Endress+Hauser can improve the processes of its customers in regards to efficiency, quality, safety and sustainability.
When it comes to the mining business, the company helps its customers master the challenges of extracting and processing precious metals and minerals by increasing efficiency, improving safety and ensuring environment protection.
Integration as a first step
The question is, “How much can Big Data help mining companies master these challenges?”
If you think about it, data is already produced in abundance within a mining operation: process information from the field, inventory values, plant status and market prices to name just a few.
The challenge is most of this data is stored and visible in different systems and platforms.
So the first step towards IIoT has to be the integration of this data to open up its real potential.
Integration has to be aligned along three axes: horizontally along the value creation chain, vertically from the field to the control level and thirdly from planning to maintenance to ensure consistent engineering.
With the help of Endress+Hauser, customers can boldly take this first step.
Look at the first axis. An exact forecast of consumption based on current inventory values and planned material movements is the key to reducing warehouse stocks and improving the delivery service.
Reliable measurement technology is the basis for this.
Endress+Hauser can provide a complete range of measurement technology.
For data communication, Endress+Hauser can plug most available fieldbus technologies directly into their smart measurement sensor: in addition the local data transmission unit, Fieldgate, with integrated web server, allows for global data acquisition via private and public communication networks.
A standard internet browser is sufficient for enquiring inventory data.
Fieldgates from Endress+Hauser not only provides current measured values, but also offer the possibility of monitoring device stations, requesting information and sending data directly to a super-ordinate inventory management software system such as SupplyCare from Endress+Hauser.
SupplyCare offers convenient access to the current fill levels in tanks and silos from the comfort of your desk, and offers extensive functions for inventory management.
With the integrated email function, you can request supplies quickly and easily. With the analysis module, you can also calculate and evaluate Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Full control of your basic processes
When it comes to vertical integration, intelligent networking between subsystems of the mine process, from the ERP system to operating and control level and on to field level, is essential for optimised functionality and best efficiency of the digital mine.
The reality today is often less than streamlined or smooth operation. It is characterised by closed system silos, missing interfaces and many manual data transfers and thus potential error sources.
These decoupled system silos can be connected to form an elegant overall system with a continuous data flow thanks to Endress+Hauser’s BPI concept (Business Process Integration).
BPI acts as middleware beneath the sub-systems and thus forms a shared platform for data exchange between these systems. This is not just limited to the IT world.
By using Industrial Ethernet at field and control level, automation components can also be integrated in the overall system.
Digital communication, for example, enables advanced measurement sensor diagnostics which can form the basis of effective process condition monitoring and preventative maintenance measures or calibration requests which can be triggered in the ERP system.
Many of Endress+Hauser’s smart measurement sensors can be used to monitor process condition and verify measurement integrity.
Simply look for the Heartbeat Technology logo.
Several examples of Heartbeat Technology benefits are already used in the concentration processes in many copper and gold mines.
For example in froth flotation tanks: a Promass 100 Coriolis flowmeter will schedule a flocculant batch remix by measuring changes in the medium chemistry.
The aim is to produce process optimisation and stability using a combination of smart sensors which monitor their own performance, indicate process anomalies and tell maintenance when things need cleaning or recalibrating.
Big Data made easy
Last but not least, in order to get close to this goal of maximum process efficiency at the lowest possible cost, intuitive and reliable process asset management is crucial. Endress+Hauser offer Big Data asset management software which is manufacturer neutral.
The cloud-based asset management toolbox, W@M, has proven beneficial to management, maintenance, process engineers and metallurgists in generating plant wide process improvements and providing relevant and reliable data on process performance.
A simple example is a 10% proven increase in heap leach and stripping performance in a copper mine when they use W@Ms powerful measurement performance capability to monitor variations in performance of critical measurement parameters such as acid usage, PLS output, organic to aqueous stripping rates against pipeline breakage, filter rupture or other process imbalance.
So in short, what does software give us that is “Industry 4.0” or “IoT” ready:
- Quick, visual and targeted access to the right data at the exact time, when it is needed
- Easy to download cloud based tools – Operations apps for mobile smartphones and tablets
- Wireless and wired connectivity to smart sensors and other process equipment for diagnostics, verification and condition monitoring
“A lot of our customers are sometimes surprised, that for the first implementation of Industry 4.0 they don’t have to completely revamp their whole operation.
“But this so called fourth Industrial Revolution is more a gradual evolution than a big bang revolution,” explains Susan Buitendag, Industry Manager at Endress+Hauser.
“We at Endress+Hauser take pride in being an innovative company, and our R&D engineers take great pride in being ahead of the game in smart sensor development.
“And that means that the first step towards Industry 4.0 and the “digital mine” will be a small one for our customers. “