Engineering & Mining Journal

JUL 2019

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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Page 42 of 67

ELECTRICAL POWER SYSTEMS JULY 2019 • E&MJ 41 telligent devices. Adopting an IPP strat- egy for implementing this system could reduce costs by up to 90% compared to a fully hard-wired system. Intelligent infrastructures reduce or eliminate the need for I/O panels, device connection documentation and labor, and overall configuration efforts. Rockwell Au- tomation has consistently seen that hard- wired systems require about five times more engineering and installation labor to build than packaged solutions — and, by unifying power and process control, op- erations and maintenance activities are greatly simplified. An IPP system also allows mine opera- tors to seamlessly access energy data and see it in the context of process control data. These insights can help rein in en- ergy, downtime and maintenance costs. For example, operators can use the data to see if an asset is being under or over utilized, then make any necessary adjustments. It is also possible to track a mine's energy consumption trends versus production and the consumption of each piece of equipment or processing area. Matheys told E&MJ: "Workers can also use the data to better identify and respond to potential downtime issues. For example, they may see abnormal energy usage in a mill, which could be an early indicator of an equipment failure and de- ploy a technician to investigate the issue before a failure occurs. "If equipment does fail, operators can quickly see where the failure occurred and have access to electrical data to help pinpoint the root cause. When the root cause is understood, it's easier to dis- patch the right worker with the right tools to make the right repair. "What's more, an intelligent system that supports remote access allows mine workers to bring in the help of a remote subject-matter expert to trouble- shoot issues or provide repair guidance, if needed." An integrated system can even start to predict when equipment is going to fail. By tracking data such as motor voltages and currents, the system can learn pat- terns that indicate a failure will occur. It can alert workers of impending failures, so they can adjust production accordingly and assign a technician to investigate the issue. For example, electrical power can be correlated to SAG mill lifter wear or ball mill grinding wear. All these insights are difficult to ob- tain when power and process control are operating as separate systems. Integrat- ing power and process control gives min- ing companies the ability to add electri- cal system information to the repertoire of information they are already parsing to optimize production and minimize un- planned downtime. One immediate business benefit to integrating power and process control systems is that it enables energy cost ac- counting across all mine assets, making it possible to access insights into overall operational electrical costs, as they cor- relate to production yields. Making the Most of Existing Assets Miners are also looking to power manage- ment suppliers to help extend the life of existing electrical system assets.

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