Tag Archives: Rajkumar Mathiravedu

Orica to open access to the Integrated Extraction Simulator with JKTech deal

Orica says it has signed a landmark software licence agreement with JKTech Pty Ltd that will give it access to models developed by the Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre (JKMRC) that are used in comminution and flotation simulation.

The agreement will open industry access to the Integrated Extraction Simulator (IES) with JKMRC models – by combining widely applied industry models into one integrated and collaborative cloud-hosted platform that simulates and optimises every step in the mining value chain, the company said.

At the back end of last year, Orica was selected as the commercialisation partner for the Cooperative Research Centre for Optimising Resource Extraction’s (CRC ORE) IES, a cloud-based software platform designed to reduce the use of energy and water in mining through the application of simulation, optimisation and machine learning.

IES has been developed from the combined research of CRC ORE, The JKMRC and AMIRA, and, to this point, has been available free to CRC ORE 1 Participants (term 2010-2015) and CRC ORE 2 Participants (term 2015-2021) when used in research projects and site-based implementations.

Integrating and optimising drilling and blasting, crushing, grinding and flotation, IES provides mine managers with a cloud-based decision support platform that enables production departments to coordinate and optimise system value across all operational metrics.

“Mining operations have to process multiple material types simultaneously in their operations – so their simulator platform should be able to as well,” CRC ORE says. “IES has been designed from the ground up as a platform for multi-component modelling and the new generation equipment models are responding to the challenge. Trusted models from years of research have been upgraded to ‘multi-component’ capability and IES offers model developer’s sophisticated tools to facilitate multi-component processing.”

Orica Vice President Digital Solutions, Rajkumar Mathiravedu, said: “This partnership will allow us to continue to underpin advances in simulation and industry value creation, from orebody knowledge through to the final product.”

Orica to take CRC ORE’s IES cloud-based simulation technology global

Orica has been selected as the commercialisation partner for the Cooperative Research Centre for Optimising Resource Extraction’s (CRC ORE) Integrated Extraction Simulator, a cloud-based software platform designed to reduce the use of energy and water in mining through the application of simulation, optimisation and machine learning.

The award followed a competitive selection process, with the global mining explosives and services giant set to take the reins of the platform’s growth strategy from July 2021, with plans for global expansion of the technology.

Orica’s interest was initially driven by IES’s introduction of blast simulation into the mineral processing value chain, CRC ORE said. While mine operators can use controlled blasting techniques as an effective augmentation of the rock breakage process, Orica also saw the wider application of IES as an obvious fit with its expanding digital solutions offer across the whole mining value chain.

“By harnessing the virtually limitless scalability available through cloud computing services, mining companies can now use IES to configure multiple design options for a mineral processing plant,” CRC ORE said. “IES then tasks each design and simulates its performance for every day of operation over the life of a mine. This high-resolution simulation of each design leaves no stone unturned in the pursuit of optimal mineral processing.”

Orica intends to expand this capability into a global solution for mining companies, enabling them to design their mineral processing using IES, and then leverage IES’s capability every day to drive continual operational improvements.

CRC ORE Chief Executive Officer, Dr Ben Adair, said having a company the calibre of Orica as commercialisation partner is testament to the enormous opportunity and benefits that the simulator provides to the mining industry.

“We have worked with our Participants over many years to refine our simulation platform,” Dr Adair said. “As a foundation Participant in CRC ORE, Orica shares our commitment to optimising resource extraction and our passion for the continued development of the simulator.

“The scale offered by Orica’s global reach, in addition to its sustained investment in research and development and unwavering focus on innovation, makes it the ideal custodian of IES.”

Orica has been evolving towards its vision of an integrated ore extraction mining services company, with this vision including investing in digital solutions where continuous innovation and open integration with other industry systems across the mining value chain are key to the delivery of whole of mine optimisation for customers, CRC ORE said.

Orica Chief Commercial and Technology Officer, Angus Melbourne, said Orica is primed to take the simulator global and continually evolve the technology to meet the ever changing needs of the industry.

“This is a great example of industry collaboration developing solutions to industry level problems, and we are extremely proud to be part of it,” he said. “It is a fantastic opportunity to continue Orica’s 11-year relationship with CRC ORE and further expand our digital solutions offering by combining our blasting domain expertise with this leading simulation technology to customers and beyond worldwide.”

Orica Vice President Digital Solutions, Rajkumar Mathiravedu, said: “From a technology perspective, we see enormous synergies with our existing blasting and measurement solutions, including BlastIQ, FRAGTrack and ORETrack. We are also excited to integrate our automated, data science enabled blast design technology and solutions with IES, offering end-to-end digitised workflow solutions from orebody knowledge through to mineral processing in an open, secure, and connected platform.”

CRC ORE’s team of developers and consultant engineers will integrate into Orica from July 2021 and will continue to be led by CRC ORE’s current General Manager for the simulator, Nick Beaton.

Beaton said: “IES is now at the right point in its development to become commercially sustainable while continuing to develop new capabilities. It will be thrilling to continue this with Orica.

“We have demonstrated that the simulator can improve the value of major mine sites by some 5-6; this is significant for the mines using the simulator and for the whole industry.

“Optimisation of processing operations by use of IES will also enable step-change reductions in power and water consumption, while greatly improving recoveries of marginal ores, all contributing to the future sustainability of mining operations.”

The transition of the IES business to Orica will take place in the middle of 2021 when CRC ORE’s term comes to an end. In the meantime, CRC ORE and Orica, together with industry partners, will continue developing innovations to drive continual improvements throughout the mining industry. Continuing this innovation, Orica looks forward to IES participation in the next iteration of the Amira P9 project.

Orica’s FRAGTrack recognised for outstanding design and innovation at Good Design Awards

FRAGTrack™, Orica’s innovative fragmentation measurement technology, has received a prestigious Good Design Award accolade in the Engineering Design category in recognition for outstanding design and innovation.

The award was recieved by Orica and design partners, Design Anthology, Newie Ventures and Your Engineer Mechanical Design, who supported the development of the technology. FRAGTrack captures real-time fragmentation measurement data for optimising drill and blast operations and improves downstream efficiencies in the mining process, Orica says.

The annual Good Design Awards is Australia’s oldest and most prestigious international awards for design and innovation with a history dating back to 1958.

“The awards celebrate the best new products and services on the Australian market, excellence in architectural design, engineering, fashion, digital and communication design, design strategy, social impact design and young designers,” the company said.

The Good Design Awards Jury praised FRAGTrack, commenting: “An innovative design that has the potential to improve commercial and safety outcomes in the mining and extractive industries that use drill and blast techniques. An excellent piece of engineering design using scanning and multi-camera technologies with extensive software engineering in a highly innovative application.

“The robustness of the design and its adaptability are also commended. This is a clever solution to the tedious problem of quantifying fragmentation after blasting. It ruggedises cameras and processors to survive in harsh mining and environmental conditions. Overall, a solid piece of industrial and engineering design that deserves to be recognised and celebrated.”

In accepting the award, Orica’s Vice President of Digital Solutions, Rajkumar Mathiravedu, acknowledged: “We’ve been able to develop this unique digital solution by combining more than 20 years of customer input, internal expertise and collaborations with market-leading specialists Design Anthology, Newie Ventures and Your Engineer Mechanical Design to make it a reality. This award is recognition of the extraordinary people and partners behind this innovative and value delivering technology.

“Throughout the development process we’ve taken the time to listen to the needs of our customers, and then work with them to evolve the design and engineering to suit harsh mining conditions, delivering real impact and outcomes for them – it’s what makes this such a unique and impactful innovation, especially as our customers strive for greater competitive advantage in these challenging times.”

More than 55 Good Design Awards Jurors evaluated each entry according to a strict set of design criteria which covers ‘good design’, ‘design innovation’ and ‘design impact’, Orica says. Projects recognised with a Good Design Award must demonstrate excellence in good design and convince the Jury they are worthy of recognition at this level.

Dr Brandon Gien, CEO of Good Design Australia, said: “Receiving a Good Design Award is a significant achievement given the very high calibre and record number of entries received in 2020.”

Following last month’s ‘Australia’s Most Innovative Manufacturing Company’ and ‘Best Industrial IIoT Application’ awards, this latest recognition further cements FRAGTrack as a pioneer product in mining innovation, Orica said. “It is one of the key value-adding technologies that is reinforcing Orica’s differentiated position in the marketplace,” it added.

Orica on the right Track with new digital blasting solutions

Orica’s suite of rock movement, blast fragmentation and digital blast optimisation solutions have been gaining traction of late, with miners across the globe employing or trialling the products as they look to improve mine site performance.

Ahead of the annual Explosives and Blasting feature (to be published in the International Mining July/August 2020 issue), IM spoke with Rajkumar Mathiravedu, Vice President of Digital Solutions at Orica, to get an update on progress with the company’s digital solutions.

Back in Orica’s 2019 full-year results, Orica mentioned it had secured its first customers in Latin America for its ORETrack™ solution, which provides RFID-based tracking of rock movement from blasting operations.

Mathiravedu said these first adopters were recognising the value delivered by the technology, with ORETrack working well in the initial applications.

“We are also continuing to co-develop and expand our ORETrack technology in collaboration with customers in Latin America, with additional customers adopting the ore tracking capability,” he said.

“Further trials are also planned for the near future, including locations in Australia and North America.”

The number of customers taking up Orica’s FRAGTrack™ solution, which provides blast fragmentation data with auto-analysis capability, meanwhile, has been growing in the face of COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Orica carried out its first fully remote installation of FRAGTrack during lockdown in Australia, with a second in Finland and a third one completed in North America recently.

Mathiravedu said a key focus in developing the solution, which captures real-time fragmentation measurement data for downstream unit productivity improvement and tracking of operational performance, was ensuring it was “a plug and play solution” that could be installed and supported remotely.

“We developed rigorous training material and installation instructions and married these with real-time augmented reality capability to remotely guide and support our customers through the implementation,” he said.

“We have found this particularly advantageous during the COVID-19 restrictions, but also this allows our customers to manage the implementation timing to suit their operations.”

An example of this could be the desire for a customer to install FRAGTrack when the shovels are down for maintenance, without having to wait for an Orica specialist to come to the site and install the system.

Reflecting on the recent remote installation achievements, Mathiravedu said: “This proves we have a successful remote release model that customers are valuing during these unprecedented times.”

BlastIQ workflow integration

Fifteen months after the release of its next generation BlastIQ, Orica has now surpassed the 60-site implementation mark of its digital blast optimisation platform.

Mathiravedu said BlastIQ and the company’s ever-growing digital capabilities are designed to improve blast outcomes by integrating insights from digitally connected technologies at every stage of the drill and blast process to drive continuous improvements for its customers.

“Focusing on the needs of our surface mining customers, we have been able to deliver the benefits of cloud-based technology, providing convenience and flexibility for customers to access their blasting data online anywhere, anytime from any device,” he said.

“Customers are also benefitting significantly from digitising their blasting workflows, delivering efficiencies and improved quality control across their blasting operations, resulting in greater visibility of blast inputs and outputs in real time while benefiting from better blast outcomes.”

As an open, secure, and connected digital platform, BlastIQ’s blast-related data is being integrated directly into customers’ mining value chain and remote operation centres via secure cloud-based APIs, Mathiravedu said.

“This is enabling customers to drive better mine-level decisions based on data integrations between our platform and theirs, creating a stronger bond between planning, drilling, blasting, load and haul and processing operations at the site,” he said.

BlastIQ is an inter-operable platform and is being delivered as a Software as a Service product to customers, meaning they receive new functionality, value and features as soon as they are developed, according to Mathiravedu.

“Enhancements are scheduled and developed based on direct feedback and submissions from our customers all around the world to ensure the product evolves to meet the discrete needs of their operations,” he said.

Outside of BlastIQ specifically, Orica has started to deliver digital optimisation services to its customers, according to Mathiravedu.

“State-of-the-art” digital products and advanced data science and analytics, combined with blasting technical know-how and market-leading blasting technologies, enables customers to cover whole of value chain solutions, enabled by blasting, Mathiravedu said.

“Also, using a series of industry 4.0 smart Internet of Things sensors and Edge computing to replace inefficient manual processes, measurement data can be used in real time to improve future mining outcomes based on data science, analytics and machine-learning algorithms to drive continuous improvement of the entire mining value chain.”