Knowledge Based Sootblowing

Our Knowledge-based SootBlowing (KSB) application uses the Griffin AI Toolkit(R) as the platform to implement Intelligent Sootblowing (ISB) for improved coal-fired power plant operation and unit cleanliness. The system can utilize any existing hardware (e.g., flux sensors, thermocouples, furnace cameras, etc.) or include hardware installation to maximize the efficiency and stability of your furnace through optimal boiler cleanliness. Watch a live system at work in the video below!

Sootblowing Optimization

Benefits – Upgrade your time based sequencing system with an effective and easy to use system that continually monitors plant conditions and evaluates which blower will offer the maximum benefit. Avoids unnecessary sootblowing activities while improving the stability of key operating parameters. Reduces time spent by operations ‘cleaning up’ the unit and permits greater availability of blowers for dual header systems. Results in improved heat rate and less stress on heat transfer surfaces.

High Availability – Within KSB the focus is on cleaning to maintain temperatures, pressures, and temperature and pressure deltas across the furnace, along with other key control signals. This results in a high availability system for continually evaluating priorities versus current conditions.

Easy Customization, Low Maintenance – Taber’s KSB application is configured through a series of user tuning screens and an easy to use Graphical Programming Environment (GPE). No programming is required and there are no ‘black-box’ components. The end-user operators and engineers can easily modify the system over time to meet changing objectives and conditions.

Quick and Cost Effective Installation – KSB is designed to provide the maximum benefit without requiring expensive new equipment, sensors or time consuming calculations. The system quickly integrates with existing open PLC systems. In many cases, the operator can keep their existing displays.

System Overview

The Taber KSB system is configured to fit your operating needs. Once configured, the KSB system will perform an evaluation of each of the blowers every few seconds against the desired control values. When a sootblowing operation is permitted, the priority of every blower will be calculated based on the user-set tunable parameters. These parameters are dynamic (e.g. RH blowers may get their ranking factor accelerated relative to economizer blowers when final RH steam temperature are low). These live system evaluations take place in well under 1 second, meaning that the system can be immediately responsive as necessary to changing unit conditions (e.g. steam temperature spikes that need a quick blower activation to mitigate). 

All parameters are available through tuning screens, and prioritization logic is viewable and changeable through the Taber application GPE. With this user-friendly setup, tuning is available to a wider set of engineers and operators and logic changes are accessible to the end-user without supplier intervention.
With the Taber KSB system, sootblowing operations now activate based on key unit parameters and constraints, resulting in a break from ‘blind’ time blowing.

Below is a sample tuning screen. Columns in green are areas an engineer uses to tune the system. Status reflects blower state and additional alarms created by Griffin for detecting blowers that have failed to activate or failed to run a sufficient period of time. The current history of activations and ranking of upcoming activations within the blower group are indicated, and the reasons for accelerated run time (rules) or paused activation (holds) are shown. The reason for the last blower activation are also displayed.

The Taber KSB system has the ability to add operator features, separate from the PLC’s. For example, a prohibit may be created to prevent blowing on one side of the furnace due to elevated temperatures, which allows some blowers to remain active while conditions improve on the opposite side blowers. This ability to keep some blowers in service avoids the need to do ‘catch-up’ manual blowing.

Using the Taber KSB system frees operators from time consuming sootblowing operations, while standardizing the method for determining blower activation. System responds to changes in fuel, long periods at full loads and other characteristics.


  • The GPE allows users access to all logic and tuning, with simple 2 click update feature.
  • The Taber KSB implements additional checks on blower activation, which provides quick feedback via e-mail (where permitted) to key personnel of non-functional blowers.
  • Effectiveness tables track blower effectiveness for all key parameters.
  • The Taber KSB operates/integrates easily with existing sootblowing systems.
  • Constraint system ensures blower activation which helps prevent overblowing and underblowing.


Using the Griffin Toolkit, dynamics between steam temperatures, spray flows, economizer temperatures and other key parameters are captured and used to alter the sootblowing strategy for a dramatic reduction in alarms and overall improved unit cleanliness and energy management. Because the system incorporates the user’s rules and experience, the system is reactive to the process, avoiding many hours previously spent adjusting sequences. The following graphic shows the reduction in time achieved using Taber’s KSB system.

KSB deployments are always specifically tuned to the needs of the unit they are applied to. This often results in two general configurations, the “high-slagging” system and the “high-temperature” system. Each is easily managed using the combination of KSB rules, holds, and data analytics.

“High-Slagging” System Performance Snapshot

“High-Temperature” System Performance Snapshot

User Feedback

The success of the system is best highlighted by one of our user’s feedback.
Per Ben Hanneken, Career Engineer, Labadie Energy Center, Engineering

“The Griffin system works very well. As you know, our previous system was sequence-based. Griffin is a huge improvement over our previous system and it is maintaining the cleanliness very well.
We’ve had a few short boiler outages on our unit where Griffin is installed. I make it a point to check the reheater for slag when the unit is off. I haven’t seen any issues. The operators ask me, “When are we going to roll Griffin out to the rest of the units?” My standard answer is usually “not soon enough”.
Before Griffin, I was walking the unit down easily once a week, sometimes more. Usually we asked Operations to blow certain lances, which required verification and a physical check to make sure it achieved the level of cleanliness that we wanted. Sometimes I would change sequences to get the boiler clean…which usually required a week or so to tweak the sequence, document the changes and verifications. Before Griffin, boiler cleanliness consumed 30% of my day. Now with Griffin, I don’t do any of the tweaking anymore. Griffin does it for us.
As pleased as I am with Griffin, what amazed me most was how smoothly and effectively Griffin was rolled out. It was almost seamless and very professionally done. I’ve never been involved, at any place I’ve ever worked, where a change of this magnitude was rolled out so smoothly and seamlessly across multiple shifts.”


Preferred implementation is to integrate with existing DCS sootblower controls through an OPC server or Modbus TCP/IP Ethernet link connection. The KSB application will be installed on a separate server and communicate with the DCS to retrieve live operating data and send activation signals to the DCS to activate blower hardware. This structure allows for rapid deployment of the KSB application while leaving all process limits and safety logic in place.

The KSB application is fully capable of communicating directly with Sootblower PLCs or with the sootblower hardware directly. Contact us to discuss your specific unit circumstances and the most effective implementation approach.

Contact us today to learn more!

    For more information, please contact:
    Taber International, LLC
    PO Box 204, Orangeville, UT