Schneider Electric recently introduced EcoStruxure Automation Expert , which it says is the world ’ s first software-centric industrial automation system
not . True APC is a powerful tool that can stabilise plant operations , reduce losses , maximise throughput , improve product quality and minimise energy consumption . Control loop monitoring software is capable of collecting and analysing massive amounts of loop data from which to identify opportunities for improvement . Model-based predictive control uses a reference model of the process to predict future process behaviour and calculates an optimum set of control moves that minimise the deviations from the desired control objective . Mineral process plants require control over several variables . Linear processes are often managed
via proportional-integral-derivation ( PID ) controllers .
These are control loops with feedback mechanisms that calculate an error value ( difference between the measured process variable and a desired set point ). Systems with more than one control loop are known as multiinput / multi-output ( MIMO ) or multi-variable systems . Fuzzy logic imparts a unique intelligence to machines , enabling them to reason in a non-precise , intuition-like manner similar in some ways to humans . A fuzzy control tool deals with uncertain , imprecise , or qualitative decision-making problems . Embedded fuzzy controllers automate what has traditionally been a human control activity . APC can incorporate elements of all of these technologies getting faster and closer to a desired set-point minimising energy and waste as a result .
Johnson added that Schneider Electric ’ s “ big picture ” is trying to bring together production , maintenance , energy and sustainability for mining customers in integrated operations using both its own expertise but also working with mineral processing equipment OEMs , engineering houses and other stakeholders .
Schneider Electric recently introduced EcoStruxure Automation Expert , which it says is the world ’ s first software-centric industrial automation system – which
ABB and MineOptimize
Marcos Hillal , Global Product Line Manager Automation & Digital for Mining , Aluminium and Cement at ABB told IM that the ABB Ability™ MineOptimize portfolio of engineering capabilities , system solutions , digital applications and collaborative services unifies and optimises the lifecycle of any mine , mineral processing plant and enterprise , from design and build to operation and service . It draws on the ABB Ability™ automation and information management platforms , which are based on proven standardised building blocks , deep domain expertise and connectivity , and ensure the right people have the right information at the right time . " ABB can attest that finding the optimum way of tying these tools together and delivering analysed data to those in the mining hotseat can enable real-time , data-driven decision making for safer , smarter operations that maximise resource efficiency and ultimately contribute to a low-carbon future ."
Key digital applications include Process and Power Control to increase operator effectiveness by focusing on situational awareness , while Advanced Process Control increases productivity to maintain desired quality automatically and 24 / 7 , while also reducing energy consumption . Part of the portfolio is Asset Management and Condition Monitoring that minimises unplanned downtime , increases equipment availability and optimises maintenance . Meanwhile , Operation Management Systems creates greater visibility in mining operations – allowing operators to react live to disturbances and assists planning with automatic scheduling .
“ Collaborative services , which connect specialists with customer teams and equipment on site in real time using ABB applications , are also crucial . Firstly , data is collected from devices , then ABB experts monitor and analyse it remotely at Collaborative Operations Centres before connecting with customers in real time to help identify , prevent and resolve issues . On this side Remote Assistance enables a secure connection between ABB and the customer to provide guidance through remote access and augmented reality . Predictive Maintenance enables equipment to alert mine operators through intelligent cloud-based data analytics when it requires servicing . Lastly , Performance Optimisation services are designed to increase productivity and keep it on the highest level through remote monitoring of KPIs to guarantee that process optimisation is running to targets .”
Johnson said will help move mining towards softwaredefined automation where machine learning and AI will start in the plant itself , with local systems making instant decisions and not have to be hosted in a supercomputer somewhere else .
The first release of EcoStruxure Automation Expert supports traditional automation platforms , such as Modicon™ PLCs , and Altivar™ Variable Speed Drives and PCs . For the first time , complex multi-drive control algorithms can be programmed and distributed to the drive controller without the need for a central PLC . Completing the line-up , a virtualised software controller running in Docker ® -powered Linux containers supports distributed information and control systems across edge computing architectures . “ Industrial operations are undergoing a game-changing transformation . Advances in machine learning , augmented reality , real-time analytics and the IIoT hold great promise for industrial enterprises and manufacturers to meet the demands of today ’ s agile and digital world . However , realising this promise is limited by closed and proprietary automation platforms that restrict the adoption of best-of-breed technologies , present challenges to integrate third-party components and are expensive to upgrade and maintain . While information technology has adopted open platforms and is rapidly evolving the same cannot be said for industrial technology . Industry has suffered from a lack of adaptability , modularisation and interoperability , which is stunting innovation . Schneider Electric believes the time is right for a bold move in industrial automation and is calling on industrial users , vendors , OEMs , systems integrators and EPCs across industry to embrace universal and open automation .”
The company adds : “ Universal automation is the world of plug and produce automation software components based on the IEC61499 standard that solve specific customer problems in a proven way . Adoption of an IEC61499-based standardised automation layer , common across vendors , will provide limitless opportunities for growth and modernisation across industry .”
By greatly extending the capabilities of existing IEC61131-based systems and enabling an app-storelike model for automation software components , Schneider Electric believes that the advancements possible in the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be fully realised . As its benefits become visible , Schneider Electric believes other vendors will adopt the universal automation approach , and end users will soon begin to demand it from their automation suppliers and ecosystem .
A lot of work is also being done on being able to integrate real time ore characteristics into the process plant – so being able to adjust process plant inputs and parameters based on the real time analysis of the ore from sensors in blasthole drills , shovel buckets , suspended above conveyors etc .
Augmented reality including digital twinning is also important in today ’ s mineral process plant world but
JANUARY 2021 | International Mining