Amplats and Siemens are at the forefront of rethinking how mining works with the development and implementation of digital and technological innovations.
“One of the most debated topics influencing innovation in mining is digitalisation and its impact on the future.
“It is met with equal parts excitement and trepidation. No matter how you look at it, digital transformation and a truly connected global economy is already upon us,” comments CEO for Siemens Southern and Eastern Africa, Sabine Dall’Omo.
This article first appeared in Mining Review Africa Issue 8 2018
Amplats is embracing this new era.
“The rapid rate of technology advancement in the digital space brings with it huge opportunities for Amplats,” adds the company’s executive head for processing, Gary Humphries .
“However, the technology alone is not sufficient to deliver the expected benefits.
“Successful implementation and adoption of these new technologies is critically dependent on the recruitment and development of people,” he adds.
Successful implementation and adoption
To assist and ensure the successful adoption of new technologies in mining, Siemens has provided automation equipment and industrial networks to assist Amplats’ Engineering Skills Training Centre (ESTC).
The automation equipment and industrial network technology will be used to train and equip artisans at the centre.
The handover of this equipment to ESTC will provide a test bed for the latest generation of Siemens hardware.
The technology will provide artisans entering the workforce with specialised skills which will help them secure excellent career prospects within Amplats and anywhere in the world.
Humphries explains that this key partnership with Siemens enables the company to train and equip current and future engineers and position them for working in an ever-digitising working environment and understand the role of technology in the future of mining.
“One of the pillars of digitalisation is industrial networks and security and it is crucial that these engineers understand the role of this technology in the future of mining,” notes Dall’Omo.
“Siemens and Amplats have been in partnership since 2010 and we have seen approximately 298 artisans successfully trained and qualified at this centre.
“This vital contribution by Siemens to ESTC will significantly contribute towards the development of the human resource capabilities of our artisans and will help broaden the thinking of the students to explore new career capabilities.
“We celebrate the recent handover of the Siemens Simatic Wall and look forward to the role it will play in training the current and next generation of skilled artisans,” comments Humphries.
Human resource development manager for ESTC, Ratsietsi Monare mentions that the company is proud to have seen more than 300 artisans successfully trained in measurement control and instrumentation using the equipment donated by Siemens, moving on to careers as qualified artisans.
“At Amplats we aim to empower youth with relevant skills to help combat the scourge of youth unemployment in South Africa.
“We believe that artisanal training provides fast access to the job market and gainful employment,” adds Monare.
Siemens Simatic Wall
The wall is a layout of various automation products that are interconnected via industrial networks such as Profibus and Profinet as well as wireless technology.
The setup allows for the demonstration of how data can be transferred between automation products in full view of the operator and management.
Diagnostic data can therefore be extracted via the networks and can then be displayed on the connected screens.
Process industries including the mining environment make use of systems that are interconnected via networks.
This has become a standard and it is therefore important for engineering personnel to acquaint themselves with this changing technology.
A week of dedicated and comprehensive training is generally enough to upskill already technologically inclined engineering personnel to a satisfactory level.
However on-site or on-the-job training would also be required to ensure that the technologies are firmly understood in terms of actual implementation.
“In addition, as new automation products, software, networks and digitalisation solutions are introduced by Siemens, the wall will be upgraded accordingly,” notes Amplats account manager, Comfort Mringi.