Global site

ABB's website uses cookies. By staying here you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more

You think big, we get practical

You think big, we get practical

You think big, we get practical

You think big, we get practical

You think big, we get practical

Mining digital transformation partnership in action

When it comes to the future of the mining industry, one thing is very clear: the road to digitalization is not optional. With mines moving towards autonomous processes and decarbonization, no single company can realize this vision alone.

Miners need experienced partners who know which practical steps will get them there. And we need ambitious customers and ecosystem players to develop solutions that bring real value to people.




CASE STUDY


What does a successful digital transformation partnership look like ?



01

Starting a common digital journey

Value workshops

We inspired both customers and ABB teams with a new way of working through various in-person and virtual event formats


Engaging early allowed us to clarify and understand business priorities and challenges of our global mining customer, and enabled them to experience how our digital portfolio of  ABB Ability™ solutions for mining industry can unlock value across the entire value chain. Ideas and requirements were outlined and further specified, tested and evaluated in follow-up meetings.

e.g. During a value discovery workshop we could put customer data into the Value Calculator - ABB Ability™ Expert Optimizer for mining to estimate the potential for OPEX reduction in annual use of reagents and other grinding consumables. We also calculated possible annual value from increased throughput and better minerals recovery and could answer the question whether the stabilization of load would lead to a lower specific energy consumption per same tone milled.

ABB worked with the participants to define follow-up plans as a deliverable of the workshop. From initial idea all the way to concrete digital solutions, we walked this path together as a team, hand in hand.

"The workshop was very efficient and highly beneficial. Three weeks of work condensed into two hours..."


Workshop participant - value discovery

 



Digital maturity assessment

We see more and more mining companies tackling their transformation from a holistic perspective and taking a vital step in getting started - looking at their digital competitiveness. ABB's on-line assessment, on-site surveys and interviews helped them evaluate their existing practices, digital and  IT/OT capabilities.

Once we have gathered enough information through workshops and our Digital Maturity Assessment process, we provided:

  • a report pinpointing where the companies were on the digital transformation journey with respect to industry best practices and their strategy.
  • Clear recommendations about which areas to develop for the greatest impact.


Digital maturity assessment tool



Agile quick wins and co-creation

For example, a Canadian customer prioritized the need to coordinate production planning, scheduling and execution across multiple sites via an Integrated Remote Operations Center. This required a digital solution that didn’t yet exist.

Combining ABB and customer know-how, we used UX workshops and an agile, iterative approach to co-create a new software interface and a proof of concept dramatically different from traditional paper-based practices.

We connected the workforce, activities and equipment in real-time, which allowed split-second reactivity to disturbances.  Scheduling was optimized through artificial intelligence - creating a new powerful digital application tailored to the needs of the industry and with people-centric design. 

Soon after, it became part of the Sustainable Intelligent Mining Systems project in Sweden.

The result? A lower cost per ton produced with less idle time and automated resolution of conflicts, leading to a productivity increase of around 5-10%.

We are also collaborating closely with Gold Fields, Enterprise Transformation Partners (ETP) and University of Western Australia to further enhance this solution, so that it supports the latest in reliable messaging and Industry 4.0 interoperability standards; ISA-95 (IEC 62264) via B2MML V7.0.

Mark Frame ETP, Richard Marsh ABB, Shannon McDermott Gold Fields, Andrew Whibley Gold Fields at the ERDi i4.0 Testlab Grand Opening

ABB has always been committed to experimenting and collaboration – from mining robots, trolley-assist systems, 5G and open data access, to artificial intelligence and virtual, augmented and mixed reality – there are many ways to bring together each ecosystem partner’s strengths.


02

Building digital culture & program

Envisioning the future mine

When working on the future vision for their enterprise, our mining customers often ask ABB experts to reflect on the future experiences together and desribe practical and tangible use cases thanks to digital.



Creating future scenarios and then envisioning the key technologies involved allows us to see what is feasible with existing ABB solutions. We can then evaluate what needs to be newly co-created.

This process helps our customer better communicate their transformation goals and direction to all their people, creating buy-in within every department.

We pay special attention to a human factor study around the future control room - as the nexus of all real-time decisions - empowering operators to go beyond traditional thinking.


Through active participation in industry committees and government initiatives, organization of hackathons with university students and employees, future vision workshops with the customers, we commit to developing even more disruptive ways to reshape mining.

Together, we bring the vision to life.



"One of the most positive days we have had in my time with the company..."

Workshop participant - control room operation improvement

Refining transformation roadmap & business cases

When some of customers' digital transformation programs lacked clarity, pace and control over their digital developments, ABB could assist with planning a more structured approach.


We worked hand-in-hand to put their digital initiatives on a fast-track, adaptable roadmap, with fit-for-purpose solutions and no added complexity. We could organize optimal work streams and action steps for concrete value creation goals. We prioritized low hanging fruit to realize quick wins and milestones in targeted improvement areas.

Digital program managers particularly valued our ability to match the timeline and budget, with a clear financial plan, optimized cash flow and committing key stakeholders in the plan. We make business case estimations based on iterative approach - building up on the digital vision, site assessments, priorities and roadmap - as they are affecting each other.

"Early adopters are making bold assumptions and willing to bear risks in exchange for being first to own a market. Early majority want to get involved with something that’s proven, popular and effective.”


03

Delivering results & scaling up

Our biggest strength is in helping organizations implement their digital roadmaps on the ground with tangible results.

Modernization of automation platform across multiple mines will form the foundation for implementing a 5-year digital plan, with immediate impact on safety and productivity
For a South American company Nexa, who appointed ABB as partner to transition their multiple mines to digitalized and cost effective operations, this means starting from getting the basics right. We are first introducing a modernized common automation system that will act as an integration platform for implementing a wide range of digital use cases defined in the 5-year plan. We will also transfer technical know how in different digital dimensions to support NEXA's employees through the change in order to reach key targets.



Focus on right projects with best ROI
For an African mine that would like to maximize profitability with fully digital beneficiation plant, we are able to digitally optimize the beneficiation processes. Removing the need for constant manual tuning of grinding, classification and flotation control is expected to stabilize the process and significantly increase mineral throughput and recovery.

Another mining company based in India, prioritized their value chain optimization over 11 different sites. e.g. Providing real-time data visibility for one concentration plant took 1 month to implement.



Fast achievement of strategic targets

An iron ore processing unit in South America turned to ABB to centrally connect more that 6'000 assets through a single asset health cockpit interface. Their ambitious predictive maintenance program now relies on our vast library of asset models and maintenance-oriented algorithms. They not only provide early warnings on potential faults, but also  trigger work orders to solve the identified issues and eliminate unnecessary maintenance.

After a 60-day evaluation, 42 early warnings are estimated to have saved 846 man-hours and 5 million USD in spare parts and other material costs.

The customer has now extended the program, digitally connecting more than 10'000 assets.



Performance as a service
One of our customers in Australia opted for continuous online monitoring of their hoist safety brake system.  Thanks to remote access to collected data, ABB hoist experts  detected the valve 132 fault early enough for a replacement to be fitted at a convenient time. Expert insights empowered by data ensured safe ups and downs for miners.

These are just a few examples...

Digital transformation that’s grounded in the real world

So, wherever you are on the transformation journey, we can work with you to find digital solutions tailored to your business needs.

With technology and players landscape evolving all the time, rest assured, we’re in it for the long-term, here to guide you every step of the way.

Let's talk

  • Contact us

    Submit your inquiry and we will contact you

    Contact us