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New technology delivers savings for resources sector

IPACSRemote sensor technology showcased at Adelaide’s new Remote Operation Centre is helping deliver significant savings for resource companies.

Local company IPACS Australia developed the new technology which underpins the new centre.

The technology is seen as helping local resource companies deliver more cost efficient operations, with the centre enabling businesses to more accurately detect faults before they occur – reducing maintenance costs and increasing reliability, productivity and efficiency.

The Remote Operation Centre is one of the foundation projects under the Mining and Petroleum Services Centre of Excellence.

The State Government has contributed $660,000 towards the $2.074 million centre, which IPACS Australia has established with contributions from the University of South Australia, HP, OSIsoft and their pilot customers, Lucas TCS/Arrium and Thiess/OZ Minerals.

Remote sensor data analytics – or keeping tabs on plant equipment from a central office location – can save millions of dollars by avoiding equipment failure, which in a remote mine can cost many days of lost production.

Managing Director of IPACS Australia Pty Ltd Kailash Nath Sriram said people were familiar with the benefits of remote monitoring centres in sectors like traffic flow management, through to the centralised monitoring of water levels and water quality.

“Now, we are monitoring the real-time asset performance of mining vehicles, boilers, smelters, SCADA systems and mining fixed-plant infrastructure for some of the world’s largest miners and contract miners,” he said.

“Mining service operators can deploy sensors across essential operational equipment in their mines and oil fields thousands of kilometres away, stream that data back to this operations centre, where it is plugged into diagnostic models that use smart mathematics (algorithms and predictive analytics).

“Remote operators can then readily assess equipment performance and schedule repairs or maintenance only when required, reducing operating costs, maintaining or increasing production, and, vitally, averting costly production shut-downs.”

Mr Sriram said during a recent pilot, service providers had trialled the use of sensors collecting data on the wheels of mining trucks, where the type of vibrations had indicated wear on the gear box and the components of ore crushers, with the streamed live data alerting engineers to potential problems in the crusher screen and identifying the need for urgent maintenance.

“By taking vehicles in need of maintenance off-line for repairs, the remainder fleet can operate unimpeded; in addition, trucks can safely operate for longer periods between servicing.”

Image Caption: IPACS Australia’s remote sensor technology is being used at projects including OzMinerals’ Prominent Hill Mine

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