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How digitalization improves reliability and availability of comminution circuits

Shifting to predictive and remote maintenance of Gearless Mill Drives (GMDs) has a transformative impact on comminution circuit reliability, flexibility and availability - leading to grinding mill’s productivity enhancement and commercial gains.

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GMDs play a critical role in ensuring overall plant productivity and performance

GMDs have been successfully operating all over the globe in the cement and mining industries. Availability of GMDs is of paramount importance in these machines since it impacts uptime of the entire plant, and ultimately effects reliability and flexibility in general.

The key role played by GMDs is amply visible in the fact that if a GMD is down, the plant faces downtime; and the commercial impact of such enforced shutdown can be as high as USD 180,000-200,000.

In addition to being amongst the most expensive assets on site, these machines are huge. The biggest of these mega machines has a diameter of 40 feet and is wrapped around the mill, delivering 28 MW of power.

There is a great deal of precision involved in installing these machines. For example, the final air gap after installation needs to be between 12 and 15 mm; and this gives rise to unique challenges such as getting this gap of a few millimeters correct over a distance of 40 feet.

With thousands of moving parts and high-power drive systems working around the clock, constant monitoring and analysis of key condition parameters is a vital step in maximizing the availability of this asset.

At ABB, we understand that the gearless mill drive is a major investment for your plant, and as the pumping heart of the production process, its availability is essential for the process.

Uptime of GMDs have a significant and direct impact on the ability of a plant to be reliable, productive and perform at maximized commercial potential

A solution for the digital era of mill operations

ABB Ability™ Predictive Maintenance for grinding is a unique digital solution to maintain, assess and analyze your GMD system. The solution, based on condition monitoring, provides easy access to GMD system parameters and visualization, taking a look into the past, considering real-time data in the present and assessing the future. 

Predicting the time left for key condition parameters to reach critical values that could eventually lead to production stoppage and notifying customers of this in advance is crucial.

State-of-the-art machine-learning techniques and neural networks are continuously crunching big, chunky datasets from a large installed base in the ABB Ability™ cloud platform to maximize confidence in prediction of machine key condition parameters.

This helps our customers procure the right spare parts and plan for required repairs during scheduled maintenance stops. This, in effect, also transforms maintenance philosophy to a condition-based approach rather than one based on preventive maintenance activities. 

A solution that operates at the cutting edge of digital technology

ABB Ability™ Predictive Maintenance for grinding is driven by the most contemporary technology innovations, including machine learning, neural networks, big data and the cloud. Built as a complete solution, supported by collaborative operations and remote assistance, ABB enables a whole new paradigm driven by predictive maintenance, enhanced by our unmatched technical expertise and in-depth knowledge of mining operations.

Our lifecycle management approach is designed to support customers through a comprehensive approach which involves planning and efficient maintenance implementation to minimize shutdown and maximize GMD availability. 

Benefits include operating expense reduction, productivity improvement and no unscheduled stoppages.

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