Using Microsoft Azure, the miner and its partners were able to develop an intelligent edge IoT solution to help monitor and manage crushed ore bin levels at the underground block cave mine.
If the bins overfill, they have to be manually emptied, which can cause production delays; whereas, if the level drops too low, they are unable to effectively feed the collection conveyor.
Newcrest was using ‘spotters' to keep an eye on the bins as hard sensors had proven unreliable.
Gary Slater, digital and data science architect at Newcrest, said: "The hard sensors in our crushed ore bins were failing at a rate of two or three times every month per crusher, and it often took hours to get the process up and running again."
He said, during a period of six months, the mine experienced 4,780 minutes of downtime due to sensor failure in one of the crushed ore bins.
The new solution can pull data from upstream sensors (tonnes tipped, apron feeder speeds, weightometers, etc), and the AI model then analyses the data to predict the level of crushed ore in the bin and uses that information to control the flow of ore to the crusher.
This approach has allowed Newcrest to automate the bin monitoring, achieving 85% accuracy.
Microsoft Australia MD Steven Worrall said: "This is a leading example of how Microsoft Azure, AI and our intelligent edge IoT technologies can transform a process in even the harshest environment."