Funding for comminution 'digital twin' research

Australian mining wear solutions provider Bradken has bagged a government grant worth more than half a million dollars to develop a potential ‘game-changer’ for grinding efficiency
Funding for comminution 'digital twin' research Funding for comminution 'digital twin' research Funding for comminution 'digital twin' research Funding for comminution 'digital twin' research Funding for comminution 'digital twin' research

The research is aimed at delivering a digital ‘step change’ in grinding mill design and performance

Staff reporter

The Australian Research Council awarded the A$545,000 (US$362,000) grant to Hitachi Construction Machinery company Bradken as part of a research collective.

The collaborative work will be focused around comminution - more specifically the development of highly accurate simulations of the grinding mill process to improve design and performance.

Bradken global research and development manager Reece Attwood said the potentially game-changing project would give global mining and resources operators the ability to precisely target grinding efficiency, mill liner service life, power consumption and carbon emissions.

"This exciting project aims to accelerate improvements in mill design through development of an enhanced digital twin while combining a number of technologies such as IoT instrumentation, enhanced simulation techniques and deep learning," he said.

The project will be hosted by the University of Newcastle, through its Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER), in collaboration with the University of New South Wales and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). The Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands will also be involved.

Chief investigator on the project, Professor Craig Wheeler from the University of Newcastle, said the cross-disciplinary team will merge expertise from solids processing and artificial intelligence to develop new computational algorithms.

"Our work will enhance the design and maintenance of key industrial equipment, predict wear and optimise the design of key components to improve the life of machinery to process minerals," he said.

Dr Wei Chen, senior research scientist for process control, will lead the project for Bradken.

"Partnering with a group of leading research experts from Australia and abroad gives us access to world-class thinking in IoT, deep learning and numerical modelling," he said.

"Involving our customers in the research process through site trials will keep us together at the forefront of mineral processing technology."

The research collective is expected to start work on the project in March.