Engineering & Mining Journal

NOV 2017

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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68 E&MJ • NOVEMBER 2017 www.e-mj.com OPERATING STRATEGIES In a bold initiative that refl ects the modern mine-as-a-factory concept, Brazil-based Vale is in the latter stages of deploying a new Manufacturing Execution System (MES) for its Brazilian iron and manga- nese ore units, replacing 17 legacy sys- tems previously in use. Overall, 38 mines, plants and warehouses will be included in the new system, called Vale Produc- tion Management-Mining (GPV-M). The implementation has been completed at 20 units in Minas Gerais, Maranhão and Pará, with fi nal installations scheduled for completion by the end of 2017. Ac- cording to Vale, the initiative will save the company roughly $70 million in the next few years. The company described the MES as "a highly tailor-made solution aligned with Vale's specifi c needs," guaranteeing transparency along the entire value chain and at all facilities, from the mines to the railway and port facilities. GPV-M imple- mentation, said Vale, is in line with its policy to cut costs and optimize the mar- gin from the productivity increase. "GPV-M is one of the foundations of our digital strategy, which aims to es- tablish a platform that will allow Vale to reach new heights of productivity through the combination of new technologies and processes," said Janio Souza, Vale's IT innovation manager. Development of GPV-M began in 2014 by Vale's Information Technology and Fer- rous business in partnership with Chem- tech, a Siemens Group company. Imple- mentation got under way in October 2016. According to Vale, deployment of the MES is intended to provide three major fi nancial gains. First, reduction of IT costs stemming from upkeep of the many different systems and platforms previous- ly used by the company's business groups is expected to yield $19 million savings up to 2020. Second is a reduction in costs asso- ciated with operational impacts caused by system downtime. Third is the an- ticipated savings from higher labor and fi xed-asset productivity — supported by improved system usability and great- er availability of information for deci- sion-making. These two operational gains are estimated to reach $53 million over the same period. Reduced downtime (in which the sys- tem is "offl ine") is the result of more modern and robust technology of GPV-M compared to older systems. The increase in agility and reduction of unproductive hours are obtained by the higher level of integration with automation systems that provide immediate and reliable data, besides requiring less manual work (typing, for example) and being more in- tuitive for operators. Vale said it also expects to exploit the advantages offered by adopting a single Vale Predicts $70M in Savings From New IT System Initiative Vale is nearing completion of a program to replace a large number of legacy software systems at its Brazilian mines, plants and ports with an integrated Manufacturing Execution System that can handle 1.2 terabytes of information in real time and maintain vital business intelligence information in a single, widely accessible database.

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