-
ity-specic parameters for performance model inputs. Flow-model
parameters, as described in Ruuskanen (2006), can be calculated as
a function of CSS and ES for the whole operating range (Evertsson,
2000), and then tted with ANFIS neuro-fuzzy networks (Jang,
1993). This approach is computationally efcient, as all calcula-
tion-intensive stages can be performed beforehand. Fig. 4 presents
examples of the tted ow-model parameters for the Metso
GP300M, a tertiary cone crusher with 32-mm stroke. Examples
are (starting from left) effective stroke length at the outlet (eSTR1),
number of crushing zones (CZs), closed-side volume of the last
Inputs (u) Outputs (y)
Disturbances (w)
Error (e) Setpoint (y
Modeling domain:
Fig. 2. Generic model structure for control system design.
Fig. 3. Dynamic model of a cone crusher.
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crushing zone (Vc1). Other ow-model parameters are volume ra-
tio of rst and last crushing zone, average effective stroke length in
the cavity, stroke length at the outlet and cavity angle.
3.2.3. Feed hopper model
The mass balance in the feed hopper is given by the following
; 7
where m is the mass of material accumulated in the feed hopper,
and Q
and Q
are the mass ows of material entering and exiting
the feed hopper. The mass owQ
is controlled by the crusher. The
relationship between material mass and volume can be calculated
with m = Vq, where V is the material volume and q is the material
bulk density. The formula for bulk density estimation is described
in Ruuskanen (2006) and in Evertsson (2000). It is also possible to
calculate the material level h in the feed hopper, which is a nonlin-
ear function of V and depends on crusher and feed-hopper geometry
(Sbarbaro, 2005). The material ow in the feed hopper is assumed
to be non-mixing and follows a plug ow pattern. The justication
is based on material-ow patterns in circular metal silos with
conical outlets; according to Rotter, the following criteria must be
met for the plug ow pattern: adequately steep slope, large enough
outlet opening, and low wall friction (Rotter, 2001). The rst two
are obviously met simply because of the physical design. Moreover,
the material used in a feed hopper is supposed to promote the
smooth material ow, which supports the reasoning.
3.2.4. Crusher-dynamics model
The crusher-dynamics model manipulates the input parameters
of crusher performance models in a way that resembles the dy-
namic effect of material ow to the cone crusher model outputs.
This parameter manipulation is performed separately for each in-
put/output combination by using the transfer functions given in
Table 1. The average material residence time inside the choke
fed crushing chamber T
can be calculated using the following

60; 8
where n
is the total number of crushing zones in the cavity, and x
is the crusher eccentric speed (rpm). The parameter values in Table
1 are based on the assumption that the crusher is chokefed and
half of the crushing zones are effective. The number of effective
crushing zones affects the crusher output transients during the
MV change. It is also possible to analytically solve the amount of
effective crushing zones, as in Evertsson (2000) and treat the
parameters accordingly. This research furthermore assumes that
the lowest crushing zone (choke zone) controls the crusher
x 10
Fig. 4. Examples of ANFIS tted ow model parameters for Metso GP300M tertiary cone crusher.
Table 1
Equation numbers (#) and corresponding parameter values for dynamic manipulation
of performance models input parameters.
Input Capacity Power Product size
DV Eq. (1); s = T
Eq. (4); T,s = 0.5T
Eq. (1); s = T
MV Eq. (3); T = 0.5T
Eq. (3); T = 0.5T
Eq. (3); T = 0.5T
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capacity. Thus, all material above the choke zone exhibits plug ow
behavior under chokefed conditions (Evertsson, 2000). If the choke
zone is higher in the cavity, the plug ow behavior only occurs
above the choke zone. Below that, and in a non-choke fed situation,
the smaller particles are able to move also during compressions and
have therefore shorter residence time than the larger ones. As a re-
sult, only the particles larger than CSS are subject to breakage and
obtaining the accurate residence time distribution becomes dif-
cult. In this work, we use a rough estimate for non-choke fed case
and substitute the transfer functions in the rst row of Table 1 with
Eq. (3), where T = 0.5T
. In a general case, using Eq. (4), where s is
the dead-time above choke zone and T is the average residence time
in the remaining crushing zones, should provide satisfactory results.
3.2.5. Performance models
Performance models in this work are log-transformed linear
regression models that calculate the interaction between crusher
and feed material. Models are of form y = e
, where X is a non-
linear function of MVs, DVs and ow-model outputs, and b is the
vector of tted coefcients. There is a separate performance model
for product size distribution, crusher capacity, and crusher power
calculation. Ruuskanen (2006) goes into greater detail on
descriptions, model coefcients, and validation results for crusher
performance models and their precise usage in conjunction with
ow-model calculation.
3.3. Screen
This subsection presents a dynamic screen model. Modeling is
carried out using Hammerstein-type system, i.e., static nonlinear-
ity is followed by linear dynamics.
3.3.1. Steady-state model
The steady-state part is modeled using a modication of a clas-
sic VSMA screen-sizing formula used in a Metso Bruno owsheet
simulator (Viilo, 2011). The accuracy of the Bruno-model has been
observed to be similar or slightly better than, e.g., a classic Karra-
The factor for screening efciency C
is rst calculated using the
following equation:


; 9
where Q
is the mass ow of undersize particles in the feed, A
is the
effective screening area, and Q
is the basic screen capacity. The cor-
relation factors C
1. . .4
are the oversize, half-size, deck location, and
wet-screening factors. C
5. . .8
are the material density, effective
screen-surface open area, screen-opening shape, and the moisture
factors. Corresponding correlation factor values are available in Vii-
lo (2011). The resulting factor C
is then scaled into value J, which
represents the efciency of undersize recovery (that is, the amount
of passed undersize material divided by the amount of undersize
material in the feed). By substituting the parameter J into the
following equation:
a x
a w

x dx; 10
ln 1

; I 1 J; 11
x is the particle size, a is the screen aperture, w is the screen wire
diameter, and d
is the particle-size distribution density function
of undersize particles, the value of an unknown parameter x
be iterated in a way that the amount of impurity in Eq. (10) matches
with the calculated screening efciency J. The cumulative particle-
size distribution of impurity transported to the oversize stream
can be nally constructed by substituting the upper limit of the
integral in Eq. (10) with particle sizes 0. . .a, and by dividing the
resulting vector with I.
The nal retained Q
and passed Q
material-mass ows can be
easily calculated from the following equations:
J; 12
J; 13
where Q is the feed-material mass ow. The following screen decks
can be calculated in a similar manner.
3.3.2. Dynamic expansion
The resulting steady-state model is then expanded into a dy-
namic Hammerstein system with Eq. (1) for the material retained
from the screen decks, and with Eq. (3) for the undersize material
of the lowest deck. This is done by assuming non-mixing plug ow
behavior and identical material-transport velocity for each deck.
The apparent time delay s is given by the ratio of screen length l
and material-transport velocity v. This can either be determined
empirically or analytically calculated (e.g., Soldinger, 2002). For
the stream of undersize particles, a time constant T relative to
the average residence time 0.5s is used.
3.4. Conveyor and feeder
A belt conveyor with constant speed can be modeled as a pure
delay with Eq. (1) (Whiten, 1984). The apparent time delay s can be
determined as a ratio between conveyor length l and speed v. A
model for a conveyor with variable speed drive is a bit more com-
plex. The transfer function has to be partitioned into a series of
FIFO buffers with respect to the conveyor length in order to main-
tain the material balance during transients (Sbarbaro, 2005). In this
case, the dynamics of transients should also be considered.
Vibrating feeders can be modeled as a rst-order lag-transfer
function given by Eq. (3) (Sbarbaro et al., 2005; Borison and Syding,
1976). The value of the apparent time constant T is usually empir-
ically determined.
4. Simulation
This section presents a dynamic simulation example of the Met-
so LT300GPB tertiary mobile cone crushing plant. The simulated
plant layout is given in Fig. 5. The plant consists of a Metso Nord-
berg GP300 tertiary cone crusher (medium chamber, 32-mm
stroke length, 330-rpm ES and 16-mm CSS), a Metso B2100T
two-deck screen (length 6.25 m, width 1.6 m, material speed
Fig. 5. Metso LT300GPB mobile cone crushing plant.
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0.3 m/s, screen decks: #20-mm, #9-mm) and Conveyors 14.
Conveyors are run at a constant speed of 1.5 m/s, and are 17 m,
9 m, 8 m, and 8 m in length, respectively. Feed material is granite:
feed size 0/60, LA-value 18.5, density 2.7, moisture 0.5%, and ak-
iness index 22. The material is fed to Conveyor 1 using a feeder
with a constant rate of 395 t/h and 3 s time constant. Two step
changes are performed during the simulation. Feed moisture
changes to 3% at 300 s and CSS setpoint changes to 19 mm at 450 s.
The simulation results are presented in Fig. 6. It takes approxi-
mately six full circulations (250 s) until the process stabilizes dur-
ing start-up. There will be a notable increase to this number with
increased plant complexity. The moisture disturbance causes
rather intense changes at different parts of the process due to de-
creases in crusher throughput and product size. Moreover, the
most signicant plant dynamics appear to be the result of the
material transport in the conveyors, screen, and feed hopper;
material only takes 1.5 s to pass the crusher. The material transport
times in unit operations are summarized in Table 2. According to
the simulation, CSS seems powerful and rapid enough to control
material size. The observation of screen separation efciency re-
veals the strong dependency between feed rate and efciency.
5. Conclusions
This paper has presented dynamic simulation models and
modeling techniques for control system design of cone crushing
circuits. It also presented the generic method for dynamic expan-
sion of existing steady-state models.
The previous work has shown that current operating modes are
not suitable for particle-size distribution control of crushing cir-
cuits, and therefore unable to provide optimal operation with re-
spect to time (Itvuo et al., 2011). With help from the dynamic
simulation model, it is possible to develop control methods that
fully utilize the crushers capacity potential. Moreover, it is possi-
ble to develop control schemes that provide optimal energy ef-
ciency of crushing circuits.
This work was funded by the Finnish Funding Agency for
Technology and Innovation (Tekes). Metso Minerals (Tampere)
provided the necessary data and facilities for the process
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0 100 200 300 400 500 600
Material flow rate
0 100 200 300 400 500 600
Mean particle size
0 100 200 300 400 500 600
Screen performance
0 100 200 300 400 500 600
Feed hopper material volume
time [s]
Conveyor 1
Conveyor 2
Crusher product
Screen product 8/16
Deck 1 efficiency
Deck 2 efficiency
Fig. 6. Simulation results for Metso LT300GPB.
Table 2
Apparent dead times for LT300GPB unit operations.
Crusher Feed hopper Screen Conveyors 14
Dead time (s) 1.5 030 20.8 11.3, 6, 5.3, 5.3
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