Paul Moore spoke to Andrew Reese , Global Industry Manager - Minerals + Metals at Endress + Hauser Group Services on its role in the automation of mineral processing
Q What role is Endress + Hauser playing in the AI evolution of mineral processing plants in terms of smart instrumentation ? A The Global Mining Guidelines Group ( GMG ) is currently defining standards for introducing AI in to mines and mineral refineries and sensor integrity is seen as a prerequisite for the collection of reliable data into any Cloud or hardwire-based Big Data system . Endress + Hauser has developed self-monitoring sensors which verify accuracy and repeatability and can even check for process problems like potential spillage , pipeline buildup or unexpected changes in environment conditions . This sensor functionality is known as Heartbeat verification and condition monitoring . Endress + Hauser has in addition developed an IIoT suite of Apps called Netilion which can be downloaded on to Android and Apple mobile and edge devices to interface with Cloud and other Big Data systems and make sure that sensor and other process data is available to the right people at the right time . App modules include Netilion Health , Netilion Smart Systems , Netilion Library and Netilion Analytics .
Rodrigo Andai , Global Mining Leader at Honeywell
this is only part of the picture – increasingly , high resolution cameras are being used to help navigate
the plant using real rather than computer generated imagery . Schneider Electric has a solution called Augmented Operator Advisor which enables a field operator to be in the plant with a mobile device and looking at a part of the plant , pull up data relevant to what they are looking at and tie that into relevant parts of maintenance manuals etc or even call up an expert if needed .
And while on-site maintenance teams will be needed for the foreseeable future , predictive maintenance is playing an increasingly important role . EcoStruxure Asset Advisor is a suite of cyber-secure , cloud-based digital services for critical mineral process equipment that evaluates live data from critical connected assets and applies advanced analytics to identify potential threats . Experts can provide web actionable dashboards , timeline reports and recommendations with optional on-site support . It includes preventative services to anticipate maintenance needs and gain 24 / 7 visibility into site performance as well as predictive services leverage cloud technologies to manage critical asset performance and ensure safety .
Honeywell on remote operations not remote monitoring
IM spoke to Rodrigo Andai , Global Mining Leader at Honeywell about that company ’ s vast experience in mineral process plant digitalisation but with a focus on the distinction between just moving operators to an ROC for monitoring purposes to a true ROC where the plant is running itself almost all of the time . Andai stated : “ There are several flavours of remote management I would say , with an important distinction to be made between remote monitoring and real remote operations . The first ones to come online in the Australian iron ore industry in the early 2000s in the Pilbara were initially really more about
Q How would you outline Endress + Hauser ' s market position and offer in process control ? How is the industry changing ? A Endress + Hauser has always believed in open standards and develops sensor technologies on traditional standard fieldbus technology standards like HART , Profibus PA / DP & Profinet , Modbus and FieldBus Foundation but is participating in all associations and standards groups to create the future digital fieldbus technologies like Ethernet APL . The traditional suppliers of DCS and PLC based operations control solutions are under increasing pressures from new kids on the mining block like Accenture , Oracle , Amazon , Microsoft and Cisco , who traditionally only supplied data systems in the ERP world but are now moving their Big Data solutions to plant and operational levels . Endress + Hauser sees the challenge as interfacing trustworthy sensor data to and with the AI world created by these Big Data specialists and believe Netilion will give us the edge over other manufacturers .
Q Do you believe that mineral processing is well on its way to automation ( not including essential maintenance ) and have you seen examples of this ? A The mining sector realised some time ago that it was far behind the other process sectors like food & beverage , life science , chemical and oil & gas who already had standards such as NAMUR in the chemical industry which enables a more seamless , controlled and phased introduction of AI . The big miners have joined the GMG to expedite standards in this direction . It is also driven by the fact that the mining sector has recently seen many safety related tragedies , the worst of which was the Brumadinho tailings disaster on January 25 , 2019 in Brazil . A great deal of effort by industry experts and standards associations has gone into adapting IEC “ Functional Safety Standards ” ( IEC 61508 and 61511 ), taken for granted in the oil refineries and chemical plants , to underground mines , tailings waste handling and storage as well as in mineral refineries and smelters . Endress + Hauser entities in Chile , South Africa and Australia have been working with miners in the iron ore , copper and gold sectors to introduce remote telemetry solutions to collect sensor data around their tailings facilities .
information centralisation & logistical management – miners don ’ t want to go through data lakes looking they weren ’ t actually controlling the plant from the for problems and nuances they didn ’ t know about – ROC to start with , it was just the big picture view .” they want to improve the primary production data
The Kairos Mining JV between Honeywell and here and now .” Chile ’ s copper mining and processing giant Codelco The first thing Codelco and Kairos realised was the began in 2004 / 2005 when Codelco did a benchmark need to automate – so operators are not having to study on productivity and efficiency in global make regular adjustments and the system instead concentrator plants . “ Codelco at the time wasn ’ t one would run the plant for them . The cornerstone of that of the top performers so chose to work with is Advanced Process Control – how to have a system Honeywell to try to optimise its assets . The team led that can operate a concentrator without manual by Claudio Zamora , President and CEO of Kairos intervention , and at the same time up productivity but Mining , had a deep knowledge of Codelco ’ s at the same time making sure the system is equipped operations and the best strategies to improve with the right variables . And also ensure that the APC operational continuity and standardise automation is used all the time – so the operator cannot just turn processes and technologies . At that time it wasn ’ t it off . about remotely operating the plant , it was about
Codelco ’ s productivity improved significantly in improving productivity .” Andai says : “ Even today , these early years and today , over a decade later , other
International Mining | JANUARY 2021