Digital application to optimise dry bulk material handling

ABB Australia Pty Ltd

Thursday, 18 April, 2019


Digital application to optimise dry bulk material handling

ABB has launched a stockyard management system that it claims will increase the efficiency of stockyards in connecting consecutive steps in complete materials transportation chains.

The ABB Ability Stockyard Management System is designed to enable 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.

It is a configurable system that can be used to digitalise the complete material handling chain. The material flow can be modelled across all belt conveyors and transportation equipment with material properties and quality information via automated data interfaces.

“This application is the latest example of how ABB as a pioneering technology leader in digital industries is helping our customers to realise the true potential of digital technologies to optimise their operations and achieve a certain quality of outgoing material,” said Franz Rietschel, Global Product Manager for the Stockyard Management System. “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 for an extra survey. All data can be used for operational optimisation, such as efficient space utilisation 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 of material according to tracking, forecasting and online quality control.
  • Laser scanners or drones can provide additional surface information of their environments to enable a nearly real-time update of the pile surface even after material movements.
  • A ‘slice view’ feature allows operators a look at the inside of a pile to check the material mix and quality, or changing material properties.
  • Modelling for intra-supply-chain quality optimisation allows operation staff to view tonnes and grade by digging position and belt scale values according to geological model, and online analysers provide information on the various material properties.
  • 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 downtime-planning or laboratory management systems combines all available information for analytics at the right time.

3D stockyard pile visualisation.

3D stockyard pile visualisation. For a larger image click here.

ABB Ability Stockyard Management System employs sophisticated data collection and configuration management to interface with various IT and OT applications and systems:

  • Connectivity to IT and ERP systems through web services, TCP/IP socket communication or direct database access.
  • Data interfaces to OT and automation systems through OPC, and if OPC is not supported, through low-level data interfaces based on data wrappers.
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