Predicting and explaining pig iron production on charcoal blast furnaces: a machine learning approach

Lima, Marcio Salles Melo and Eryarsoy, Enes and Delen, Dursun (2021) Predicting and explaining pig iron production on charcoal blast furnaces: a machine learning approach. Interfaces, 51 (3). pp. 213-235. ISSN 0092-2102 (Print) 1526-551X (Online)

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Pig iron, the source for a variety of iron-based products, is traded in commodity markets. Therefore, enhanced productivity has significant economic implications for the producers. Pig iron is mainly produced inside of tall, vertical, thermodynamic reactors called blast furnaces that run 24 hours a day. The blast furnaces are too complex to model explicitly and are generally regarded as black boxes. In this study, we design, develop, and deploy novel machine learning models on a rich data sample covering more than 20 production variables spanning nine years of actual operational period, collected at one of the largest pig iron production plants in Brazil. We show that, given the blast furnace parameters, machine learning models are capable of unveiling novel insights by illuminating the black box and successfully predicting production levels at different configurations. These prediction models can be used as decision aids to improve production efficiencies. We also perform a sensitivity analysis of the trained models to identify and rank the input variables according to their relative importance. We present our findings, which are largely in line with the existing literature, and confirm their validity, practicality, and usefulness through consultations with subject matter experts.
Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Blast furnace; Gradient boosting trees; Machine learning; Neural networks; Pig iron production; Predictive analytics; Regression; Sensitivity analysis
Divisions: Sabancı Business School
Depositing User: Enes Eryarsoy
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2022 13:09
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2022 13:09

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