Siemens: All-Round Process Solutions Strengthen Competitiveness in Open-Cast Mining

With its range of all-round solutions for each individual stage of production in open-cast mining, Siemens makes a significant contribution to transparency in the production process, thus enhancing the competitiveness of mining companies. In future, mine operators will be able to react more quickly to market fluctuations and changes in production conditions. “In generating transparency, our goal is to optimize the complete value adding process”, explained Robert Wagner of the Siemens Industrial Solutions and Services (I&S) Group who is responsible for the worldwide open-cast mining business of the corporation. “We have a wide portfolio of products and systems which are based on electrical engineering standards and which we developed specifically for this industry. Once the individual stages of production have been automated, a holistic consideration of all processes and procedures makes it possible to improve production according to business-management criteria and to do so in a more effective manner than was previously thought possible.”

After successfully launching its industry-specific families of products at the Expomin fair two years ago, Siemens has now augmented its range of solutions for industrial and infrastructural installations for open-cast mining. The new MES tool, Simine Prolog, for example, ensures a continuous flow of information which closes the gap between the management level and production. Now, all processes can be optimized from a business-management point of view on the basis of company objectives. The use of the modular MES solution makes it possible to increase the productivity and economic efficiency of the mine. With such process solutions, modernization concepts and in situ servicing, Siemens secures the whole life cycle of mining installations. A holistic consideration of production enables Siemens to increase productivity, quality and availability while lowering energy consumption and costs and reducing environmental pollution.

A new approach for pelleting plants involves an innovative plant design which raises productivity, reduces environmental pollution and also results in a decrease in operating costs. Improved control of the roasting process and the re-use of process gases reduce fuel consumption and the amount of dust produced. In conjunction with optimized control of the thermal process, the new process technology improves the overall economic efficiency of pelleting plants.

With the world’s first gearless walking dragline, Siemens has set a new standard for drives. The gearless drive system called “Simine Drag” replaces direct-current motors and mechanical gears. This minimizes the maintenance and repair costs and increases productivity by up to 20 per cent as the greater speed range of the gearless drive enables faster loading and unloading of the drag shovel. The drive system can also be retrofitted at any time on draglines which are already in use. Siemens already supplies gearless drive systems for various applications in open-cast mining, for example for mills in ore treatment plants and bucket-chain excavators.

With the servicing concept of Siemens, equipment has a longer useful life with problem-free operation over its whole life cycle. Service technicians are on call 24 hours a day all over the world. The modernization of plants is a central feature of the extensive services provided by Siemens. The latest project in Chile involves the upgrading of grinding and belt drives in the copper mine of the company Minera Los Pelambres Ltda. The drives are being fitted out with additional or new motor components as well as transformers, converters and switching devices. The objective is to increase the pulverizing and transport capacities and thus the production of copper concentrate.

The standardization of maintenance systems for remote monitoring of all components of mobile open-cast mining machines such as excavators is enabled by the integration of the data acquisition and diagnostic tools, “Siras” and “Midas”. Siras (Siemens Remote Access System) is a data acquisition tool which provides diagnostic information in real time by means of a wireless Internet connection, even at remote locations. The tool enables access to the drive and control systems of machines. Regular monitoring and immediate fault rectification by specialists ensure optimum availability and considerably reduced servicing costs.

Midas (Monitoring Interaction Diagnostic Analysis Service) collects data during ongoing plant operation and uses this data to carry out analyses of production and optimize systems. This enables service engineers to gain access at all times to the key process, electrical and mechanical data of all the system components. As a result, a maintenance schedule can be drawn up in advance. The analysis of machine performance and productivity is carried out with the help of a plant information system.

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