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Conference Proceedings

MetPlant 2019

Conference Proceedings

MetPlant 2019

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The Operator Portal

The accelerating trend in global mining currently, steered by productivity demand, is automation and disruption enabled by the convergence of multiple different technologies.
However to many smaller mining organisations and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) this new operating paradigm presents a daunting challenge with no clear goal or path to a goal. While innovations in equipment design continue to be welcomed and are commonly embraced for Greenfield development the ability of operations to get the best out of what they have is critical to meeting productivity improvement demands. The dozens of machines, equipment and systems onsite requiring cohesive management prompted McLanahan to conceive a single, secure digital location using cloud technology where everything relating to each individual piece of equipment resides. Challenges for automation and remote data capture are network availability, security and integration. Many mining companies have over 200 individual suppliers of equipment, technologies and services. These same companies have sites all over the world in different commodities with vastly different processes and often in remote regions. A case study is presented on how an OEM was able to develop an engagement model (hereafter referred to as the Portal) between supplier and user that enables a transition from mechanical to digital interaction using simple web-based programs. Information contained in the customised portal includes operating manuals, drawings and models, maintenance records, training videos, spares lists, part numbers, emergency contacts, order history, service history, inventory, FAQs, upgrades and modifications, data sheets and performance history. While each plant typically uses the SCADA system to monitor real time operations, the Portal captures, stores and manages the lifecycle data that can be made available to maintenance people, safety managers, maintenance managers and planners at the touch of the screen. Feedback on the Portal from this user site has been overwhelmingly positive regarding the practicality and user friendliness of the system. The operation is remote, under-resourced and under pressure to maximise production. During the mining downturn many mining industry suppliers consolidated engineering, design and process capability centrally which intensified this feeling of isolation within the site community.
History was also lost both from the mining site and the OEM suppliers due to acquisitions, redundancies and consolidations. The Portal provides a single point of interaction for all of the equipment and services provided by that OEM for that site. This is provided to the client on a site by site basis where the site has immediate access to the OEM portal specifically relating to the equipment and services related to the site. Real time information as well as historical information is uploaded by the OEM to ensure the information is current and relevant. The information can be in the form of video and audio data, graphical information and downloadable PDF.
All records for the POEM equipment are stored on the portal and are updatable by the client and the OEM. This type of collaboration facilitates proactive information sharing and improvements in communication, response and quality. The Portal is configured for use on multiple platforms as site and operations personnel need flexibility of experience.
Each operator or user has the option to customise the dashboard to optimise for impact. Customer feedback also identified a need to ensure the OEM equipment offered remote sensing and condition monitoring information that could be included as either a real-time upload or a periodic report uploaded at the end of each shift and this is currently being worked on. Often the real time status information is provided as an integrated input into the overall plant SCADA system to assist with managing production whereas the remote sensing information for a specific machine can be viewed as part of the overall OEM offering and helps manage machine life cycle performance.
The Portal is a supplier-led initiative which offers a first step toward offering greater value through the application of readily available, open technology.
CITATION:Knowles, C and Thornton, J, 2019. The Operator Portal, in Proceedings MetPlant 2019, pp 402403 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).
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  • Published: 2018
  • PDF Size: 0.722 Mb.
  • Unique ID: p201905035

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