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Digitalization develops mining engineer jobs and companies

How digital technologies at ABB's Collaborative Operations Center offer career development opportunities and completely new ways of helping ABB mining customers to optimize operations, improve productivity, enhance safety and security.

ABB Collaborative Operations brings together digitalization, advanced maintenance and process optimization in order to support ABB's customers. Photo: Jonas Bilberg

Main facts

Customer
LKAB
Country
Sweden
Challenges
  • puzzling issues with mine hoists
  • utilizing full capacity
Solutions

ABB Ability™ Collaborative Operations

  • reconfiguring the hoist mechanics
  • reducing movements
Benefits
  • cycle time was shortened by 14 seconds
  • mine hoist’s capacity increased by many hundreds of tons per day
Year
2019

A new alternative to fieldwork

The Fourth Industrial Revolution not only takes technology to new levels -- it also takes ABB engineers to new levels. Magnus Uddman is one of them. He has worked with service, programming and project management at ABB for many years, and has been involved in commissioning mining hoists all over the world. Now, he has discovered a new alternative to fieldwork and is pursuing a new challenge as the Lead Operator at ABB’s Collaborative Operations Center in Västerås, responsible for delivering digital services to several ABB customers.

“Being a part of the journey from traditional to digital technology is very exciting,” said Uddman. “The Collaborative Operations Center is a concept that has not existed before, and working here is both fun and challenging.”

Magnus Uddman, Lead Operator at ABB’s Collaborative Operations Center
“Being a part of the journey from traditional to digital technology is very exciting”

Magnus Uddman, seen here with colleague Elin Löfvendahl, is the Lead Operator at ABB's Collaborative Operations Center in Västerås. Photo: Jonas Bilberg

A great responsibility

From customers' facilities around the country, sensors and critical systems transmit data to ABB Collaborative Operations Centers, where sophisticated programs run 24-hour advanced data analysis. Using them, Magnus discovers potential issues with customer operations, involves ABB domain experts, and provides maintenance advice and recommended actions to improve customer performance.

“We remedy errors before they happen,” said Uddman. “This gives the customer a more reliable installation with higher productivity. We take great responsibility to deliver, add value and help our customers use the equipment we provide to them. This is a new way of working.”

ABB Collaborative Operations Centers receive data from sensors and critical systems, run them through advanced analytics, round the clock, to discover potential issues and recommend actions to improve performance

Optimizing LKAB's mining hoists

LKAB is one of the companies connected to the Collaborative Operations Center. The mining company is very advanced in its use of digital technology in order to stay competitive in a dynamic global market.

 

“Automation and technology have always been our strength,” says Kari Oja, project manager at LKAB in Kiruna. “We are constantly trying to implement new technology, but now it is at such a level that as a project manager, you cannot be aware of everything.”

 

For the Kiruna mine, the ABB Collaborative Operations Center recently resolved some puzzling issues and helped to increase the capacity of mine hoists. From the center in Västerås, Uddman made changes to LKAB's control system, while ABB's service engineer reconfigured the hoist mechanics in the mine located 1200 km north of Västerås. By reducing movements, the cycle time was shortened by 14 seconds and the mine hoist’s capacity increased by many hundreds of tons per day.

“Tonnage is money and every second is important in the mine,” said Oja. “Now the mine hoists emptying and filling times are redefined, and we can utilize their full capacity. “If we have ordered a Porsche, we want to be able to run it as a Porsche.”

Kari Oja, project manager at LKAB in Kiruna
“We are constantly trying to implement new technology, but now it is at such a level that as a project manager, you cannot be aware of everything”

Technical and practical experience + network

The fact that Uddman has practical experience in mining was key to optimizing the Kiruna mine.

 

Although practical experience and technical expertise are two success factors in Uddman’s job, he emphasizes the ABB network as a third success factor. Close contact with ABB service engineers in the field greatly helps the control and process domain experts in the Collaborative Operations Center to work together to resolve customer issues fast.

 

“Together, we work with new technology in a whole new way,” Uddman said. “The close contact with customers and ABB colleagues around the country is very important to quickly find solutions that help our customers grow.”

Magnus Uddman
“In order to fully understand how to troubleshoot, it helps to have worked at the customer's facility and see how the assets and processes really work.”

Collaborative Operations Center

The ABB Collaborative Operations Center in Västerås, Sweden, delivers advanced digital services to the Swedish market. The center, which was inaugurated in March 2018, has deep expertise in the area of mining, and serves customers all over the world.

Examples of services ABB Ability™ Collaborative Operations Centers provide are:

New services are being developed continuously to add to the capability of the Collaborative Operations Center.

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