Improving Titanium Dioxide Production

ICI Manufacturing Technology facilitated a pilot Manufacturing Game® workshop for their Tioxide Grimsby Site. One of the action teams set up on the second day focused on Concentrator Uptime. Concentrators are used to separate water from the liquor. The availability and uptime problems cause lost production, poor product consistency and energy losses.

The team analysed the availability and uptime of Concentrators to identify and quantify the problems.

The team checked each Concentrator against the drawings and rectified any problems. They also reviewed process and instrument diagrams (P&ID’s) and made appropriate changes to those. The maintenance procedures were completely overhauled. The team also found tubes had been failing because of how they were stored. They were stored outside near the engineer’s stores and the team found traces of rat urine on the inside of the tubes which was not helping the life of the tube.

The process was mapped to look at how operations starts up and shuts down the units and why the operators decided to reduce the feed on all Concentrators rather than shut one down and keep the rest at full rate. The team found that not only did each shift start and stop the Concentrators differently, but that they were started and stopped differently on the same shifts. The team worked to identify the correct sequence, standardize and automate these procedures.

The team believes it has now eliminated the majority of defects in the Concentrators and expects most of the losses from unreliability to be eliminated as well. Based on the team’s analysis, over 1,000 tons of TiO2 capacity was lost each year due to Concentrator reliability. The total savings including recovered production, maintenance costs and manpower savings on clean-ups will be over $872,000.