ABB and Boliden have reached 12 years of working together at the mining company’s Aitik mine in Sweden, representing one of the longest existing service partnerships in the industry. The joint steering committee for the long-term service agreement (LTSA) met for the first time post-COVID 19 to celebrate the relationship while taking in a factory visit in Switzerland and renewing face-to-face discussions.
ABB’s Swiss and Swedish teams have now serviced equipment and systems at Boliden’s Aitik mine under four contracts, each lasting three years, for improved safety, productivity and waste reduction. Under the agreement, ABB provides customized remote and on-site services to maximize availability and optimize asset performance, manage the life cycle requirements of drive solutions and reduce the cost of maintenance.
Most of the ABB equipment, including gearless mill drives (GMD), ring-geared mill drives (RMD), MV/LV variable speed drives and switchgears, are remotely accessible and connected to the ABB Ability™ System 800xA distributed control system (DCS).
Boliden Aitik is the largest copper mine in Sweden, and one of the largest in Europe, carrying around 70 million tons of ore every year. A mutually beneficial relationship with ABB has seen it become a ‘testing ground’ for some of ABB’s newest technologies and solutions.
ABB Ability™ MineOptimize suite of digitally connected solutions, products, and services supports predictive maintenance, performance optimization and 24/7 remote assistance at the mine. The current LTSA began in 2010 covering process and power equipment including two gearless mill drive systems with capacity of 2,200 tons per hour and two ring geared mill drive (RMD) systems, motors, drives, switchgears and transformers and now a 4.8MW rectifier. In 2019, an ABB trolley line was commissioned at Aitik, saving 830 m3 diesel per year and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation by up to 80 per cent along the routes.
“ABB has collaborated with Boliden from the earliest days of the modern Aitik project and continues to help us on our journey to be in the first position in the world for the electric and connected mine,” said Mikael Burck, Head of Electric Division, Boliden Aitik. “Together, we have found several opportunities for pilot projects and we invest in them to enhance operations. We have worked with ABB to build up our resources, troubleshoot any issues and, with people working 24/7 in the mine, know that we can always rely on their services. This gives us peace of mind and allows us to focus on growing the business.”
“We are aiming to support Boliden to reduce overall life cycle costs and make such costs more predictable while continuing to improve equipment performance,” said Alireza Oladzadeh, Service Manager ABB Process Industries Switzerland. “The LTSA with Remote Diagnostic Services (RDS) enhances overall performance and maintenance excellence while establishing real-time links that ensure that support excellence is never far away.”
“The LTSA for Aitik has always ensured optimal capacity, lower energy consumption and extended equipment life cycles for Boliden, resulting it being known as one of the world’s most efficient open-pit copper mines,” said Lars Brannstrom, Strategic Account Manager for Boliden Group, ABB. “Our experienced team of engineers provides regular support and always looks to increase benefits for our customer in terms of insights and actions to optimize equipment and systems performance.”
An ABB LTSA combines one or more services into an agreement customized to meet site-specific requirements for predictive, preventive and corrective maintenance and optimal asset performance. Better decision making is achieved with the use of advanced life cycle management.
ABB has a history of working with the mining and minerals industry at every stage of the mining cycle, beginning when the company delivered its first electrical motor for a mine hoist in Sweden in 1891. ABB has committed to helping its customers realize the all-electric mine, helping mines move towards carbon neutral operations and drawing upon 130 years of experience in the mining industry. It deploys world-class electrification, automation and digital solutions to design mines where electrification and digital are fully integrated, from hoists, grinding, conveyors to vehicles, optimizing processes and equipment and integrating stable, efficient systems to maximize energy efficiency.