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A Case Study of Effective Use of Statistical Experimental Design in a Smoke Stack Industry

Summary: In an electric furnace smelting process, there was a large potential for savings in operation costs by switching to a cheaper supply of carbonaceous reducing agent for the furnace. The plant operation staff resisted such a switch for years thinking it would have a negative impact on the production rate and negate all the potential savings. Over the years several plant tests had been conducted to determine the effect of higher proportions of the cheaper reducing agent upon production rate. Due to natural but extreme variability in furnace operation, conclusions of these tests were contradictory, and none conclusive to quantifying the effect. This case study describes how statistical methods were used to study the past data and determine the appropriate length for a definitive plant test, construct an appropriate plan or experimental design for the test and interpret the resulting data to establish a conclusion. Although this case study is real, the name of the company, and specific reference to process variables has been deleted, and the data has been coded to protect proprietary interests.

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  • Topics: Design of Experiments
  • Keywords: Design of experiments (DOE),Mixture experiments,Case study,Analysis of variance (ANOVA)
  • Author: Lawson, John S.
  • Journal: Journal of Quality Technology