Wabtec is collaborating with Calgary, Canada-based Hifi Engineering to enhance digital technologies that monitor asset health to predict and prevent failures at mine sites.
By incorporating Hifi's fibre optic sensing technologies with Wabtec's Digital Mine solutions, mine operators will be able to monitor the integrity of critical pipeline assets used to transport ore more efficiently, over long distances, and through environmentally sensitive areas.
"Our Digital Mine solutions leverage decades of mining experience, cutting-edge data science, and analytics technology to help miners optimise cost per tonne and improve availability and reliability," said Doug Hanson, VP and general manager, Digital Mine at Wabtec. "With the Hifi collaboration, mine operators will be able to use advanced analytics and artificial intelligence to monitor their pipeline systems and proactively identify threats and potential leaks throughout their operations."
Steven Koles, president & CEO of Hifi Engineering, commented: "Mine operators are invested in assets, processes, and systems on a massive scale to meet business objectives while managing risk around safety, financial, and environmental events. However, hundreds, sometimes thousands, of assets produce enormous amounts of data that can either keep the operator informed to make smarter decisions or leave the operator vulnerable to blind spots and risks within their mining operation.
"Our collaboration with Wabtec enables mining operators to increase their equipment piping uptime via proper alerts, notifications, and visualisations based on the data coming from Hifi's specialised fibre optic sensors. By fusing the two technologies, with real-time information from acoustics, vibration, strain, and other critical factors, operators can increase their confidence with the production monitoring of their assets and overall operations."
The combined solution is currently being introduced at a mine site in Latin America across the most critical sections of their pipeline that carries ore, in slurry form, from the mine to the export terminal. As a vital artery for the operation, assuring pipeline availability while helping to prevent any major environmental impacts is essential.
The synergy of Hifi's high fidelity optic sensing solution provides distributed sensing capabilities, while Wabtec Digital Mine's condition-based monitoring techniques allow for early detection of abnormalities such as ground movement and compromised pipeline integrity issues like intrusions and leaks.
The companies stated that these monitoring technologies will allow mine operations to be more proactive around maintenance activities and provide increased visibility across this business-critical long-distance pipeline.