The Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd (KMML) is the world’s first fully integrated Titanium Dioxide Plant. KMML is also India’s first and only manufacturer of Rutile Grade Titanium dioxide by chloride process.
The Process in Brief:
Titanium dioxide (TiO2), also referred to as Titania, is a substance as old as the earth itself.
Titanium dioxide is readily mined in its purest form from beach sand. The beaches of Sankarmangalam and nearby areas in Kollam are inextricably intertwined with the history of this substance and KMML.
Dr. Schomberg, a German Scientist, discovered in 1909 traces of monazite in the sand flakes on the imported coir from Sankaramangalam. The beaches with a wealth of rare earth minerals became the centre of scientific attraction.
KMML is the world’s first fully integrated Titanium dioxide plant. Established in 1932 as F. X. Perira and Sons (Travancore) Pvt. Ltd., by a visionary private entrepreneur, it was taken over by the State Government in 1956, and became a public limited company in 1972 in the name ‘The Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd. (KMML)’.
Titanium Dioxide is essentially harvested from sea. The Mineral Separation Unit (MS Unit) of KMML is engaged in the separation of Ilmenite, Rutile, Leucoxone, Monazite, Silliminite etc from the beach sand. The MS Unit employs Gravitational, Magnetic & High Tension Electrostatic Techniques for separation of minerals from the sand.
Raw Ilmenite is chemically processed to remove impurities such as iron, leaving the pure, white pigment available for use.
KMML is India’s first and only manufacturer of Rutile Grade Titanium dioxide by chloride process.
The chloride process produces TiO2 products by reacting titanium ores with chlorine gas.
The chlorides of impurity metals are removed from Titanium Tetra Chloride (TiCl4) through various processes to complete the recovery of TiCl4. It is further purified by distillation to obtain pure Titanium Tetra Chloride in the liquid form which is stored in storage vessels. Titanium Tetra Chloride is vaporized, pre heated and oxidized with oxygen in the Oxidation Plant to produce raw Titanium Dioxide at a high temperature.
Beneficiated Ilmenite (BI) is the raw material for the Pigment Production Plant. BI from Ilmenite Beneficiation Plant is chlorinated in the Chlorination Plant to produce Titanium Tetra Chloride (Tickle). Chlorine reacts with Titanium Dioxide and other metallic oxide impurities in BI in the presence of petroleum coke at a temperature of 9000C in a fluidised bed chlorinator to produce chlorides of Titanium and other impurity metals.
The raw Titanium Dioxide is then classified and surface treated with various chemicals, filtered and washed to remove the salts, sent to the dryer and then to the microniser, in the Pigment Surface Treatment & Finishing Plant. The Titanium Dioxide pigment (in powder form) is subsequently packed.
The plant uses recycling and regeneration methods at various levels of processing, including acid regeneration, which ensures negligent pollution. Responsible harvesting from the seas reaffirms our commitment to the environment.
Sponge Production Process
The Technology being adopted for production of titanium sponge is a batch process based on the Kroll process. The titanium sponge plant is designed to produce 500 TPY of commercially pure Titanium sponge by the reduction and pyro-vacuum distillation of anhydrous titanium tetrachloride (TiCl4) with Magnesium
Magnesio- Thermic Reduction of Titanium TetraChloride(TiCl4) into Titanium Sponge (Ti) and Magnesium Chloride i.e. MgCl2
TiCl4(g) +2Mg (l)=2MgCl2(l) +Ti(s)
Purification of the sponge cake by Pyro-Vacuum distillation to remove lockedup magnesium and MgCl2.
The main steps involved in the process are:
Purification of pigment grade tickle to metal grade
Magnesio-thermic reduction of tickle
High temperature vacuum distillation of Magnesium and Magnesium Chloride
Handling,grading and evaluation of titanium sponge