ABB has launched a new digital application to optimise dry bulk material handling for stockyard operations and beyond.
The new ABB Ability™ Stockyard Management System enables fully integrated collaborative operation by connecting all available information and process data to optimise bulk material handling terminals and stockyards of coal-fired power plants, steel plants or mines, the company said.
“Offering sophisticated material tracking and quality management, the new ABB Ability™ Stockyard Management System increases the efficiency of stockyards in connecting consecutive steps in complete materials transportation chains,” ABB said.
This enables seamless integration in production planning, providing real time information on handled material and supports the management of one or multiple inputs and outputs of different material qualities, storage, mixing and blending, ABB said.
It is a configurable system that can be used to digitalise the complete material handling chain, according to the company. The material flow can be modelled across all belt conveyors and transportation equipment with material properties and quality information via automated data interfaces.
Franz Rietschel, Global Product Manager for Stockyard Management System, said: “This application is the latest example of how ABB as a pioneering technology leader in digital industries is helping our customers to realize the true potential of digital to optimise their operations and achieve a certain quality of outgoing material. Just-in-time or even just-in-sequence is long-established in the automotive industry; now these techniques are available for bulk material handling logistics too.”
Notable features of ABB Ability™ Stockyard Management System include:
- A calculated stacking model built up according to the tracked material and acting as a ‘digital twin’ of the stockyard. This provides the operator with an inventory overview at any time, without the need of an extra survey. All data can be used for operational optimisation such as efficient space use in a yard, better planning and scheduling, or more accurate mixing and blending processes;
- Control and prediction of the material flow in various lines with material forecast, tracking and production history;
- The ability to coordinate all excavators in the mine or yard machines in the plant at the right position with the right timing to realise proactive production control which enables online mixing material according to tracking, forecasting and online quality control;
- Laser scanners or drones which can provide additional surface information of their environments enable a nearly real time update of the pile surface even after material movements due to environmental influences or due to the use of mobile machines;
- A ‘slice view’ feature which allows operators a look at the inside of a pile to check the material mix and quality, determine its arrival time or changing material properties when more accurate information are available;
- Modelling for intra-supply-chain quality optimization allowing operation staff to view tonnes and grade by digging position and belt scale values according to geological model and online analysers which provide information on the various material properties, and;
- Automated interfaces to different systems provide a seamless workflow from ERP to control system for mine, plant and stockyard operations. An integration of PIMS, MES, production-, maintenance- and down-time planning or laboratory management systems combines all available information for analytics at the right time.
ABB Ability™ Stockyard Management System employs sophisticated data collection and configuration management to interface with and various IT and OT applications and systems. This includes connectivity to IT and ERP systems through web services, TCP/IP socket communication or direct database access; data interfaces OT automation systems through OPC and if OPC is not supported thru low level data interfaces based on data wrappers.
ABB said: “The new ABB Ability™ Stockyard Management System is the latest addition to the portfolio of ABB Ability™ digitally-enabled industry solutions, products and services. Developed out of years of sector expertise and customer insights, ABB Ability facilitates automation, the integration of data and the real-time optimisation of mining and plant processes.”