ABB partners with UWA for the future digital mine

ABB Australia Pty Ltd

Friday, 25 September, 2020

ABB partners with UWA for the future digital mine

ABB has linked with the University of Western Australia’s (UWA) new Energy & Resources Digital Interoperability Industry 4.0 (ERDi i4.0) TestLab, run by Enterprise Transformation Partners (ETP), to advance Industry 4.0 open process automation standards.

This includes collaboration on AMIRA Global’s P1208 Interoperability Enablement for Natural Resources project, which is designed to realise the digital mine. This project aims to develop and implement interoperability standards for mine planning, mine scheduling and execution so that equipment and applications for mine operations become ‘plug-and-play’. Building on the University of Western Australia I4.0 ERDi Test Lab, this initiative will enable an offsite test laboratory to evaluate efficacy of interoperability of technology without disrupting ongoing mining activities.

Separate to the AMIRA project, ABB is also working closely with ETP on an integrated systems project at Gold Fields’ Granny Smith Mine 740 km north-east of Perth in Western Australia. It is one of the largest and highest-producing goldmine operations in the country. The project will enhance ABB Ability Operations Management System (OMS) Platform - Fleet Management Software Module to support the latest in reliable messaging and Industry 4.0 interoperability standards; ISA-95 (IEC 62264) via B2MML V7.0. This advancement will enable the mine to connect and coordinate mine operators, workforce, equipment and all mining activities in real time, from face preparation to crusher.

“In 2019 Gold Fields Australia launched the Integrated Systems Project to increase production throughput of the Granny Smith goldmine,” said Michael Place, Technical Service Manager, Gold Fields Australia. “To achieve the objective of a fully connected mine, we are working with ABB and ETP to build an integrated business process and system architecture that will enable visibility of operational activities in near real time via automated information exchange between various mining systems.

“The system architecture has been designed to allow deployment across various operations both open pit and underground. This deployment will be the major phase of the technology strategy for the Granny Smith mine and will be a pilot for integrated platforms across Gold Fields Australia, which aims to create one of the most innovative, digitally connected mines in the world. This project and partnership will be key to achieving this.”

“ABB’s investment, both in financial terms as well as time, together with their expertise, is critical for this project to support the re-engineering of products that are often required to deliver a reliable, performant and standards compliant software package,” said ETP Managing Director John Kirkman. “The performance requirements of a software package that exchanges and processes granular events with rich information in real time, when compared to a software package designed for periodical manual entry, are like comparing chalk and cheese – and that’s where ABB plays a big role.”

“Industry 4.0 and digital transformation are huge opportunities for the Australian mining industry, with automation, analytics and artificial intelligence generating insights and accelerating greater productivity and efficiency,” said Stuart Cowie, Head of Industrial Automation Process Industries, ABB Australia. “This partnership underlines ABB’s commitment to ensuring Industry 4.0 concepts influence its product roadmaps into the future, and demonstrates the significant value that can be delivered to customers through interoperability and automation across both processes and systems.

“It will give ABB valuable insights into digital transformation and Industry 4.0 concepts for mining. Through our work with the ERDi TestLab, the OMS platform has become an even more powerful tool with reliable real-time access to operational data through ISA95 standardised messages.”

As part of POC 1, ABB will showcase ABB Ability Operations Management System and Fleet Management System software to AMIRA P1208 project sponsors, automatically exchanging information with scheduling and materials tracking software packages via i4.0 standard interfaces.

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