Students join 'industrial transformation' in Australia

As part of an Australian Research Council (ARC) centre focused on data science for asset maintenance in mining, six PhD students will be studying at Curtin University or the University of Western Australia this year, followed by another six next year, and collaborating on related projects
Students join 'industrial transformation' in Australia Students join 'industrial transformation' in Australia Students join 'industrial transformation' in Australia Students join 'industrial transformation' in Australia Students join 'industrial transformation' in Australia

The collaboration between universities and industry aims to use next-generation data science to transform asset maintenance

Staff reporter

The ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre, led by Curtin University, is a partnership between the University of Western Australia, CSIRO and industry partners Alcoa, BHP and Roy Hill, as well as the CORE Innovation Hub and the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia (MRIWA).

As part of this collaboration, students will now be able work with artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, with the aim of transforming asset maintenance for the resources sector.

"The centre's efforts to improve productivity and asset reliability for the nation's resources sector will be bolstered by the addition of our first cohort of six PhD students this year, who will collaborate with our main industry partners," Professor Andrew Rohl, director of the ARC Training Centre for Transforming Maintenance through Data Science, said.

"These projects include natural language processing of maintenance records, statistical models for failure prediction and remaining useful life estimation, optimising maintenance for duplicate assets and maximising the time between having to perform maintenance on equipment."

According to MRIWA CEO Nicole Roocke, supporting emerging industry leaders through the development of relevant skills and knowledge in areas such as data science is imperative to transforming the mining sector.

"MRIWA welcomes the opportunity to provide funding for two of the 12 PhD students at the centre and looks forward to working with them going forward," she added.

BHP WA head of corporate affairs Meath Hammond said the new centre combined relevant research and industry expertise to enable the development and adoption of new practices to improve productivity and asset reliability for industry.

"The centre will strive to foster a new maintenance technology service sector for national and international markets," Hammond said.

Curtin University was last year awarded A$3.9 million (US$2.7 million) in ARC funding for the establishment of the centre, with subsequent contributions from partners lifting funding for the centre to about $9 million.