Anglo American has partnered with the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and US-based technology company, Ivaldi Group, to explore opportunities to digitally distribute spare parts for mining and processing equipment to be manufactured locally using 3D printing.
The project includes an analysis of Anglo American’s inventory of spare parts, such as impellers for pumps, shaft sleeves, gasket bonnet valves, and mining rock drill bits, exploring the impact of adopting a digitally distributed supply chain, and then digitising, locally producing and testing these parts at Anglo American’s operations in South Africa, Anglo said.
This partnership is the latest manifestation of Anglo American’s Collaborative Regional Development (CRD) approach to helping create “thriving communities”, as part of the company’s Sustainable Mining Plan commitments.
“Through strategic partnerships, CRD aims to create long-term economic prosperity within Anglo American’s host communities and regions beyond the expected life of a mine,” the company said. “To that end, Anglo American launched the Impact Catalyst in 2019 together with its partners the CSIR, Exxaro, Zutari, World Vision SA and the provincial government of Limpopo.”
Matthew Chadwick, Head of Socio-Economic Development and Partnerships at Anglo American, said: “Our FutureSmart Mining™ approach to sustainable mining is presenting us with new and innovative opportunities to build thriving and resilient communities, now and into the future. Through partnerships like this one with CSIR and Ivaldi, we are re-imagining long-established norms to help deliver enduring value to society.
“The ability to send files – not physical spare parts – will reduce our carbon footprint, delivery lead times and logistics costs. Importantly, this has the clear potential to create industrial and service jobs for host communities and surrounding regions through on-demand manufacturing systems to produce spare parts locally.”
Espen Sivertsen, CEO of Ivaldi, said: “We believe that digital distribution of physical goods is a natural next step for the global spare parts supply chain. It is part of the fourth industrial revolution. Working with world-leading organisations like Anglo American and the CSIR, we are now practically demonstrating that there are significant savings for businesses and a net positive impact for the environment and associated communities.”
Charl Harding, CSIR’s Business Development Manager, added: “When we first explored this opportunity to develop sustainable local on-demand manufacturing solutions we saw an immediate fit with our additive manufacturing and materials expertise. The 3D printing of parts along with the application of additive manufacturing technologies to refurbish worn parts offers the potential to create local jobs, promote innovation for the inclusive and sustainable advancement of industry and society whilst responding critical issue of climate change.”