Bradken, as part of a research collective, is to work on a project aimed at delivering a digital step-change in grinding mill design and performance.
The company, which specialises in equipment wear parts and services, made the announcement following the award of an Australian Government grant of A$545,000 ($362,264) for the project, which will focus on comminution and developing super-accurate simulations of the grinding mill process, it said.
Bradken Global Research and Development Manager, Reece Attwood, said the potentially game-changing project would give global mining and resources operators the ability to precisely target grinding efficiency, mill liner service life, power consumption and carbon emissions, to optimise their operations.
“The constant evolution of the global raw material market and the changing needs of our customers’ demands that Bradken innovates so we can deliver solutions that offer improved productivity, but on a whole new level,” Attwood said.
“This exciting project aims to accelerate improvements in mill design through development of an enhanced digital twin while, combining a number of technologies such as IoT instrumentation, enhanced simulation techniques and deep learning.”
The project will be hosted by the University of Newcastle through its flagship research institute, the Newcastle Institute for Energy and resources (NIER) in collaboration with the University of New South Wales and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), as well as international involvement from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.
Attwood said Bradken and the University of Newcastle had a long history of partnerships.
“Working with organisations like the University of Newcastle brings a bigger mix of ideas from a wider range of backgrounds all focused on the same significant challenge,” he said. “This collaboration will help generate the innovation our industry and our customers need to take the next step forward.”
Chief Investigator on the project, Professor Craig Wheeler, from the University of Newcastle, said the cross-disciplinary team will merge expertise from solids processing and artificial intelligence to develop new computational algorithms.
“Our work will enhance the design and maintenance of key industrial equipment, predict wear and optimise the design of key components to improve the life of machinery to process minerals,” Professor Wheeler said.
Leading the project for Bradken is Senior Research Scientist – Process Control, Dr Wei Chen, who, according to Bradken, has extensive experience in both industry research and applied numerical modelling.
Dr Chen said: “Partnering with a group of leading research experts from Australia and abroad, gives us access to world class thinking in IoT, deep learning and numerical modelling.
“Together we’ll go through a rigorous experimental and numerical research program that we expect will deliver considerable benefits for our customers around the world.
“Involving our customers in the research process through site trials will keep us together at the forefront of mineral processing technology.”
Work on the project is planned to get underway in March.