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Vol. 15, pp. 137 148 Pergamon Press Ltd. 1979.

Printed in Great Britain International Federation of AutomaticControl


Electric Arc Furnace Modelling and Control*

S. A. BILLINGS, F. M. BOLAND and H. NICHOLSON+ Electric arc.f'urmwe control may be improved considerably using a dmtl impedance/ current control strategy, a derivative regulator, a temperature weighting adaptive controller and estimates of the molten steel temperature and carbon content provided by an extended Kalman filter.
Key Word Index
estimation. Adaptive control; identification; industrial control; K a l m a n filters; modelling; state

Abstract Problems associated with the production of special steels during the melting and refining stages in the electric arc furnace are discussed. Three-phase models of an arc impedance and arc current controlled furnace are developed by combining the results of an identification study with analytically derived models. Current and impedance control strategies are compared and a dual impedance/current controlled regulator is proposed. Adaptive control of the electrode regulator is discussed and a temperature weighting adaptive controller is designed to compensate for changes in the arc characteristics over the period of a melt. The problems presented to the development of a mathematical model of the refining process, by the complex metallurgical nature of the process, are considered and the need for a compromise between implied accuracy and complexity of the model is discussed. A model of the process containing both deterministic and stochastic components is presented and techniques for evaluating the statistics of both the process and observation noise vectors are considered. The implementation of the extended Kalman filter for state estimation is considered and a technique for controlling filter divergence is presented. The results of simulation studies indicate that estimates of the states can be obtained to the accuracy required for control of the industrial process.
1. I N T R O D U C T I O N

ing of (i) scrap mix selection and load scheduling, (ii) control during the melting cycle, and (iii) refining control. A schematic diagram of the production cycle is illustrated in Fig. 1.

Next order

Leos~r costmix ~



SINCE its invention by Heroult in 1905 the electric arc furnace has become an increasingly important steelmaking process. The availability of cheap scrap steel and the increased demand for high quality steel products have contributed to the rapid expansion of electric steelmaking throughout the world. The fundamental problem in the electric arc furnace is the production of a specified steel at the lowest possible cost. Many factors contribute to this cost and the operation of the furnace can best be analysed by segmenting the production cycle into three stages consist*Received March 27 1978; revised August 28 1978; revised October 15 1978. The original version of this paper was presented at the 5th I F A C / I F I P Conference on Digital Computer Applications to Process Control which was held in The Hague, Netherlands during June 1977. The published Proceedings of this IFAC Meeting may be ordered from: The North Holland Publishing Co., P.O.B. 103, Amsterdam West, Netherlands. This paper was recommended for publication in revised form by associate editor A. Longmuir. t T h e authors are with the Department of Control Engineering, University of Sheffield, Mappin Street, Sheffield SI 3JD. 137



ELectricpower furnaceadditions

Order specifications
FIG. 1. The composite steelmaking process in the electric arc furnace.

Control of the scrap charge to achieve a leastcost-mix has been studied extensively within the industry and solutions are available which make use of linear programming techniques. These are, however, limited in application by the absence of suitable process models relating the yield at meltout to the customer specification. Since both the problems of scrap mix selection and load scheduling for maximum demand control have been the subject of many previous studies they will not be discussed here. The present research has been directed towards increasing the el'-


S.A. BII.I~IN(is, f:. M. I~(.~I~AN[)and H. NI(II()I.SON of a refractol'y lined shell with serxlcc dool> al~d a tapping Launder. Three electrodes pass !i~rough holes in the roof ,ahich can be s,aung aside in a horizontal plane to permit scrap charging from an overhead basket. Electrical powe~ > supplied to the furnace electrodes through busbars and water-cooled flexible cables from Ih furnace transformer. Heat is transferred to the scrap steel from electric arcs drawn between the tips of the electrodes and the metallic charge. A schematic diagram of an arc impedance controlled furnace is illustrated in Fig. 2. The wide range of control requirements l\)r electric arc furnaces can be summarised as maximum heat utilization of the electrical energy input consistent with production constraints. The constraints arise from the restrictions imposed by the electrical supply authorities and the large economic incentives to mmimise refractory and electrode erosion. Throughout the period of a melt the arc length varies erratically due to scrap movement within the furnace and some form of control is required to maintain the desired power input level. The existing control philosophy (Nicholson and Roebuck, 1972) is based upon maintaining a preset arc impedance throughout the melting cycle and long-term control of power input is achieved by the selection of suitable voltage taps on the furnace transformer secondary winding. Each electrode is positioned individually by an electrode position controller which attempts to maintain a reference arc impedance compatible with the long-term power input schedule. A typical melt in the electric arc furnace lasts for approximately four hours, and consists of charging the furnace with scrap steel (lst basket l and applying power until the unoccupied volume of the furnace can accept more steel scrap. Further scrap is added (2nd basket) and power is applied until the furnace is again capable of accepting a further charge of scrap (3rd basket). Power is again applied until the steel is molten. The power input is then reduced and a sample of the steel is taken for analysis. The production process then enters the refining cycle, as described in Section 3.

ficiency of steel production in the electric arc furnace by designing improved regulators for power input control during the melting and refining stages and developing a state-estimator suitable for use in a computer-aided refining control system. Although the basic concepts of arc furnace design have remained virtually unchanged for almost half a century, a considerable amount of research has been directed towards improving the design of electrode regulators (Driller, 1954; Kolkwiewiez, 1967; Roebuck, 1969; Morris and Sterling, 1975) Electrode and refractory consumption have been studied ( McGee and Ravenscroft, 1959) and refractory index control has been investigated (Schwabe, 1962~. The problems of power system loading and voltage flicker have also been studied extensively ISchwabe. 1958, Payne, 1959; Robinson, 19521. The available information on high power, high current electric arc discharges is limited (Bowman, Jordan and Fitzgerald. 1969; Bowman and Fitzgerald, 1973), and few researchers have investigated the properties of arcs in a production furnace. Direct digital control of arc furnace operation has to date been limited to supervisory duties (Fielder, Tippet and Whitwell, 1965}, although the feasibility of automatic power input control, (McGee and Ravenscroft, 1959) and on-line optimal control (Nicholson and Roebuck, 1970, 1971) has been demonstrated. Various authors (Morris and Sterling, 1975; Nicholson and Roebuck, 1972) have developed single phase models of the electrode control system but very few researchers have studied the influence of the arc characteristics upon the controller response, or the selection of a controlled variable. Computer control of the production of steel in the electric arc furnace has, to date, been largely concerned with decisions for optimum plant and scrap useage with a few applications to the control of batch production in individual furnaces. Gosiewski and Wierzbicki (1970) have shown that optimal control of power input during the melting stage could give significant reductions in energy consumption. Static optimization of the stainless-steelmaking process in the arc furnace has been investigated by Lipszy (1966), Calanog and Geiger (1967) and optimal control of steehnaking was investigated by Woodside and colleagues (1970). 2. CONTROL DURING THE MELTING CYCLE The present study relates to a three-phase arc impedance controlled 135 tonne 35MVA production electric arc furnace. The furnace consists

2.1 Single-phase modelling

The servomechanism for positioning the electrodes in the furnace under investigation is typical of many installations and consists of an amplidyne Ward-Leonard regulator operating on an arc impedance error signal. The single-phase electrode position controller has been modelled using transfer function relationships, (Billings and Nicholson, 1975) assuming zero interaction be-

Electric arc furnace modelling and control



.... National grid system

. . . . . . . . . . .

I Intermedia% I Flexible

4- 7


I vl ~



_1 Curren~ ~__[


1 /

Furnace transformer Voffage } signal ,7 ,~

Arci~*~l I

- ]transformer F--

J [ Curre~ = signal

medsu(Ing ~ eo.~er 1 circuit" J I_,ampllr'er


Furnac ba'th

I [

Pneumatic counter-


FIG. 2. A schematic diagram of an arc impedance controlled furnace.

Mast dynamics


Arc discharge

[ -,.

[ (


It ~K21

'+s'3 I ~


I '+s~

Stobilising fieldl

FIG. 3. Block diagram of the electrode position controller.

tween the regulators, and can be represented as shown in Fig. 3. The single-phase furnace transmission system,
i n c l u d i n g the high p o w e r arc d i s c h a r g e c a n be r e p r e s e n t e d as (Billings, 1975)



{-l) 3 {R,2+R,3)


3 (RtkR,--XkX,)

k,l= l

v,.=Dh{(1 - WRc~)(Rl + Rc,)- WX~}[Z,, I-' =D'h

(2.1) M = E2{( - R,3 FDh i~ = F R a O _ i o = - X2/2 WDh = -Kh -



R,z/2 - x/3X2/2) 2 + (~3R,e/2


[Ztt[ = {(R~ t + Ret)2 + X~} ,/2 = {(R,, }2 + X ~ } ' / 2


S. /\. BII.I_INGS, F. M. BOI/~NI) and tt. NI(H()I.S()I\ gated. An on-line correlator aab /hey, u~cd ~, identify the impulse responses between lhc ~ rious inputs and outputs of the three-phase sy>tem. Analysis of the estimated cross-correlogratns illustrated in Fig. 5 clearly indicates that there is minimal interaction when operating under arc impedance control, and this was confirmed by

R,i represent arc resistances. R<i and X i the system line resistance and reactance, E line voltage. t,,,, i and h the change in measured secondary voltage, arc current (I) and arc length respectively, D the arc discharge coefficient, D' the discharge coefficient. K the arc gain and the superscript 0 indicates nominal rabies. Combining the models of the electrode controller, arc discharge and transmission system provides a complete mathematical description of the furnace control system which can be used to investigate arc furnace operation and control.

Arc _ voltage

281.9 V

2.2 Identification of the furnace control system Although the theoretically derived model proved to be representative of furnace operation it was considered that a more concise description of the electrode regulator and further information about the process could be obtained from an identification study. The basic aims of the identification included, identification of properties of the arc discharge, investigation of the interaction between the regulators of an arc impedance controlled furnace, and identification of a low-order representation of the electrode-position controller. The diversity of the identification requirements entailed designing several experiments and recording a large amount of data. This was usually done in an iterative manner so that the initial experiments added to the knowledge of the process and suggested the form of future experiments (Billings and Nicholson, 1975). Normal operating data for a typical melt were recorded and analysed to determine the discharge coefficient and arc gain. During the first basket, the discharge coefficient D' was found, typically to be 3764V/m with an arc gain K of 859kA/m. The values of D' (1653V/m) and K (367kA/m) estimated during refining were notably lower than those experienced during the first basket melt because of the ionization of the furnace atmosphere. Dynamic volt-ampere characteristics of the arc discharge in a production furnace during refining and at the beginning of the melt are illustrated in Fig. 4. The two distinct slopes of the characteristic over each arc cycle correspond to a tworesistance model of the arc. Inspection of the dynamic characteristics clearly shows the instability of the arc at the beginning of the melt and indicates the dependence of the arc characteristics on the furnace environment (i.e. temperature). The injection of a 127 bit 33.3ms P R B S ' i n t o the amplidyne control field of phase-two electrode-position controller, with the furnace in normal operation during refining, enabled the interaction between the regulators to be investi-




Arc voltage -


1 41, . . . . . I' i

Arc current
l i i

62 KA



FIG. 4. Dynamic arc characteristics,

the results of several on-line step disturbance tests. Because the electrode regulator is an autonomous closed-loop system it was necessary to break the feedback loop by turning the power off and extinguishing the arc to satisfy the identifiability conditions for the estimation of the regulator forward-loop transfer function. Initially,

Electric arc furnace modelling and control step inputs were applied to the open-loop system to check the linearity of the system, estimate the system gain and assess the characteristics of the noise. PRBS sequences of amplitude 64mA were then injected into the amplidyne control field and motor speed and mast movement recorded. All the signals were recorded on an F.M. tape recorder and digitized off-line prior to analysis using an identification package SPAID (Batey and colleagues, 1975; Billings, Sterling and Batey, 1977a).


;% ',,

The results of the identification are illustrated in Fig. 6. Numerous model order tests including the determinant ratio test. F-test, pole-zero cancellation and tests for independence and operations on the residuals were applied to check the validity of the model. Identification using different data sequences produced notably consistent estimates and verified the time invariance of the model. A comparison of step responses of the analytical and identified models, illustrated in Fig. 7, shows the similarity of the response of the two models derived independently.



CCF of phase 2 coRtro[ field currerlt end phase 2 most position


< E E 0 Lo r-be oJ


I 3.0

CCE of phase 2 control field current and phase I mast position FIG. 5. C r o s s c o r r e l a t i o n c o m p a r i s o n .

Generalised least squares parameter estimation was applied to the modified data sequences for increasing model orders and time delays in the range suggested by the deconvoluted system impulse response. The final process model relating mast position and control field current was found to be

z "2 r ( 0 . 2 4 9 8 z -

1 + 0.3079z-

2 + 0.09533z-


- 3


1+4.826Z-2_2.9967Z Ut=

3+0.7177Z 4(2.3)

2.3 Controller design The identification of the furnace control system was motivated by the requirement to gain further knowledge and insight of the process and to design suitable closed-loop controllers. Before any controller can be expected to give improved plant control it must make use of information which previous designs ignored. This has been achieved in the case of the arc furnace by using the results of the identification study to develop a dual impedance/current control strategy (Billings and Nicholson, 1977b) and a temperature weighting adaptive controller (Billings and Nicholson, 1977c). 2.3.1 A dual impedance/current control strategy Although many measurable quantities appear intuitively attractive as control variables in the arc furnace, most of these including phase power and arc voltage have to be excluded because of practical limitations, and arc impedance or occasionally arc current control are usually implemented. The ability of current control to combine the corrective action of all the electrode regulators to clear disturbances, may or may not result in less accumulated power discrepancy compared with non-interacting impedance control, and the two strategies were compared to assess which is the most efficient. Three-phase models of current and impedance controlled regulators were derived to facilitate a comparison between the two control strategies. The models were based on the identified difference equation representation of the electrode position controller and utilised the results of the identification of the arc discharge and interaction between the phases to extend the single phase transmission system model. The three-phase transmission system models can be represented by Billings and Nicholson, (1977bL ::[ = G4.D'~+ (isKk]h~ 1, I. 2.3 12.4)

g k k ( Z - 1)U t.


S. :\. t'}111 IN(iS, F. M. B O L A . N I ) a n d It. N ( H t ) I ~,~ ",,


14,64 14.64


Predicfed oufpuf




Deferministic prediction errors

FK;. 6, Identification of the electrode position controller (k = 2, H - 3),


Most position
z~ 2

4.0 sec




Non- linear model

FI(;. 7. A comparison of closed loop step responses.

for the arc impedance controlled furnace and


I0 ] j

j = 1,2,3


_g 2
Cz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

g',ck= A k i k

k = 1,2, 3


1 c for the current controlled furnace, where % c.k are

error signals proportional to the change in arc impedance and the change in arc current respectively, Bi, c%, i , j = 1 , 2 , 3 , are constants. A k is a scalar which is selected such that the error current in the amplidyne control field is initially equal for both current and impedance controlled regulators operating to correct a defined disturbance. Combining equations (2.4), (2.5) and (2.6) with the identified difference equation model of the electrode regulator given by (2.3) and using hk = gkk(Z- 1)% k = 1, 2, 3 gives the three-phase arc impedance and arc current controlled furnace models respectively.

Electric arc furnace modelling and control Simulation of the three-phase models using a performance index defined as the integral of the sum of the three absolute arc power deviations indicated that independent electrode positioning results in less accumulated power discrepancy compared with interacting control. However, interacting current control was found to be beneficial under short circuit conditions, when the current magnitude should be reduced in the shortest possible time. A controller which combined both these characteristics should therefore improve melting efficiency and result in a greater transformer life expectancy particularly when the short-circuit currents exceed the normal operating currents. A dual control strategy is proposed which consists of operating under the normal impedance control during normal melting conditions and reverting to current control if any arc current approaches its short-circuit value. Because the short-circuit current is usually significantly larger than the normal operating current the dual impedance/current control strategy can be readily implemented on the furnace and should result in a minimum accumulated power discrepancy and rapid correction of short circuits. If the dual strategy is to be operated to maximise the heat utilization of the electrical energy input then the time during which the power input is not at the predetermined level must be kept to a minimum. This can best be achieved by improving the transient behaviout of the electrode regulator and a proportionalderivative controller has been designed to reduce the position rise time and overshoot (Billings, 1975). 2.3.2 A temperature weighting adaptive con-


Towards the end of the melt, when the furnace is hot and the atmosphere ionized, a step change in the arc length of amplitude h" will be required to cause a similar change in the arc current i = - K both" where h">h', and hence Kco~d>Khot. Since the discharge coefficient D' is a function of the arc gain K, D'=KQ where Q is a constant, the relationship between the arc impedance error function and the change in arc length ~;=(G4Q +Gs)Kh will vary considerably over the period of a melt. The arc consists essentially of a gas at high temperature, known as the arc column or arc plasma, in which current is carried by electrons and ions. If the temperature of the arc increases, the gas becomes more thermally ionized and the electrical conductivity increases such that the required current is able to flow with less potential drop (Maecker, 1964). The arc resistance is therefore heavily dependent on the arc temperature, and Edels (1961) has shown that the electrical conductivity can be ultimately expressed as a function of temperature only. Thus when the furnace is 'cold', at the beginning of a melt, a defined change in arc length will cause a greater change in arc impedance than at the end of the melt when the temperature is high (typically 1600C) and the atmosphere ionized. The electrode position controller is tuned for one defined relationship between arc impedance and arc length but, because of the temperature dependence of arc impedance this relationship will only be valid for one temperature, T* say. However, it can be shown, (Billings and Nicholson, 1977c) that the relationship between the arc impedance error e for a defined change in arc length h at temperatures T* and T' is of the form

troller Conditions are far from static in the electric arc furnace, and variations in the arc characteristics over the period of a melt affect the overall loop gain and sensitivity of the electrode position controller in such a manner that the system performance varies between the two extremes of highly overdamped and unstable responses. Identification of the arc characteristics on a production furnace showed that the arc gain and discharge coefficient can vary by a factor of at least two over the period of a melt. Adaptive control to maintain the overall loop gain at some predetermined value is therefore highly desirable. Consider the effects of a step disturbance in arc length over the period of a melt. When the furnace is cold, at the beginning of the melt, a step change in the arc length of amplitude h' will be sufficient to cause a current change i, thus i = -K~o~ah'.

eT* ~r,

L(T*) - A(T')

= QT' V h.


Thus if the arc impedance error at temperature T' is multiplied or weighted by the constant Qr', the relationship between e and h will remain constant throughout the melt and independent of temperature. Similar relationships can be found for all temperatures leading to a complete weighting function Qr. The weighting function Qr, which can be obtained by measuring the temperature at the hot spots and arc length over the period of only one melt, could be implemented as part of a direct digital control scheme or by using diode function generators. In either case the controller is relatively uncomplicated and could readily be in-


S . A . BII,I IN(IS. F. M. B O t . A N D and H. NI~,'ItOI.S()N

stalled as part of the existing arc regulator to maintain a consistent control action through-out the melt. A schematic diagram of the proposed arc regulator and the temperature weighting adaptive controller is illustrated ill Fig. ~.
Electrode position controller


Mast position

z-2(Z.Sz-I + 3.0z-2+09 5z-3)10-4 I-3.5z-I +4.8z-2_2 99z-3+Q717z-4

Arc discharge and ~ " transmission / system


Arc impedonce F measuring circuit

I Multiplier ,, ] impedonce I error

emperoture Temperature weighting adaptive corrtroller

tl(i. N. A schematic diagram of lilt: tclllpcraturc wcighlmg adaptixc controller.

furnace, starts with liquid metal at a lcnlperattlrc: of about 1580 C, with a carbon concentration of about 0.5"i, greater than that required by the order specification. The process ends when the carbon content has been reduced to the desired level and the process temperature has been raised to a level necessary t\~r satisfactory pouring into ingot moulds. In addition to the carbon and temperature specifications, the steel i,~ also required to meet up to eleven end-point chemical specifications. Concentrations of specific alloying elements may be changed by making alloy additions, and impurities are removed by the injection of gaseous oxygen and the establishment of a suitable slag. The energy requirement for steelmaking is supplied almost wholly by electric power through the electrodes, but the heat liberated by exothermic reactions must also be considered. Accurate continuous measurement techniques are not axailable l\)r most of the process variables and the high temperature ill excess of 1600:C, and the highly corrosive nature of the molten steel are but two of the man~ difficulties encountered when designing furnace instrumentation. It is desirable that all of the target specifications are met simultaneously so that there is no oxygen, electricity or lime expended on end-point corrections. Thus even if continuous measurements were available, some predictive algorithm would still be necessary so that the process could be controlled to meet simultaneously the endpoint constraints.

3.1 Model./ormulution
Although the energy rate input schedule is operated according to a recommended code of practice, the original proposal (McGee and Ravenscroft, 1959), which suggested that the transformer voltage taps should be changed when the furnace refractories exceeded a specified temperature, has received little attention until recently because of the lack of suitable temperature measuring devices. However, recent research has suggested that a temperature controlled energy rate input schedule could improve considerably the heat utilization of the electrical energy input. Direct measurements of the refractory temperature or an estimate of this temperature obtained using optimal filtering techniques could therefore be used for both the temperature weighting adaptive controller and an electrothermal control scheme.

The refining process, during the production of medium and low alloy steels in the electric arc

Both analytical and statistical techniques have been employed to develop models of steelmaking processes. However, considering the difficulties encountered with the collection of adequate data on the wide range of steels produced and the inherent inflexibility of statistically evolved models from the process control viewpoint, the former approach was adopted in the present study. It is generally accepted that at steelmaking temperatures the rates of the major refining reactions are determined by mass transport which can be described mathematically by Fick's laws (King, 1963). However, a theoretical evaluation of the diffusion rates requires knowledge of the areas and thicknesses of phase boundaries and the diffusivities and chemical activities of the system species. Investigations of many of these complex process phenomena have been reported in the literature and progress has been made in the understanding of the heat and mass transfer occurring during steelmaking (Szekely and Themlis, 1971}. By combining the results of these investigations with data collected from the process a mathematical model was formulated to

Electric arc furnace modelling and control describe the dynamics of the concentrations of the chemical species in the slag and metal phases, the mass balances for both phases and a thermal balance for the process. Casts refined under a variety of operating modes were simulated using this model and the studies revealed that from the control viewpoint the model could not be considered to have a practical application. In particular the following limitations were exposed. (i) Complete process data were required at melt-out. The data included a full chemical analysis of the slag which is not available during normal operation. (ii) The level of accuracy required of the model, for use in process control, was only attainable for those casts during which none of the standard interruptions to the process, necessary to make additions and allow some of the slag to flow out, were made. (iii) Even when the conditions in (i) and (ii) were satisfied unforeseen perturbations on the refining trajectories were found to result when solid scrap fell into the bath from the furnace banks. There was an apparent need for a compromise between the implied accuracy and the complexity of the process model. To this end the dimension of the state vector was reduced by the introduction of a set of random variables to replace the effects of the states associated with the slag phase and the slag to bath weight ratio. The resulting model consists of four state equations describing the dynamics of the process variables: x l =concentration of carbon, x 2 = concentration of manganese, x3 = concentration of iron oxide and x4 =temperature of the molten steel. The process is forced by two control inputs, u~ representing the rate of oxygen iniection and u2 the electric power input. The state equations have the form (Boland and Nicholson, 1977)


with elements q~ (i= 1..... 4) which represent a measure of the uncertainty associated with the parameter set. Approximate values for these elements were obtained over the normal operating range of the process, by analysis of the maximum probable error for each difference equation as given by

(Errri)2-j=, ~ O f l Q

i=1 ..... 4 (3.3)

Since some of the parameters occur in two or more of the state equations the noise matrix G k was constructed to account for the resulting correlation of the uncertainties associated with the components of F. The approach adopted was to determine (Boland and Nicholson, 1976) the dominant parameter or relationship common to two components F~ and F~ and then defining F~ as a function of Fj to give Gij = ?Fj~Fj. 3.2 Measurements The use of waste gas analysis equipment to provide an indirect measurement of the carbon concentration, xx, is an established technique in the Basic Oxygen sector of the steelmaking industry (Dennis, John and Porter, 1969). At time, t, the measurement obtained from the gas analysis is given by xl (t) = x 1 ( 0 ) - ~ V(r)dr (3.4)

2i=fi(x,u, fl)

i = 1 ..... 4


where fl is the vector of model parameters and contains the random variables replacing unmodelled states. Using the Euler integration formula and assuming the model was separable into stochastic and deterministic parts, the following vector difference equation description of the process was obtained

where V(z) is the decarburization rate estimated from the measurements of the flow rate and composition of the waste gases. An analysis (Boland and Nicholson 1977) was made of the achievable accuracy using this technique and this demonstrated that the uncertainty associated with this mgasu_rement was too large for it to be used in the control of the arc furnace process. An expression for determining the variance of this uncertainty was obtained which permits the carbon measurement to be written as yl (t) = x~ (t) + t,l (t) (3.5)

Xk + I = F(Xk, Uk, fl) + GkWk


where w k is a white Gaussian noise sequence with statistics, Wk~N(O, Qk) and ~ is the vector of expected values of model parameters. The covariance matrix Qk was assumed to be diagonal

where vl(t) is a zero mean Gaussian process with variance E(vZ(t))=rll(t), which varies in the range 0 < r l ~ <0.0044. Because of the high temperature and corrosive nature of the process, a direct measurement of the temperature of the molten steel can only be obtained by use of a disposable thermocouple. However, as mentioned in Section 2.3.2, measurement of the temperature of the furnace hot spots does provide an indirect measure of the process temperature. It was considered reasonable to assume that a continuous indirect measurement


S.A. BIIA,INGS, F. M. BOLAND and H. NICtlOLSON erroneous process model and divergence from the true states would result. A study was made (Boland and Nicholson, 1976), of a number ~1 simple techniques for control of filter divcrgence. These techniques employ the well known fact that, in theory, the innovations process st defined in (3.7d) is a white, zero mean Gaussian process with covariance

of the temperature to an accuracy of standard deviation 10 K is achievable by use, for example. of lhermocouples embedded in the lining of the furnace. This indirect measurement of the temperature may be written as
y2(t) =

Xa.(t) + F2(t)


where v2(t) is a zero mean Gaussian process with variance E(v2(t)) = r2z(t)= 100. 3.3. Kalman filtering The discrete-time form of the extended Kalman filter, as described by the following equations, was implemented
XR k +1 = p~+

E(zkz~r)=(HkP~ 1H~+Rkl.


F(x~, Uk)


k T T l=OkPkOk + GkQkGk


Kk+,-- pk k+l H T k+l(Hk+,(Hk~lP~ 1HT,1

+ R t ~ + 1) 1

(3.7c1 (3.7d) (3.7e)

A procedure (Boland and Nicholson, 1977) was developed which tests the consistency of the statistics of the smoothed innovation associated with the temperature measurement and when divergence is suspected it effects control by increasing the uncertainty associated with the thermal dynamics. This increase in q44, which is maintained until the innovations are again consistent with their statistics, has the effect of shifting the emphasis within the filter from the model to the measurements. 3.4 Simulation study The trajectories of the states xl and .v4 tot a simulated cast are illustrated in Fig. 9. The effects of variations in furnace behaviour were introduced by assuming that the temperature changed abruptly by - 1 0 C at t = 1 0 m i n and t = 2 5 m i n and the rate of heat loss was assumed to double over the interval 33 rain < t < 4 3 m i n . Control of divergence was effected by setting q4.~=2.25F4 (Xk, Uk) when the innovations failed the consistency test; normally %,~-=0.0625F~ (:%u D. The parameter set associated with the filter model was perturbed from that employed in the process model by the use of a Gaussian random number generator. The results illustrated in Fig. 9 were obtained using a discrete time interval of 10 sec and an observation interval of 1 min. The approximate final variances at t k = 4 7 m i n were, with divergence control o-~ (i=1 ..... 4)=(0.65 10 -~, 0.2x 10 4, 0.25, 8.4).

Zk+l =)k+l--Hk+IX~+1
xk l =X~+ l k+ +l

@-Kk+lZk+ 1

pk+l k + l = ( l _ K k + l H k + 1 )pk+l(l_Kk + IHk+ ~)T

+Kk+IRk+ 1K~ T+ 1


where @' is the transition matrix associated with the linearised process equations, and P~, approximates to the covariance matrix of the uncertainty on the estimates of x. The notation (')~+~ denotes the estimate o f ( . ) at time ( k + l ) obtained for measurements over the interval [0, k~]. The matrices H k and Rk are the measurement and measurement noise covariance matrices respectively, and from (3.6) and (3.7)

1 0 0


0 0 0


and Rk=E(vkv~}=

f; )

~ 0 r22 "

The practical considerations influencing the implementation of Kalman filters in aerospace applications are well known (Huddle, 1970). Of particular importance is the problem of filter divergence which can result from the effects of errors in the description of the system and the statistics of the noise processes. In the present application, the effects of the unforeseen variations in the thermal and chemical behaviour of the process described in Section 3.1 were considered to be of major importance. It was apparent that unless some means of accounting for these changes was included in the estimation procedure the filter would tend to track the

Hence, in terms of weight percentages the results of simulation studies indicate that, e~en in the presence of the increased uncertainty introduced by the divergence control procedure, there is a better than 80'~ii probability that the estimates satisfy the industrial accuracy requirements of about 0.50.; on the chemical states and + 5 C on the temperature state.
4. C O N C L U S I O N S

Problems associated with the production of special steels in the electric arc furnace have been considered. Analysis of the production cycle as a

Electric arc furnace modelling and control



FJffer model

Observ ~

I I0

1 20

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an identification study to investigate the interaction between the regulators, estimate the propep ties of the arc discharge and identify a model of the electrode position controller have been presented. A dual impedance/current control strategy, a temperature weighting adaptive controller and proportional-derivative regulator have been designed using the results of the identification, and aspects of implementation on a production furnace have been discussed briefly. The development of a mathematical model of the refining process has been shown to be restricted by the complex metallurgical nature of the process and on the deficiency of existing plant instrumentation. The need for a compromise between complexity and implied certainty of the model has been discussed. The extended Kalman filter has been presented as an efficient method of combining the a priori information about the process in the form of a dynamical model with the incomplete error-corrupted process measurements. Problems of filter divergence due to modelling errors have been considered and the results presented indicate that estimates of the states can be obtained to the accuracy required for the design of a refining control strategy.
Acknowledgement--The authors express thanks to the British Steel Corporation for permission to undertake this investigation and appreciate the interest shown in the work by M. Foster, J. Gifford and R. Roebuck (BSC). REFERENCES Batey, D.J., MJ.H. Sterling, DJ., Antcliffe and S.A. Billings (1975). The design and implementation of an interactive data analysis package for a process computer. Comput. Aided Des., 7, 265-269. Billings, S.A. and H. Nicholson (1975). Identification of an electric arc furnace electrode control system. Proc. lEE, 122 (8), 849 856. Billings, S.A. (1975) Modelling, identification and control of an electric arc furnace. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Sheffield. Billings, S.A., MJ.H. Sterling and D.J. Batey (1977a). SPAID--an interactive data analysis package and its application to the identification of an electric arc furnace control system, lEE Conf. Random Signals Analysis. Billings, S.A. and H. Nicholson (1977b). Modelling a threephase electric arc furnace: a comparative study of control strategies. Appl. Math. Modelling, 1,355--361. Billings, S.A. and H. Nicholson (1977c). Temperature weighting adaptive controller for electric arc furnaces. lronmaking and Steelmaking, 4, 216-221. Boland, F.M. and H. Nicholson (1976). Control of divergence in Kalman filters. Electron, Lett., 12, 367-369. Boland, F.M. and H. Nicholson (1977) Estimation of the states during refining in the electric arc furnace. Proc. lEE, 124 (2), 161-166. Bowman, B., G.R. Jordan and F. Fitzgerald (1969). The physics of high current arcs. J. Iron Steel Inst., pp. 798 805. Bowman, B. and F. Fitzgerald (1973). Hot spots in arc furnaces. J. Iron Steel Inst., pp. 178 186. Calamog, E. and G.H. Geiger (1967). Optimization of stainless steel melting practice by means of dynamic programming. J. Metals, 19, 9f~104.

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FIG. 9. Simulated performance of the state estimator. O filter with divergence control; x filter without divergence control.

three-stage process has exposed the difficulties involved in obtaining an optimal steelmaking strategy for the electric arc furnace. Short-term dynamic control of power input to the steel has been considered and the results of


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I)cnnis, W.E., I.G. John and W.b. Porter (19691. lhe practical implementation of dynamic control ol tile BOF steelmaking process. J. Metals, pp. 80 84. Driller, H. 11954). Present status and development of electrical regulation for electric arc steel furn,:|ces. StaJfl lind l:iwn, 74, Pt.2, 82 85. Edels. H. (1961). Properties and theory of the electric a r c Proc. IEE, 108, 55 69. Fielder, l,. I:.. J l i p p e t and A. Whitwcll 119651. ('onlpntel control m an electric arc furnace inching shop. Iron and Steel, pp. 272 278. Gosiewski, A. and A. Wiersbicki (19701. Dynamic optimization of a sleehnakmg process in electric arc furnace. .4utomatiea, 6, 767 778. Huddle, J.R. (1970). Applications of Kalman fihering theory lo augmented inertial navigation systems. In CT. Leondes (Ed.), Theory and Applications of Kalman Filtering, Ch. I 1, AGARDograph, No. 139. King, 7".13. (19631. Kinetics of electric furnace reactions. In ('.E. Siln,', (Ed.k Eleclric lurnaee Steelmakmg. Chap. 20. lnterscience. New York. Kolkwiewicz, L. t1967). Arc furnace electrode control. Elec. Eng. in the Metal Ind., (Supplement to AEI Eng.), pp. 30 33. Lipzyc, N. (1966). Computer control ol the electric arc furnace. Proc. 3rd IFA(" Congress, paper AA1, London. Maecker, H. (1964). Different types of arcs. In S.S. Haydon (Ed.), Discharge and Plasma Physies, ('}lap. 2{1. Armadale. NSW. McGee, L. and J. Ravenscrofl (1959). tteat transfer investigations and development of the automatic control of power input on the BISRA IO-cv~t arc furnace. J. Iron

Morris, A.S. and M . J . H Sterling 11975L Ana[y~,i,,, ~1 clec~l~,dc position controllers l\~r electric arc steelmaking iurml~t., Iron Steel Int.. 48(41, 291 298. Nicholson, H. and R. Roebuck (197(/). l)ynamic ~,plimJsallt,', of an electric arc furnace. 11:'.4(" Kvot,, ' ~ m p . ','~g,m, Eng. 4pproaeh to Computer ('(mlrol. Nicholson, tt. and R. Roebuck (It)71~. ()n-lirm oplimal con trol of arc impedance for an electric arc furnace, l:ourth U K A C Control Com.,IEl-!Conf. Publ. 78, pp. 16 2~ Nicholson, H. and R. Roebuck (1972). Simulalion and control of electrode position controllers for electric arc furnaces. 4utomatiea, 8, pp. 683 693 Payne, J.W.S. (1959). l'hc control of a ku-gc electric arc furnace m relation to their effect on tile supply system hlstruolenl Practi~e. pp. 8(t8 814. Robinson, B.('. (1952). t xcc~,~ ~oltage in transformers and reactors connected lo 3-phase electric ~ [[1 c furnaces, l'~,~ 1EE, 99,271 287. Roebuck, R. (1969). Modelling and control of an electric aic furnace. M.Sc. Thesis, Dept. Control Eng., Lh~i;ersit> ol Sheffield. Schwabe, W.E, (1958). Lighting flicker caused b~ electric arc furnaces. Iron Steel Eng., pp. 93 100. Schwabe, W.E. (19621. Arc heat transfer and refractory erosion in electric steel furnaces. Proc. Electr 4re F"urm*ee Cm~L, pp. 195 206. Szekely, J. and N.J. Themlis (19711. Phenomem~ m Process Metallurgy. lnterscience, New York. Woodside, C.M., B. Pagurek, J. Pauksens and A.N. Ogale (197(1). Singular arcs occurring m optimal electric steel refining. IEEE 7i'anv l u t . ('mltrol, AC-51, 549 556.