Untapped big data key to WA’s mining future, Technology Showcase 2019

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The engineering transition of the WA resource industry will be powered by massive autonomous devices, satellites, virtual reality and highly skilled controllers working thousands of kilometers off site in air-conditioned remote operating centers.

Untapped big data key to WA’s mining future, Technology Showcase 2019

Yet Ivan Vella— the man already in charge of the world’s largest robot— by Rio Tinto insists that their performance will all depend on data analytics’ “untapped” potential.

Mr Vella, who operates rail, port and core infrastructure in the iron ore division of Rio, oversaw the $1.3 billion AutoHaul driverless train system of the mining giant in the Pilbara.

Developed in cooperation with Hitachi Rail, Calibre, New York Air Brake and Wabtec, it now has over 200 locomotives on over 1,700 kilometers of track carrying coal from 16 mines to four port terminals.

“Mining’s future lies in data analytics: it is without a doubt our industry’s biggest untapped enabler and disrupter,” he said.

“Our data science team is swimming in an information sea, which is crucial to maintaining our autonomous systems ‘ performance and ongoing security.

“We have sensors and systems for AutoHaul that allow the team to tell us when maintenance is needed next, data can show the wear and tear of the track and make adjustments on the fly as needed.

“We know exactly where each train is, how big it is, how slow it’s going, how long it’s going to be at the terminal, and what services we’ll need when it gets there. Even a small improvement in quality or productivity in each AutoHaul trip can make a big difference. “After the rail network improvements were completed late last year, Rio said the next automation step will be” speaking to each other “for their cars, trucks and drilling systems.

At the Resources Technology Showcase 2019 in Perth on November 27 and 28, Mr Vella will share his experience of the AutoHaul roll-out as a keynote speaker.

CEOs, CEOs and Chief Technical Officers from fellow resource powerhouses including BHP, Exxon, Fortescue Metals Group, Woodside and INPEX will also announce their plans to change their operations.

Mr Vella said it took time and substantial organizational change to extract full value from innovation, but getting the right framework can help the industry realize the full potential of an automated production system.

“Our industry is at the beginning of an incredible era and the opportunities that lie ahead are truly amazing,” he said.

“We’ve already achieved great things through automation and data analytics as an industry, but the next big thing is still on its way.

“These future advances will change the way we operate, they will change business models and change supply chains and partnerships.”

Rio is already tipping iron ore mine $2.6 billion from Koodaideri, 100 km from Newman, will be its most technologically advanced project in Pilbara. A $285 million contract has already been signed by Caterpillar equipment manufacturer WestTrac to supply 20 autonomous 793F trucks and four automated blast drills along with other machinery.

Mr Vella said Rio had ensured that a local workforce was available to run the network in the future and had collaborated with WA Government and South Metropolitan TAFE to create Australia’s first nationally recognized automation qualifications.

In addition to the meeting, RTS2019 will host a free grand exhibition at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, offering visitors a first-hand look at the technologies used to develop mining, oil and gas projects in WA.

For the full program of speakers and panels, or to register, go to rtsperth.com.au

This content was originally published here.

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