ABB digital system merges mine planning, operation

Industrial tech group ABB has launched a digital management platform, integrating short interval control and closed-loop scheduling in open-pit and underground mines
ABB digital system merges mine planning, operation ABB digital system merges mine planning, operation ABB digital system merges mine planning, operation ABB digital system merges mine planning, operation ABB digital system merges mine planning, operation

The ABB Ability Operations Management System can present ‘what-if’ scenarios in case of task failure or operational change

Staff reporter

The ABB Ability Operations Management System (OMS), developed in collaboration with Swedish miner Boliden and ArcelorMittal Mining Canada, can improve coordination between weekly production plans and dynamic situations within a mine.

According to ABB, mine planners often have to build a short-term plan with limited visibility of ongoing activities in the mine; while mine operators constantly consider and evaluate a complex set of operational constraints, adjusting to ever-changing, day-to-day and hour-to-hour situations.

By integrating short interval control and closed-loop scheduling into one digital platform, ABB's OMS is designed to improve responsiveness to unplanned events and reduce production variability through all stages of mining. It can also present ‘what-if' scenarios in case of task failure or operational change. Equipment availability can also be improved by moving from a reactive to a predictive maintenance model.

"Although it may seem simple, the coordination between the tactical plan and the operational plan is one of the top challenges faced in modern mining," said Eduardo Lima, product manager for integrated mine operations at ABB.

"By offering advanced short-term planning and increased automation, ABB Ability Operations Management System enables the mine to act as an ore factory.

"Ore inventory can be tracked and controlled to allow maximum flow and optimal grade. By integrating operational technology and information technology, operational awareness is increased for all personnel."

The short interval control application allows mine operators to monitor and review operational plans and performance based on targets, metrics and KPIs. Variances can be analysed and mitigated in real time during a shift for immediate corrective action, ABB explained.

The closed-loop scheduling application combines high-level planning with low-level control through a heuristic auto-scheduling algorithm. This should allow mine planners to achieve better production scheduling efficiency, optimising resource usage in real time and following the production plan more effectively.

While developing OMS, project teams at both ArcelorMittal Mining Canada's integrated remote operations centre and the Boliden mine operation centre provided operation expertise, existing infrastructure and dedicated resources support.

The technology was piloted at Boliden's Renström underground mine in Sweden and by ArcelorMittal at the Mont-Wright open-pit mine in Canada.

ABB Ability OMS is part of the ABB Ability MineOptimize portfolio of digitally connected products, services and solutions.