Tag Archives: K+S

K+S shifts digital analytics gears after trials provide InSiTE

A more than three-month trial of GHH’s inSiTE digital analytics solution on a 14-t-payload LF-14 LHD has convinced potash and salt miner, K+S, to complete a rollout of the platform across multiple mine sites.

GHH inSiTE, powered by talpasolutions, can distil complicated and seemingly random information into powerful tools for analysis, according to GHH, with the manufacturer promising the integration into daily operations leads to continuously improved productivity.

In one of the first applications of GHH inSiTE in an operation in the CIS region, the customer achieved decreased downtime, increased utilisation, a 7% reduction in fuel consumption, the identification of inefficiencies in cycle time, and a 12% boost in overall equipment efficiency, according to the company.

K+S was looking to put the promises of GHH to the test and initially agreed on a technical pilot.

This technical pilot and the promising opportunities regarding data analysis and visualisation must have been convincing because, in July, K+S signed up for a commercial deployment of GHH inSiTE. This will see GHH inSiTE used on 150 machines across its mine sites.

Andreas Walczyk, Program Manager, Digital Transformation, at K+S, told attendees of The 2nd International Conference on High-Performance Mining that the trial was a chance for the company to not only gather machine data, but also leverage it to make improvements to its maintenance, production and training processes.

“The main reason for this pilot was to figure out if we were on the right path regarding data logging, network, WLAN and more,” he said. “The answer is yes; the pilot was and is very successful because all of our expectations were met.”

The company came away with around 3,500 operating hours and 27 GB of data to play with and analyse.

It acquired this by connecting to the on-board CAN BUS and engine control systems on the LF-14, logging the machine data over that three-month period, creating a “data buffer” at each site, displaying said data on customisable dashboards, and connecting it all through a cloud-based WLAN system.

K+S has already started the rollout of GHH inSiTE across its operations, with Walczyk keen to see how the machine-to-machine connection can allow loaders to, for example, pick up data from scalers to further improve the operations’ data analytics.

Dr Jan Petzold, GHH Group CEO, says the GHH inSiTE system does not discriminate between mobile or fixed machinery, with operators and supervisors able to customise their dashboards to monitor the data and key performance indicators most important to them.

“Owning data is not good enough, you need to know what to do with the data,” he said. “There is now a tool available to help you improve your maintenance intervals, your mean times between failures, and you have the chance to store this data for review afterwards. We also enable our customers to integrate the data in existing workflows to take better actions based on actionable insights.”

Following the rollout of GHH inSiTE across the 150 machines at multiple operating sites, Walczyk says K+S will then look to integrate the solution into its SAP system.

Also included on the K+S roadmap is a plan to leverage GHH inSiTE for a move into the predictive maintenance arena at its sites, using the platform for spare parts and resource inventory management, performance benchmarking and innovations for targeted product development.

TOMRA delves below ground with K+S sensor-based sorter delivery

TOMRA Sorting Mining has delivered its first underground sensor-based ore sorting solution to K+S Minerals and Agriculture at its rock salt mine in Grasleben, Germany.

The major salt producer looked to TOMRA, which it has a long-standing research and development relationship with, to replace an existing sorting system at the mine.

At the Grasleben mine, rock salt is extracted from an underground deposit that stretches across two states. It is processed into a wide range of products, from de-icing salt for winter road services, to food-grade table salts and lick stones for livestock and domestic animals.

“For K+S, consistently achieving certified and guaranteed high purity, compliant with the strict standards of the food industry, is a priority,” TOMRA said.

Sven Raabe, Technische Büro Mechanik, K+S Minerals and Agriculture, said: “The sorting of rock salt is complex and demanding due to its crystalline properties. This leads to strong fluctuations in the appearance of the material.”

TOMRA recommended using colour sorting technology for this installation, with Mathilde Robben, Key Account Manager at TOMRA Mining, saying the customised setup of light sources allows the system to “detect the difference in transparency of the different particles, ensuring the high quality of the rock salt”.

The team also advised installing the sorter in the underground mine, so, after the initial underground sorting stage, only the coarsely crushed rock salt undergoes further grinding and sieving above ground.

Mathilde Robben, Key Account Manager at TOMRA Mining

“Only the valuable product needs to be transported in the shaft, and the final result is high-quality, pure rock salt products in various grain sizes, which are ideal for this application,” TOMRA said. “Furthermore, waste rejects can be backfilled underground, avoiding storage and emissions on the surface.”

TOMRA conducted a demonstration of the proposed solution at its Demonstration and Test Center in Wedel, Germany. Raabe attended the test with colleagues from K+S’s technical team, Florian Lieske, Stephan Meiberg and Sven Lindner.

“The tests were very well prepared,” Raabe said. “The on-site team quickly developed a feel for our product. The uncomplicated adaptation of the program to the different material qualities also convinced us.”

He added: “An important factor in our purchasing decision was the positive test result achieved with the system, using transmitted light to obtain more efficient separation. This has the added benefit of resource conservation. It is possible to react quickly and individually to changing situations during dismantling. We expect this to be more effective, and the ease of use of the system was also convincing.”

Following this experience and the results of the test, K+S placed the order for TOMRA’s solution, with installation planned for September 2020. The negotiations were conducted via video conference due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions and lockdowns.

The order was entered in TOMRA’s production plan and the Factory Acceptance Test was conducted on September 23, with the sorter transported to the Grasleben mine. It was put in position underground at the mine on September 30.

Robben concluded: “This is the first solution we provide for underground sorting, which raises specific challenges due to the dimensions and weight limitations of the mine shaft. In this project we also had to contend with the difficulties created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am very pleased that we have been able to meet K+S’s requirements and deliver on schedule.”

Beyondie SOP project advances with Ebtec, DRA, Köppern, Firm Construction contract awards

Kalium Lakes has awarded the key contracts for the engineering, procurement, construction management and commissioning associated with the development of the Purification Plant facilities at its Beyondie sulphate of potash project (BSOPP) in Western Australia.

The total value across the four key contracts awarded is in excess of A$60 million ($41 million), according to Kalium Lakes, and will see Ebtec GbR, DRA Global, Maschinenfabrik Köppern GmbH & Co and Firm Construction Pty join the project team.

The Beyondie SOP project aims to commence production at 82,000 t/y of SOP in 2020, before ramping up to 164,000 t/y of SOP for domestic and international sale. An initial mine life of between 30-50 years is anticipated for a project designed to be a low cost, long life and high margin producer, it said.

The contracts allow commencement of early works with the full scope subject to a final investment decision (FID), Kalium Lakes said.

“Importantly, all the contracts awarded are within the budget outlined in the bankable feasibility study (BFS) and front-end engineering and design,” the company said, with the agreements confirming the 15-month construction schedule, post FID, followed by a commissioning and ramp-up period.

The consortium Ebtec GbR is an arrangement between K-UTEC AG Salt Technologies and Ebner GmbR to provide engineering, procurement and supervision (EPS) services for the BSOPP, Kalium Lakes said. Kalium Lakes said both parties have worked together recently to provide similar services for a SOP plant in Austria that has been successfully running for several years. Ebtec will supply the process plant and provide equipment installation supervision, followed by the commissioning of the plant.

Ebtec’s EPS contract includes performance guarantees to ensure the quality of SOP production is in line with the requirements of an offtake agreement with fertiliser producer K+S and includes liquidated damages for performance and schedule, Kalium Lakes said.

An engineering, procurement and construction management contract has been executed with DRA, with that company taking the lead on overall BSOPP development and commissioning, according to Kalium Lakes. “DRA brings significant global and Western Australia specific project development experience, combined with SOP specific knowledge and experience that was developed with the involvement of DRA, since the prefeasibility study stage of the BSOPP,” the company said, adding that DRA has developed the basis for the overall project scope, budget and schedule.

Köppern has been awarded the engineering and supply of key equipment associated with the compaction plant for the production of granular SOP, Kalium Lakes said. “Köppern brings SOP-specific compaction experience and have successfully delivered these plants for other SOP projects, including K+S.”

A construction contract with Firm Construction has also been awarded for various construction services for the BSOPP. Firm is accredited under the WHS Scheme with the Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner, a requirement of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility financing the company has agreed, Kalium Lakes said.

Kalium Lakes’ Chief Development Officer, Rudolph van Niekerk, said: “Companies with SOP-specific experience and capabilities are hard to find, especially when looking for those that have taken projects from design into execution, then on to production. After years of investigation and months of negotiation, we have compiled a contracting strategy that brings a bankable solution, as well as achieving the next significant milestone to take us into the development stage of the project.”