We recently hosted a webinar with Alexander Fach, Technology Manager from ABB, on the benefits of advanced process control solutions (APC) for the mining industry. For those who missed the webinar, here are the key takeaways from the webinar:
What are APC solutions, and how do they work?
• Advanced Process Control (APC) solutions are a centralised software control tool that collects information from various processes to apply the right controls and deliver the best output.
• They help drive processes and operations in an optimum manner (“like an autopilot”) against specific set points along the targeted process.
• There are devices and equipment like valves and sensors which you can incorporate into a control loop and through APCs reduce output variations.
• In some cases, APCs also enable the predictive control of processes, whereby algorithms help make predictions on how the processes evolve. Operators can then fine-tune existing processes and parameters accordingly.
In what cases can mining companies benefit from optimising processes using APC and data analytics?
• The benefits are wide-ranging. Often they are oriented towards the targets, and goals companies want to achieve.
• In the case of cyanide control process, one can design process control to reduce energy consumption, to cut the use of reagent or to increase throughput. In other cases, it can also be to reduce production variations and stabilise operational output.
• Often, these processes also improve financial KPIs, such as lower operating costs and reduced energy consumption. ABB offers a wide variety of APC solutions for the mining industry, and companies have access to the support services from their collaborative centres that help companies get the most value out of the APC solutions.
What are the critical steps and factors to successfully implement APC solutions?
• Successful implementation of APC solution is often a combination of having the expertise in process optimisation, from providers like ABB and having the specific domain expertise. To create the most value, it requires collaboration among different stakeholders.
• In the case of cyanide testing with APC solution, CyanoGuard will provide the expertise in cyanide management, ABB will provide the expertise in process control and optimisation, and mining operators will contribute their local know-how on operations.
How can one work with the lack of historical data when introducing APC solutions?
• In those cases, one can run the solution and gather some data for a short period. Alternatively, one can rely on creating different scenarios, much like building a digital twin of the process.