Loesche goes for Hard Rock

Modern technology continuously improves with new inventions moving and changing the world markets now that the world has become digital. This increased demand for digital has put immense pressure on certain raw materials which is required for this industry and has increased exponentially with the world market demands. To go green and protect the beautiful planet we live on has  requested environmentally friendlier processes, with the drive to combat climate change, the use of fossil fuels which is becoming  redundant.

Pressure on the use of oil and coal can be seen with two of the largest sectors in world making the change, motor cars and electricity, by these changes demand on raw materials has been identified but if not supplied efficiently can drive up costs. The world population has grown, and the use of resources has grown exponentially, what are these resources? fresh water and electricity.

Exponential growth for resources has put growth demands on mining houses to provide the resources needed to continue however, fresh water and electricity are becoming a scarce commodity. Traditional circuits used in the mining industry are becoming redundant now due to water and electricity demands and have been forced at looking outside of the box for more im­proved circuits. Loesche has seen this change coming over the past 20 years and has adapted its sta­ble and robust vertical roller mills (VRM) to suite milling ores and now complicated ores, reducing water and electricity usage whilst allowing the mines to control OPEX better and increase their profitabil­ity. Today sees the dawn of a new era of processing ores especially milling circuits aimed at reducing the pressure on natural resources.

To describe the changes better, Loesche has been awarded a major comminution circuit on a EPCM ba­sis to design and build the commi­nution circuit to handle 12 million tons of complicated copper-nickel ore per annum, the plant has been  designed to ensure all year-round pro­duction even when maintenance is been done. This will also be a world first for mining, the complete pro­cessing plant has been designed to operate completely on renewable energy utilising solar and wind. Utilis­ing VRM technology has allowed the process to use renewable energy as the circuit has been made simpler and more cost effective. A ore re­duction ratio of the VRM’s is taking 140mm feed to down to a P80@75 microns in a dry process in one mill, the milled product is fed directly to the floatation circuit in a controlled dosed manner, from trials done the recovery has increased by between 3 – 6% using less chemicals and the process water is cleaner allowing for efficient recycling.

What has been the biggest identi­fied issue with the mining and en­gineering houses is the reluctance to change and by this, engineering houses are continuously offering tra­ditional comminution circuits which they can be confident on  using. Due to Human Limitations, blind spots and static process control, production errors often go undetected or unreported in time and these errors then propagate. To make production plants more efficient, resilient and safe, it is necessary to reconsider how errors are addressed, being able to find solutions to problems in near real time during the production process. Adapting to process variables and analyzing big data at speeds and quantities beyond human capabilities, are the most basic principles of artificial intelligence.

Another advantage of artificial intelligence is that it can help scrutinize processes more thoroughly than traditional control systems allow, especially in applications which require the processing of large amounts of data. Therefore, a major contribution that artificial intelligence and machine learning are making to controls technology, is the ability to simpli­fy the detection and resolution of problems before they have a possibility to get worse. LOESCHE‘s innovative digital real-time  optimizer incorporating  state-of-the-art statistic and machine-learning  algorithms.

Adaptive neural networks can improve the accuracy of pattern recognition and predic­tion by adapting to the most optimal model structure and changing inputs while training. Real-time artificial intelligence in process optimization can take over and optimize your plant as an auto pilot, reducing the need to have experienced or highly skilled opera­tors in front of the panel. It reduces power consumption and emissions, and increase output, reliably and consistency.

It is a technology which learns from existing APC models (Advance Process Controls), simulations or historical sensor data to apply this feedback to the process, allowing the control algorithm to become more intelligent. In addition, the very high calculation speeds of AIPC make predictive control possible. The higher reaction rates enable real-time process control.

The road to Industry 4.0 will be different for every compa­ny. It’s therefore necessary to begin by analyzing each com­pany’s current situation and goals. What are the strategic objectives for the next few years? What technologies have already been implemented? Loesche has developed the first of its kind combined solution to reach stage 6 maturity in your digital journey.