Tag Archives: ABB

ABB adds to Knowledge Manager following pilot trials

ABB has announced the newest version of its Knowledge Manager (KM) software, following direct customer feedback from several worldwide pilot installations of the technology.

ABB Ability™ Knowledge Manager 9.1 offers new features to improve usability and engineering capabilities for mining and cement customers, according to the company.

Eduardo Lima, Global Product Manager Digital Mining and Cement at ABB, said: “This version of ABB Ability Knowledge Manager is a great example for how we collaborate closely with our customers to design and improve the solutions they need for their operations.”

Older KM installations can be upgraded to this new version, which further builds upon the improvements started in its previous 9.0 version, and now includes visually improved dashboards. Outdated chart technologies are continuously being replaced with a variety of newer ones that are based on HTML5, providing more interactive functions and better performance.

The new version also supports engineering based on standard ISA-95 equipment model and provides engineering synchronisation with other ABB solutions, such as ABB Ability™ AssetVista, for easier integration. New data collection mechanisms using the OPC UA standard are now also available, enabling simpler and more secure integration with other systems and solutions.

ABB said: “Information management and transparency across operations is key for users at all plant levels. There is a particular need at companies with multiple plants to understand why these are operating at different performance levels. An integrated information management system, such as ABB Ability Knowledge Manager, allows sharing knowledge across sites in the organisation.”

KM provides analytical insight to identify best practices and improve overall operation at the plant and at corporate levels, according to the company. The system incorporates leading-edge digital capabilities and technology, providing mining and cement industry customers with the ability to view, analyse, and act upon critical data, ABB says.

Integrated with the ABB Ability™ System 800xA process control system and its extensive Minerals Library, Knowledge Manager includes an easy-to-use mobile interface, so operators can access process performance information at any time from any location. The new version also includes functions to create, view, and share reports, charts, and trend analysis, and improvements to navigation and information storage.

The company concluded: “Knowledge Manager simplifies production management by enabling performance monitoring, downtime management and maintenance support, as well as providing statistical production analysis tools. It provides solutions and advanced tools to facilitate the collection, consolidation and distribution of production, quality and energy information via web-based dashboards, reports, trends, and graphs.”

Trolley assist to take off, ABB’s Hammarström says

Thanks to Boliden’s recent trial at its Aitik open-pit mine, in Sweden, the subject of trolley assist is back on the mining industry’s agenda.

Offering environmental and productivity benefits, trolley assist technologies have been spoken of for decades. In the height of the oil crisis of the 1970s, numerous studies examining applications were completed and miners made preparations to reduce their reliance on diesel.

Despite this, widespread industry adoption has not occurred. There have been some installations in Africa, in addition to one in Turkey (Kisladag), but the technology has not caught on to the extent many thought would happen.

ABB, which supplies not only batteries, drives and motors for battery-electric equipment, but can also provide the infrastructure required for trolley assist projects, believes the market is about to turn once again. Gunnar Hammarström, Global Product Manager Trolley Electrification Systems for ABB, thinks there are three main reasons why it is about to take off.

“One is the legislation and environmental part of the business case,” he told IM.

Boliden, which has moved from the 700 m trolley line trial at Aitik to confirming it will install an additional 3 km of trolley line at the mine, plus 1.7 km at Kevitsa (in addition to the accompanying conversion of diesel-electric haul trucks), says it will reduce its diesel consumption by 5,500 cu.m/y when its investment is complete. That is a big number.

“Another completely different reason for why demand has been picking up, especially for larger trucks, is there are a lot of diesel-electric trucks coming into mines,” he said. These trucks already have an electrical system on board to tap into, which makes it easy to put them on a trolley line.

Lastly, fuel prices are increasing all the time, Hammarström said. This is leading miners to diversify their energy mix to help reduce input costs.

When added to the productivity gains that can be achieved with trolley assisted haul trucks and the reduction in noise when trucks run on this line, it is hardly surprising Boliden is not the only one charging into trolley assist.

In the last year alone, First Quantum Minerals has said it will equip its Cobre Panama copper-gold mine, in Panama, with trolley assist, while Austria iron ore miner, VA Erzberg, has announced it intends to electrify the main haul road of its Erzberg mine site and operate a fleet of T 236 trucks from 2021 under trolley assist.

On top of this, RNC Minerals has said it is studying the use of trolley assist at its Dumont nickel-cobalt project in Quebec, Canada.

While trolley assist has been used long before the mine electrification phenomenon we know today gained traction, Hammarström sees trolley assist helping facilitate this market move.

“Generally speaking, I think for most of the vehicles you have in a mine, you can go on battery, but it is very far into the future where you have major uphill transportation of all your production in the mine through batteries,” he said.

The technology involved with stationary charging and the ability to re-charge the battery when going downhill would need to improve on the biggest haul trucks to make it a viable proposition, he explained.

“Yet, if you look into the future – and not that far – a diesel electric trolley might be an intermediate phase,” he said. “If you have invested in trolley now, you can certainly use it when you have batteries (driving the trucks).”

This could see battery-powered haul trucks carry out tasks ‘off-line’ when going downhill or on a flat before they ‘attach’ back onto the line for uphill transportation of material when the battery is recharged.

“I think after diesel-electric powered haul trucks, it will be a really good chance for on-board charging,” he said of the trolley infrastructure.

ABB increasing milling power and availability with GMDs

As IM goes to press on its November issue, which includes a feature on Drives and Controls, one of the leaders in this space, ABB, reflects on the spate of new copper miners to have opened up in South America, Russia and Kazakhstan, and the drive solutions powering them forward.

This online editorial feature also comes as ABB’s solution for the Cobre Panama open-pit copper mine moves into continuous operation.

Gearless mill drives (GMDs) are the grinding solution of choice in challenging environments. By eliminating bolt-on mechanical components such as ring-gears, pinions, couplings and gearboxes, GMDs offer ore producers unrivalled availability, efficiency and durability, while reducing operating expenditure, according to GMD provider ABB.

“Both ring-geared mill drives and GMDs can be employed to drive autogenous, semi-autogenous (SAG) and/or ball mills,” says Marcelo Perrucci, Global Product Line Manager, Grinding, at ABB.

“The applications may be the same, but the challenge now is to develop bigger drivetrains with the power to drive these larger grinding mills – and this is exactly where GMDs come into their own.”

Energy savings

Unlike more traditional ring-geared mill drives – where a ring-shaped gear encircles the mill and drives it through one or two pinions followed by conventional motors – GMDs work by mounting rotor poles directly to the mill body and surrounding it with the stator ring, meaning the mill itself is incorporated into the motor.

The necessary torque to turn the mill is transmitted between the GMD motor and the mill via the magnetic field in the tiny air gap between the stator and rotor. Because this type of motor system requires no gearing or direct contact transmission, GMDs boost efficiency by reducing frictional losses, while fewer mechanical critical components means less maintenance downtime is required due to wear and tear, according to ABB.

“GMDs offer the highest power and availability compared to other driving methods,” confirms Perrucci. “Efficiency gains are possible by eliminating mechanical components that may fail and add unexpected and costly bottlenecks in the production process.”

ABB GMDs use a high efficiency cycloconverter to drive the motor. The same efficiency applies to other system components like transformers and the motor control centres incorporated into ABB’s E-house solution called Control Block; together, these advancements can boost energy optimisation in grinding mills by as much as 3%, according to the company.

“That equates to a significant amount of money saved, especially when you consider that some modern mines may have as many as six 15–25 MW GMDs running in parallel,” explains Perrucci.

Visualisation

Advancements in big data, and digital technologies such as the industrial internet of things, the cloud, data analytics, artificial intelligence and advanced modelling algorithms now offer mining companies unprecedented visualisation and transparency along the entire mine production chain, enabling them to carry out predictive rather than reactive maintenance operations from remote locations.

Using the ABB Ability™ cloud platform, GMD operators can access key system parameters, gathering and collating real-time data from sensors in the system, everything from insulation monitoring to status of the air gap to the temperature of rotor poles and stator windings.

Every hour of unplanned shutdown in a mine can cost the operator hundreds of thousands of dollars. Predicting when key parameters will reach critical levels and halt production is, therefore, crucial.

Using data sets collected from the GMD that are processed by specialised algorithms in the ABB Ability Cloud platform, together with ABB engineers, critical situations can be predicted and then timely notify customers in advance, avoiding costly downtimes.

Perrucci uses a real-world example to illustrate the point: “The system alerted us to the fact that there was an anomaly in the air gap between the rotor and the stator,” he recalls. “The ABB Ability predictive maintenance system sent an automatically generated SMS and email to the customer and to ABB’s lifecycle manager advising them to check it. They stopped the machine and found a small nut in the air gap that could have scratched the insulation and maybe even caused something more serious. An investigation followed as to identify why the nut was there in the first place and the most plausible cause was that somebody accidentally dropped it while inspecting the machine.

“We have reports from customers that almost 100 hours of downtime have been avoided by using this proactive approach to servicing,” he said.

Perrucci added: “All this is only possible if the machine has the right instrumentation in place.

“Much like a passenger airplane, GMDs are equipped with dozens of sensors to protect it and help the operators to run it smoothly. ABB makes no compromise in its availability-centred design. Our focus is not to eliminate critical protection components of the system to cut costs. We want to give operators peace of mind and allow them to embark on the 4th Industrial Revolution. This is only possible if we have the right instrumentation in place as well as a robust condition monitoring system. To date, ABB has the capability to remotely support over 100 mills in operation, while over 30 of them are already benefiting from our ABB Ability predictive maintenance platform.”

Improving insulation and preventing moisture ingress

Water and moisture ingress can potentially be a significant issue in ring motors, especially at sites with high levels of precipitation and humidity. In 2005, ABB modified its insulation system and, more than 100 machine years and 6 million operating hours later, no major problems have been reported.

“Our heat exchangers – located in the cooling box structure – are solely installed on the bottom of the motor, for example, meaning there is no risk of water ingress elsewhere, whereas in non-ABB GMD designs the cooling boxes are placed around the stator, increasing the risk of water leakage,” explains Perrucci.

“We also use leak detection instrumentation in the cooling boxes, humidity and air temperature sensors, differential pressure transmitters and flow meters to detect any leak due to any changes in these parameters.

“Our single-bar winding design concept allows for full continuous vacuum pressure impregnated insulation. We can also employ online partial discharge monitoring, especially when the mine is situated in high altitude areas, such as in Chile and Peru.”

Case studies: Aktogay and Bozshakol

ABB has partnered with Kaz Minerals to supply GMDs for the company’s Aktogay and Bozshakol copper mines in Kazakhstan, both of which are expected to process 25 Mt/y of ore.

ABB was awarded a multi-million contract to provide a 28 MW GMD for a 40 ft (12.2 m) SAG mill and two 22 MW drives for a pair of 28 ft (8.5 m) ball mills at Aktogay, and three identical systems at Bozshakol. Each includes phase and excitation transformers, a ring motor with a local mill control panel, and a containerised electrical house (E-house) including cycloconverter and advanced specific grinding control software.

“We are currently working on the expansion of Aktogay, which aims to double its capacity,” explains Perrucci. “ABB will install an additional 40 ft, 28 MW SAG mill and two 28 ft, 22 MW ball mills to the project in order to meet the challenge of higher-capacity production coupled with low ore grades.

“It obviously costs operators less in terms of capital expenditure to expand existing operations rather than build a new mine, and we have added more digital streaming capabilities to these new GMDs.

Global reach

Since the first GMD was delivered in 1969, ABB has sold more than 130 units in 23 countries and currently has over 50% market share, it says.

“We are investing a lot in the ABB Ability platform and also improving our existing GMDs to make them even better in terms of predictive modelling,” says Perrucci. “ABB is also working on digital twin technology, using augmented and virtual reality for training and maintenance.

“This will allow us to build up a virtual picture of the GMD system and environment so that maintenance can be carried out in the mixed reality platform before it is applied to the actual machine.”

Boliden backs trolley assist haulage for Aitik and Kevitsa

Boliden has decided to invest SEK300 million ($31.2 million) to expand the trolley assist facilities at its Aitik copper mine, in Sweden, as well as implement the corresponding technology at its Kevitsa nickel mine, in Finland.

The investments, to be made mainly during 2020-2021, come on top of the money invested in a two-year trolley assist pilot project at Aitik. This project saw Eitech and ABB supply electrical infrastructure; Pon Equipment and Caterpillar carry out truck modifications; and Chalmers University provide supporting research on system aspects of the electrification. It led to a 700 m electric trolley line being installed and four Cat 795F haul trucks being converted.

The project was also supported by the Swedish Energy Agency and saw investment in a 10 MW capacity DC substation.

Aitik is currently the only mine in the arctic where electric trolley has been installed, according to Boliden.

Mikael Staffas, President and CEO of the Boliden Group, said: “We are now taking further steps to improve both productivity and climate impact at our two open-pit mines.”

In Aitik, a further 3 km of electric trolley line will be built and another 10 trucks will be converted for electric trolley lines. Overall, the plant means that greenhouse gas emissions from transportation over the life of mine are reduced by nearly 15%.

In Kevitsa, 13 mining trucks will be converted for electric trolley lines at the same time as the 1.8-km-long electric trolley line is being built. The investment means that greenhouse gas emissions over the life of mine are reduced by 9%.

The electric trolley installations are being deployed in stages until 2022.

Boliden calculates that this move will reduce diesel consumption by 5,500 cu.m/y when the investment is completed.

In addition, productivity gains are expected as the electrically powered trucks can run at a higher speed than the diesel equivalents.

The working environment for the drivers is also improved, not least through lower noise levels, Boliden added.

ABB’s six gearless drives at heart of first copper production at FQM Cobre Panama

Copper production is underway at large open-pit mine Cobre Panama, owned by First Quantum Minerals Ltd. Technology leader ABB has deployed six ABB Gearless Mill Drives in Panama resulting in commercial concentrate production, which was announced this month.

Cobre Panama, which spans 13,600 hectares, is located 120 km west of Panama City in the Donoso district, Colon province and 20 km from the Caribbean Sea coast. The first project of its kind in Panama, Cobre Panama has significant copper deposits that are expected to be explored over the next 30 to 40 years and is forecast to contribute up to 5% of Panama’s gross domestic product (GDP). The Panamanian company that holds the Cobre Panama concession, Mineria Panama SA (MPSA), was incorporated under the laws of the Republic of Panama in January 1997.  Following a period of ownership transition, First Quantum Minerals, a well-established and growing metals and mining company, increased its ownership of Cobre Panama to 90% in November 2017.

The six ABB Gearless Mill Drives, which are the most powerful mill drive systems on the market for semi-autogenous (SAG), ball and autogenous mills, have been installed since late last year and are all now in continuous operation.  Two 28 MW gearless mill drive systems (GMDs) are operating in the company’s 40 ft SAG mills and four 16.5 MW GMDS are employed in 26 football mills along with associated control systems.

“Gearless mill drives are the ‘workhorses’ for grinding operations which are at the heart of any mine. The six ABB GMDs at the world class Panama Cobre project are extremely robust given demanding ambient conditions.  As the ore extraction pace indicates they are maximising throughput,” said Rene Chacon, Project Manager at ABB for Cobre Panama. “They allow operators to react to changes in ore characteristics due to variable speed and, by optimising the process, are more efficient in their use of grinding power.”

ABB has also installed its extended automation system, ABB Ability™ System 800xA at Cobre Panam, which empowers mine operators to drive efficiency, by making more accurate and timely decisions. ABB Ability Remote Service Centers, which provide state-of-the-art remote diagnostic services, maintenance reports, remote online monitoring of critical assets, and access to ABB’s product and maintenance experts are also installed.

ABB Gearless Mill Drives such as those at Cobre Panama can operate under the most extreme environmental conditions like high altitudes or varied climates in remote locations. Due to their optimised design, they maximise reliability and availability of grinding mills.

ABB provides plant managers with more visibility

ABB has looked to upgrade its ABB Ability™ System 800xA Minerals Process Control Library with a new graphical interface that provides operators with relevant process information in its “situational context”.

Successfully operating in more than 450 cement and mining sites worldwide, the Minerals Process Control Library is an automation software solution for both industries designed to achieve the highest plant productivity, availability and safety, as well as the best operator efficiency, ABB says.

The new ABB 800xA 6.1 automation platform update has further improved the solution, according to the company.

It comes with a completely new clear and intuitive graphical interface for process displays, faceplates and workplace layout, which enables awareness of any given situation in a plant, according to the company. It also offers an extensive set of options for adapting presentation so that the focus can be tailored, and users can navigate to the required information much faster.

A key new feature that comes with the update is the “unique alarm system”. This enables plant operators to immediately detect, understand and resolve all types of process situations and disturbances in minimum time, according to the company.

“The most critical elements of the production process are emphasised through a combination of context-based information and consistent alarm colours and shapes, ensuring that attention is always drawn to those requiring immediate response.”

The wider release follows the first installation of the updated ABB Ability™ System 800xA Minerals Process Control Library at the Hoghiz cement plant in the Brasov region of Romania, which produces 1 Mt/y of cement.

Razvan Cocea, Head of Electrical and Automation for CRH Hoghiz Plant, said the latest version of the system, which has been in operation at the plant since early July, provides a much clearer process displays.

“”With the new visual control graphics, it is now immediately obvious which equipment requires attention,” he said. “The new process alarms instantly alert operators when something is wrong. They can then easily navigate to the detailed displays to find the root cause of the problem and take appropriate measures to bring the process up and running again.”

Michael Marending, Lead Engineer at ABB, said the growing level of automation and intercommunication in industries such as mining and cement means fewer people are managing much larger plant areas.

“This adds complexity to daily plant operation and places increasing demands on today’s control room personnel,” he said. “The ability of humans to be able to respond, with good decisions at the right time, is crucial for the optimization of plant efficiency and reliability.”

He continued: “Visualisation is critical to the process, providing the main interface between humans and the production site. This new HMI offers a whole new set of functions and makes real-time information much more accessible to operators. The new visual control graphics make it easier for all users of the system to take the right decisions in any situation and allow operators, maintenance and engineers to collaborate in new ways. Visual control graphics can be easily integrated into other existing ABB and external vendor subsystems.”

ABB Ability™ System 800xA Minerals Process Control Library is part of the ABB Ability™ MineOptimize portfolio of digitally connected products, services and solutions that enable mines and cement plants to maximise visibility, reliability, productivity and energy efficiency and optimise performance.

AI lays groundwork for process control improvements at Boliden Aitik

A series of tests at Boliden’s Systems Technology division has indicated that artificial intelligence (AI) could unlock further gains from its productivity efforts at the Aitik copper mine, in Sweden.

The company, which partnered up with ABB for these tests, conducted the AI studies to see if technology is available today that could make its concentrators “self-learning,” it said.

The trial took place during the autumn and took a closer look at how AI could be used by Boliden to optimise its concentration processes.

Aitik, meanwhile, is in the middle of an expansion plan that will see production increase from 36 Mt/y to 45 Mt/y of copper ore starting in 2020.

Development Engineer and Project Manager, Johannes Sikström, explained: “At Systems Technology, we develop dynamic simulations of our processes. These simulations can be used in the same way as a game where we define what is a win and what is a loss.

“In the case of self-learning algorithms – so-called deep learning or reinforcement learning – the challenge is the great quantity of data necessary for the algorithm to learn enough about the system for it to make effective decisions.

“This is why games are such a major area within AI research. Games are well suited to enable algorithms to train themselves, and what constitutes a successful result – a win – is also well defined,” he said.

The simulation models enable the company to re-create data equivalent to several decades in just a few hours, according to Boliden.

In its previous projects, Boliden primarily researched machine-learning techniques that analyse data without allowing the algorithm itself to influence it. The aim of the latest project was to allow the algorithm to self-learn instead.

Following initial studies into suitable tools together with Anders Hedlund from data analysis firm BI Nordic, the project led to a degree project in a collaboration involving ABB and Boliden. Max Åstrand from ABB was appointed Supervisor, with his colleague Mattias Hallén taking the lead.

Sikström said: “We directed our attention to the grinding process in Aitik, where we have a well-developed simulation model. We wanted to see if AI was able to do better than our existing control strategy.

“Mattias did a fantastic job setting up the architecture and getting the various environments to ‘play ball’ with each other. We were then able to test various algorithms and different goal functions.”

To begin, Boliden tested a “Q-learning algorithm” which had a goal of trying to control the mill’s load within a given range. After around 40 attempts, the algorithm taught itself to do just that, according to Boliden, acknowledging that it solved the task using a method that would not work in the real world.

In the next step, Boliden investigated the ability of the algorithm to optimise a “gain” instead of optimising a process variable. The goal function for the gain was created as a theoretical model using metal prices, grinding and throughput, for example.

Sikström said: “With this goal function, the AI algorithm succeeded in beating our PID (project initiation documentation) structure to produce a greater gain. So-called wall time was around 80 hours before AI had learned to run the process profitably, in this case equivalent to a plant operating time of more than 300 years.

“The study highlights the value of simulations, and the AI technology shows exciting development opportunities for Boliden’s future process control.”

While the test results were positive, with AI performing better than Boliden’s current control method, Sikström said further studies were necessary before the company considers approaching a viable production solution.

He concluded: “Several technical details need to be resolved, and it is important to use accurate simulation models and well-defined goal functions.

“Because an algorithm is only able to solve the problems formulated for it, process knowhow and experience are at least as important in this type of development as classic process control.”

ABB’s Adrian Beer to replace Dover as METS Ignited CEO

METS Ignited has appointed Adrian Beer as its new CEO, solidifying, the company says, “the organisation’s focus on delivering outcomes for the sector and responding to the opportunities presented by Industry 4.0”.

Announcing the appointment, METS Ignited Chair, Lyle Bruce said Beer is a globally experienced executive with a broad range of industry skills spanning more than 20 years in the METS (mining equipment technology and services) and mining sectors.

“Adrian’s experience with global METS and mining organisations and his international relationships will help METS Ignited to grow and expand local opportunities,” Bruce said.

Beer, who took up the hot seat today, was previously Asia-Pacific regional leader for ABB Enterprise Software. He joined ABB to lead the information technology/operational technology integration strategy for mining, including responsibility for both product management and solution strategy of ABB’s Intelligent Mining and Enterprise Asset Management product lines, METS Ignited said.

Prior to ABB, Adrian was a founding member of GE Mining, the business unit of General Electric responsible for its mining business operations in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia.

Increasingly, METS Ignited’s programs have taken on a digital technology focus to equip Australia METS companies with the tools and skills they need to win more work and grow their businesses, the growth centre said.

“The new CEO has worked for two of the largest technology companies in the world, bringing with him first-hand experience of the impact of technology on global asset intensive industries,” METS Ignited said.

Acting CEO, Ian Dover, said the appointment is exciting for both the industry growth centre and the sector.

“Adrian comes to us with a real depth of knowledge and experience from right across the mining value chain, including the global METS companies that are vital to efficient mining operations, making this a great coup for us and the small and large companies we support.”

Reflecting on his appointment, Beer said this is an exciting time to be returning to the METS sector and he is looking forward to being able to support the METS and mining sectors through the industry growth centre.

“I am very impressed with what METS Ignited has already achieved and I am very excited by the opportunity to truly cement Australia’s position as a global hub for innovation in the METS sector,” he said.

Earlier this year, METS Ignited was awarded two more years of funding in recognition of the impact it is already having on individual METS companies and the Australia economy, it said.

ABB closes the short interval control and scheduling loop

ABB, in collaboration with Boliden AB and ArcelorMittal Mining Canada, has launched ABB Ability™ Operations Management System (OMS) for mining, a system that “connects and coordinates mine operators, workforce, equipment and all mining activities in real-time, from face preparation to crusher”.

OMS maximises coordination between weekly production plans and dynamic situations in the mine to improve efficiency, increase productivity and maximise profitability, according to the company.

The company explained: “Mine planners often have to build a short-term plan with limited visibility of ongoing activities in the mine. While mine operators constantly consider and evaluate a complex set of operational constraints, adjusting to ever-changing, day-to-day and hour-to-hour situations. This can impact operational efficiency and raise costs.”

ABB says the integration of short interval control and closed loop scheduling into a single digital platform, ABB’s OMS, will improve responsiveness to unplanned events and reduce production variability through all the mine stages.

The ABB Ability OMS can present ‘what-if’ scenarios in case of task failure or operational change, helping mine operators and planners make better decisions faster, ensuring ongoing operation of the mine and increased productivity, it said. Equipment availability is also improved by moving from a reactive to a predictive maintenance model, according to ABB. “Through all the stages of the production cycle, the production flow from the mine is maximised.”

Eduardo Lima, Product Manager for Integrated Mine Operations at ABB, said: “Although it may seem simple, the coordination between the tactical plan and the operational plan is one of the top challenges faced in modern mining. By offering advanced short-term planning and increased automation, ABB Ability Operations Management System enables the mine to act as an ore factory.”

He added: “Ore inventory can be tracked and controlled to allow maximum flow and optimal grade. By integrating operational technology and information technology, operational awareness is increased for all personnel.

“Staff see the same information at the same time and can jointly decide what actions to take in real time with no need to wait until the end of the shift.”

Short interval control application allows mine operators to monitor and review operational plans and performance based on targets, metrics and key performance indicators. Variances can be analysed and mitigated in real time during a shift for immediate corrective action.

The closed loop scheduling application, meanwhile, combines high-level planning with low-level control through a “heuristic auto-scheduling algorithm”. ABB said: “This allows mine planners to achieve new levels of production scheduling efficiency from bench preparation to crusher, optimising resource usage in real time and following the production plan more effectively.”

In developing ABB Ability OMS with ABB, project teams at both ArcelorMittal Mining Canada’s Integrated Remote Operations Center and the Boliden Mine Operation Center provided operation expertise, existing infrastructure and dedicated resources support, ABB says. The technology was piloted at Boliden’s Renstrom underground mine, in Sweden, and by ArcelorMittal at the Mont-Wright open-pit mine, in Canada.

The ABB Ability OMS is part of the ABB Ability MineOptimize portfolio of digitally connected products, services and solutions aimed at enabling modern mines to “maximise visibility, reliability, productivity and energy efficiency and optimise performance”.

The Electric Mine charges on to Sweden

Following the success of the inaugural Electric Mine event in Toronto, Canada, in April, International Mining Events has wasted no time in confirming the 2020 follow up; this time in Stockholm, Sweden.

Taking place at the Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel on March 19-20, 2020, The Electric Mine 2020 will be even bigger, featuring new case studies from miners implementing electrification projects and presentations from the key OEMs and service suppliers shaping these solutions.

A leading hub in Europe for mining equipment and innovation, Sweden was the obvious choice for the 2020 edition of the event. Miners including Boliden and LKAB have already made electric moves above and below ground, and the north of the country is set to host Europe’s first home-grown gigafactory, the Northvolt Ett lithium-ion battery cell facility.

Sweden and Finland also play host to Europe’s major mining OEMs such as Epiroc, Sandvik, Metso and Outotec (soon to possibly be Metso Outotec Corp), and the Nordic region has a rich mining innovation legacy.

Capacity crowd

The announcement of the 2020 Electric Mine edition comes hot on the heels of a hugely successful debut in Toronto.

With the Radisson Admiral, on Toronto Harbourfront, filled out to capacity, the circa-150 attendees were treated to more than 20 world-class papers from miners Vale, Goldcorp (now Newmont Goldcorp), Kirkland Lake Gold, Boliden and Nouveau Monde Graphite; OEMs Epiroc, Sandvik, Caterpillar, Volvo CE and BELAZ; and equipment and service specialists Siemens, ABB, GE Transportation (a Wabtec company). Presentations from Doug Morrison (CEMI), Marcus Thomson (Norcat), David Sanguinetti (Global Mining Guidelines Group), Erik Isokangas (Mining3) and Ali Madiseh (University of British Columbia), meanwhile, provided the R&D angle delegates were after.

The event was a truly global affair, attracting delegates and exhibitors from Africa, Australasia, Europe, North America and South America, all eager to hear about developments across the sector.

Bigger and better

International Mining Events is upping the ante for 2020, increasing the event capacity to 200 delegates and making plans for a possible site visit to witness electric equipment in action.

Talks from several miners, as well as global international companies, will again underpin the 1.5-day conference program, which will also expand to cover the use of renewable/alternative energy within the field.

There will, again, be opportunities for sponsorship and exhibiting, with several companies already in discussions about booking the prime opportunities for the event.

If you would like to know more about The Electric Mine 2020, please feel free to contact Editorial Director, Paul Moore ([email protected]) or Editor, Dan Gleeson ([email protected]).

In the meantime, we look forward to seeing you in Stockholm!