Digitalisation powers on

The role of digitalisation within the mining industry is growing each year. Along with sustainability and increasing plant efficiency, it is one of the megatrends of the moment.

This is the view of thyssenkrupp Industrial Solution Head of Product Management Matthias Göing and thyssenkrupp Industrial Solution Global Product Manager Automation and Digitalisation Martin Krex.

Of the three megatrends, Mr Göing and Mr Krex said they viewed the role of digitalisation as the most important as it touched on the other two.

“The use of digital solutions is a key lever in increasing process efficiencies as well as ensuring sustainability for our customers,” Mr Göing said. “thyssenkrupp Business Unit Mining is presently busy with transferring machine know-how by using digitalisation into digitalised expertise.”

As part of this, thyssenkrupp has recently released its version of a digital twin model which is more than just a dynamic virtual presentation, according to Mr Krex.

“The digital twin in thyssenkrupp’s eyes consists of two parts,” he said. “One part is the 3D visualisation of the machine or plant to get a better grasp on what is currently installed, understanding dimensions and the relation between plant portions.

“The second part is a dynamic mathematical model which reflects machine behaviour under specific input conditions. Both parts are interconnected to create a useful link between design and operations of a machine along the whole product lifecycle.”

One example of a digital twin solution is thyssenkrupp’s conveyor digital twin, which can be applied to conveyors used in the iron ore industry.

Within this solution, thyssenkrupp is able to build a complete digital twin of any conveyor including visualisation of the mechanical components and their operational behaviour by using mathematical modelling. This mathematical model will be fed with live or recorded field data to train the model to improve the predicting accuracy.

“After training the model, thyssenkrupp is able to understand critical start and stop processes of the conveyor as well as visualise complex mechanical behaviours, for example belt tension or belt velocity at any point on the conveyor,” Mr Göing said. “Furthermore, thyssenkrupp is able to simulate variable belt speeds to find the best operating point for the existing components.

“With the help of the digital twin, unforeseen power oscillations caused by drive slip can be identified and avoided by adjusting the system accordingly.”

Mr Krex said the ability of the digital twin system to predict anomalies was one of its biggest benefits as this would lead to a reduction in unplanned downtimes as well as plant failures which in turn would lead to increased production output.

“Furthermore, the prediction of anomalies reduces required maintenance,” Mr Krex said.

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