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Pretoria, Pretoria, 0002, South Africa, e-mail: icraig@postino.up.ac.za

Department of Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering, University of

Pretoria, Pretoria, 0002, South Africa

Abstract: This paper investigates the modelling and control of the electric energy input of

a three-phase electric arc furnace (EAF) using electrode position control as the main

control strategy. Two methods to keep the electrical energy input constant at a known set

point value are to control the arc-current or the arc-impedance. These variables are

controlled by moving the electrodes up or down using an electrode position controller.

Plant data are used to do system identification on an industrial EAF to model the close

loop electrode system. Copyright © 2003 IFAC

Keywords: Electrodes; Arc resistance; Modelling; Ward Leonard drive; Control; Step

inputs

moves the electrodes in a vertical position to adjust

EAFs produce steel by melting scrap using a three- the arc current or arc impedance according to

phase electrical supply as the electrical energy input. specified reference values (Billings et. al., 1979).

The fundamental problem in the EAF industry is the

production of steel at a specified quality at the lowest Some electrode position controllers used in the

cost possible. This three-phase electrical input serves 1970’s made use of a well known Ward Leonard

as the main energy input in the electric arc furnace. drive to position the electrodes (Billings and

The electrical energy input needs to be controlled Nicholson, 1977). In this paper a mathematical

with the aim of achieving the lowest possible model of an electric arc furnace with a Ward-

production cost. Leonard drive in the controller is used to investigate

the control of a three-phase electric arc furnace.

Each phase of the three-phase electrical input

supplies power to one of the three electrodes that is Most modern EAFs use newly designed hydraulic

mounted above the furnace bath through the roof. systems to move the electrodes and although Ward

The furnace roof is closed when power is supplied to Leonard drives are not commonly used anymore it

the system. The furnace operation is based on heat can still be used to compare different control

transfer into the bath from arcs drawn between the strategies.

tips of the electrodes to the metallic charge. Thus,

electrical energy is converted into heat which is Section 2 of this paper introduces the model for the

transmitted to the charge through the electrodes electrical energy input of an electric arc furnace. The

(Billings and Nicholson, 1975). Constant melting model used for arc impedance control is different

causes the arc length to change and results in a from the model that is used for arc current control.

change in the electric energy input if control is not Both these models are described in section 2. Section

supplied to the system. Two variables are mainly 3 describes the modelling and simulation of an

used to control the electrical energy input, i.e. arc electrode position controller that makes use of a

impedance and arc current. Both these variables are

Ward-Leonard drive to change the position of the

electrodes. In section 4 industrial data are used to do

system identification of the EAF. The data that were

used for the system identification comes from a plant

that uses more modern techniques than that of the

current model discussed.

2. MODEL DESCRIPTION

transformer which in our case is three-phase. Each of

the three phases serves as a power input to one of the

three electrodes.

position controller might be necessary for each of the

electrodes. Single phase modelling is thus needed for

realistic simulation. A single phase representation for

the electrical energy input to the EAF is shown in

figure 1 (Billings and Nicholson, 1975).

The furnace transmission system from the power Fig. 1. Electrical power supply system (single phase)

generation system to the arcs is described by the (Billings and Nicholson, 1977)

following equations (Billings and Nicholson, 1975):

E ( h' Z t 2 − Z t 3 )

I1 = (1) follow with k ≠ l (Billings and Nicholson, 1975):

3

( ∑ Z tk Z tl )

k ,l =1

3 3

(− I 1o ) 3 [( Rt 2 + Rt 3 )[ ∑ ( Rtk Rtl − X k X l )] + ( X 3 + X 2 )( ∑ Rtk X l )]

i1 k ,l =1 k ,l =1

=

ra1 E 2 [( − Rt 3 − Rt 2 / 2 − 3 X 2 / 2) 2 + ( 3Rt 2 / 2 − X 2 / 2 − X 3 ) 2 ]

'2

E ( Z t 3 − h Z t1 ) (7)

I2 = (2)

3

( ∑ Z tk Z tl ) 3 3

(− I 2o ) 3 [( Rt 2 + Rt 3 )[ ∑ ( Rtk Rtl − X k X l )] + ( X 1 + X 3 )( ∑ Rtk X l )]

k ,l =1 i2 k ,l =1 k ,l =1

=

ra 2 E 2 [( Rt 3 − Rt1 / 2 − 3 X 1 / 2) 2 + ( X 3 − X 1 / 2 + 3Rt1 / 2) 2 ]

I3 = 3

(3)

( ∑ Z tk Z tl )

3 3

(− I 3o ) 3 [( Rt 2 + Rt 3 )[ ∑ ( Rtk Rtl − X k X l )] + ( X 1 + X 2 )( ∑ Rtk X l )]

i3 k ,l =1 k ,l =1

k ,l =1 = 2

ra 3 E / 4[(− Rt1 + 3 X 1 + Rt 2 + 3 X 2 ) 2 + (− X 1 − 3Rt1 + X 2 − 3Rt 2 ) 2 ]

(9)

z tk = ( Rak + Rck ) + jX k = Rtk + jX k

( k = 1,2,3) (4) or

where Ztk is the total phase impedance referred to the ik = − Fk rak (10)

transformer secondary windings, Rak represent arc

resistance, Rak is the system line resistance, Xk is the The arc discharge model for the system can be found

line reactance, E is the line voltage and h’ is a by using Nottingham’s equation that relates arc

complex three-phase operator. voltage and arc length.

first order Taylor series expansion with Vak = Ak + Dk H k + (11)

I kn

o (5)

I k = I k + ik

Hk is the effective arc length and Dk is the arc-

discharge coefficient. The arc-discharge coefficient is

and a function of the ambient arc temperature.

o (6)

R ai = R ai + rai A linearised version of the voltage measured at the

transformer secondary terminal provides one of the

Assuming zero interaction between the three arc components for the error current used as controller

resistances and an infinitely stiff supply voltage input and can be expressed as follows:

−1

v mk = i k Z tk + rak I ko ( Rak + Rck ) Z tk (12)

In the arc-impedance-controlled model the error

where signal feedback can be represented by:

I k = I + ik

o

k

(14)

where G4 and G5 are constants associated with the

Rak = Rako + rak (15) arc-impedance measuring circuit. Eliminating vmk and

ik using equations (17) and (18) gives the three-phase

transmission system model when using arc-

Using equation (10) gives impedance control and can be presented as follow:

ik = (16)

Fk Rako − I ko (23)

or

2.2 Model description for arc current control

i k = −(WD ) k hk (17) Current control, where the magnitude of the phase

currents are controlled, produces inherent interaction

where WD is constant and are usually called the arc between the three different currents and also between

gain. After substituting equation (17) into equation the electrode position controllers. When a

(12), the relationship between the change in the disturbance occurs on one of the electrode positions

measured voltage vmk and the arc length hk is defined all the arc currents will change and control must be

by: applied to all three phases. In the process all the arc-

resistances and the arc-lengths will change.

−1

vmk = Dk hk [(1 − Wk Rck )( Rako + Rck ) − Wk X k2 ]Z tk Consequently, linearising equations (7), (8) and (9)

using a first-order Taylor series expansion with

(18)

or I k = I ko + ik (24)

From here models have to be derive separately Rak = Rako + rak , k = 1,2,3 (25)

depending on the type of control method used.

give, (for k ≠ l ):

i1 = 3 3

Arc-impedance control is based on maintaining the I 1o [( ∑ Rtk Rtl − X k X l ) 2 + ( ∑ Rtk X l ) 2 ] 2

arc-impedance at a constant preset value determined k ,l =1 k ,l =1

by the tap setting on the transformers secondary

(26)

terminal. The advantage of this method is that there

is none or little interaction between the arc-

impedances of the three different phases. E 2 [α 2 ra1 + β 2 ra 2 + γ 3 ra 3 ]

i2 = 3 3

Eliminating vmk and ik from equation (19) and I 2o [( ∑ Rtk Rtl − X k X l ) 2 + ( ∑ Rtk X l ) 2 ]2

rearranging gives the arc resistance/arc length k ,l =1 k ,l =1

rak = (20) i3 = 3 3

−1

I ko Rtk Z tk I 3o [( ∑ Rtk Rtl − X k X l ) 2 + ( ∑ Rtk X l ) 2 ] 2

k ,l =1 k ,l =1

or (28)

rak = Bk hk k = 1,2,3 (21) These equations relate the change in arc current to

the changes in arc resistances as the latter are

adjusted by the electrode position controllers.

Each of the arc resistances is represented as a Eliminating ra1, ra2 and ra3 using equation (21) gives

function only of its associated arc length and the arc the current controlled model as follow:

characteristics D and D’.

B1α 1 B2 β 1 B 3γ 1

o

i1 I1 I 1o I 1o

i = E 2

B1α 2 B2 β 2 B3γ 2

2 3 3 Io I 2o I 2o

i3 [( ∑ Rtk Rtl − X k X l ) + ( ∑ Rtk X l ) ] 2

2 2 2

k ,l =1 k ,l =1 B1α 3 B2 β 3 B 3γ 3

Io I 3o I 3o

3

(29)

defined as follow:

ε k = − Ak i k , k = 1,2,3 (30)

current is initially equal for both current- and Fig. 2. A single phase electrode position controller

(Billings and Nicholson, 1975)

impedance controlled regulators.

erratically due to scrap movement within the furnace

and some form of control is required to maintain the

desired power input level. The function of an arc

furnace electrode position controller is to maintain a

preset arc current or arc impedance by lowering or

raising an electrode. Electrode position controllers

use the current-voltage reference feedback from the

furnace power system to position the electrodes.

Leonard drive to position the electrodes. However,

regulating systems have successfully been

introduced. These systems use modern technology

and solid state electronic components but will not be Fig. 3. Block diagram of the electrode position

discussed in this paper due to the lack of open controller (Nicholson and Roebuck, 1972)

literature. Most references on this topic date back to

the 1970’s. and produces an error when they are unequal. The

following transfer function, that relates the error

current in the amplidyne control winding to the

3.1 Modelling the electrode position controller output mast position, is determined from fig.3:

An electric arc furnace process consists of three z −2T (0.2498 z −1 + 0.3079 z −2 + 0.095 z −3 )

different electrode position controllers, one for each g kk ( z −1 ) =

1 − 3.547 z −1 + 4.826 z − 2 − 2.9967 z −3 + 0.7177 z − 4

of the three electrodes. All three regulators work on (31)

the same basis.

The step time for this digital transfer function is

A circuit diagram of an electrode position controller usually taken as 1/24 seconds to assure an accurate

using a Ward-Leonard-drive together with an model for the arc furnace controller.

amplidyne amplifier is shown in fig. 2. Modelling of

the electrode position controller is based on Two separate arrangements are needed for arc

modelling each component in the system impedance control and arc current control. Figure 1

individually. Fig. 3 shows the block diagram and figure 2 can simply be combined when the

representing the different transfer functions for each control strategy is based on maintaining the arc

component. impedance at a constant value. Note that this will

represent a single phase arrangement as the three

In the controller under discussion the error signal different arc impedances do not show any interaction.

acts as the input to an amplidyne rotating amplifier Figure 4 shows another arrangement where current

and the output of the amplidyne provides the input to control is used to maintain the input power at a

the Ward Leonard drive and the winch system moves constant preset value. The three phases, when

the electrode up or down. The arc-impedance looking at arc currents, have a fair amount of

measuring circuit compares currents proportional to interaction between them which calls for a combined

arc voltage and arc current with a reference value control strategy.

Fig. 4. Block diagram of the current controlled arc

furnace (Billings, et al., 1979)

can combine the model obtained in equation (29) Fig. 5. Simulation results. The solid lines are current

with the electrode position controller model in control and the dashed lines are impedance control

equation (31). The current- and impedance- (Nicholson and Roebuck, 1972)

controlled models have been formulated assuming

equal arc characteristics and electrode-position impedance control may be advantageous under short

controller dynamics. circuit conditions. This results in the possibility to

use these two control strategies in a dual method

When a disturbance occurs in the arc furnace the where impedance control is used when the system is

electrode position controllers operate in response to operating under normal melting conditions and

an error between the controlled variable and its current control when a short circuit on one of the

referenced value to adjust the electrode position and phases occur.

re-establish the desired power input. A performance

measure of the electrode-position controller can 4. SYSTEM IDENTIFICATION ON THE EAF

therefore be based on its ability to re-establish the

desired input power while maintaining necessary Measured data from an industrial EAF can be used to

control constraints. verify electrode position control. However, the plant

where the data were obtained from does not use a

Ward-Leonard drive as part of the electrode position

3.2 Simulation results controller.

The models were simulated assuming equal arc The industrial data obtained included two hours of

characteristics (D’=3940V/m) and electrode-position recorded data for the arc currents. Live

controller dynamics for each phase. Time steps of measurements together with reference values were

1/24sec were used throughout the simulations. obtained. The date can be used as input and output

data for a close loop system identification on the

The responses of the current- and impedance EAF. Data were also obtained for the input power

controlled models with a disturbance of 1.25 cm on and the voltage measured at the secondary terminals

one of the arc lengths are shown in Fig. 5. of the furnace transformer. The three parameters

mentioned above are directly proportional to each

From fig. 5 (Nicholson and Roebuck, 1972) we can other. Figure 6 shows the set point data (input) and

clearly see that the current control strategy results in the actual measured data (output) for the first phase

a larger accumulated power discrepancy compared of an industrial electric arc furnace during an entire

with impedance control. The reason for this is production phase. The data were sampled at 1 second

because of the direct interaction between the phase intervals. This gives a total time of 50 minutes of

currents. This means that although only one phase is data.

triggered with a disturbance all three electrode

controllers act to establish the preset input power. With three different phases to control and assuming

inherent interaction between them gives a total of

The ability of the current control strategy to reduce nine transfer functions needed. The system can be

the arc-current deviations in a shorter time than arc represented by the following equation:

OUTPUT #1 Step Response

80 From: U(1)

0.9

60

0.8

40

0.7

20

0.6

Amplitude (kA)

0

0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 0.5

To: Y(1)

INPUT #1

0.4

55

0.3

arc-current (kA)

50

0.2

45 0.1

40 0

0 14 28 42 56 70

0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000

samples time (sec)

Fig. 6. Set point current and measured current Fig. 7. Step response for T11(s)

i1 T11 ( s ) T12 ( s ) T13 ( s) is1 current control furnace. These models can be

i = T ( s ) T ( s) T ( s ) i simulated to show the response of the electrode

(32)

2 21 22 23 s2 movements when disturbances are applied to the

i3 T31 ( s ) T32 ( s) T33 ( s) is 3 system.

In this paper however only T11(s) will be given

current control can achieve effective control for the

because the other diagonal transfer functions are

electrode tip displacement during the production of

similar. The system identification was done by using

steel. The differences between these two methods

an ARX (Auto Regression with external input)

show that arc-impedance control is more efficient

model. The model for T11(s) was determined in the

during normal control while interacting current

following format:

control can be more efficient when removing short

circuits.

ke − is

T11 ( s) = (34)

τs + 1 With accurate modelling of the system more efficient

control, and hence lower production costs, can be

where k is the dc gain and should be one for perfect achieved in electric arc furnace steelmaking.

control, i is the time delay and τ is the time constant.

ACKWOLEDGEMENT

The following result was obtained: This material is based on work supported by the

National Research Foundation under Grant number

2053268. Any opinion, findings and conclusions or

0.883e −5 s recommendations expressed in this material are those

T11 ( s ) = (35)

11.127 s + 1 of the author(s) and do not reflect the views of the

National Research Foundation.

A step response of this model in figure 7 show that

the arc current, with electrode control in place, are REFERENCES

stable and very close to the set point. This compares

favourably with a similar step response in Billings et. Billings, S.A and H. Nicholson (1975). Identification

al., 1979. of an electric-arc furnace electrode-control

system. Proc IEE, 849-859.

Billings S.A. and H. Nicholson (1977). Modelling a

5. CONCLUSION three-phase electric arc furnace: a comparative

study of control strategies. Applied

The study of electric arc furnace electrode control Mathematical Modeling, Vol 1, 355-361.

has illustrated that electrode arcing can be kept at a Billings S.A. ,F.M. Boland and H. Nicholson (1979).

constant preset power input when control is applied Electric Arc Furnace Modeling and Control.

to the system. Automatica, Vol 15, 137-148.

Boland F.M. and Prof. H. Nicholson, (1976).

An approach to the problem using modern system Estimation of the states during refining in

identification techniques on an industrial plant for electric-arc-furnace. Proc IEE, 161-166.

the closed loop has been presented. First order Nicholson H. and R. Roebuck, (1972). Simulation

models were obtained for the three phases of the and Control of Electrode Position Controllers for

electric arc furnace electrode control system. Step Electric Arc Furnace. Automatica, Vol 8, 683-

responses show that stable arcing can be achieved 693.

when control strategies are applied to the system. Gosiewski A. and A. Wierzbicki, 1970. Dynamic

With knowledge on the individual components of the Optimization of a Steel-Making Process in

arc furnace system one can also compute a Electric arc Furnace. Automatica, Vol 6, 767-

mathematical model for the arc-impedance and arc- 778.

.

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