Mining Equipment Gets Smarter as Metso Standardizes Its Metrics Data Analytics Solution
Much of Metso's mining and aggregate equipment will now come standard with Metso Metrics for data analytics to increase process efficiency and reduce downtime.
Metso, a Finnish industrial equipment provider for applications from mining to pulp and paper to oil and gas, has been having a big month.
Metso was recently selected to provide material handling and crushing equipment for a South American mining operation run by the De Beers Group, one of the largest mineral mines in the region. For this application, De Beers Group chose Metso’s Nordberg C Series jaw crusher range. Jaw crushers are often used in aggregate and mining operations to crush materials down from large sizes to pieces that measure below 30 cm.
The Metso NW106 plant built around the Nordberg C106 jaw crusher. Image used courtesy of Metso
Additionally, the end of the year brings fresh confirmation that Metso is prioritizing the connectivity and data analysis associated with Industry 4.0.
Last week, Metso's Manager of Field Service Applications, Jari Hytti, told Aggregate Business that their data reporting platform, Metso Metrics, has become standard for several major jaw crushers and cone crushers (the latter being often associated with breaking down 30 cm-sized material into smaller pieces).
Beginning with their new equipment in the GP-series and C-series crushers, says Hytti, Metso Metrics will now be standard. What does that mean for engineers?
Metso Metrics for Preventative Maintenance
Metso Metrics is marketed to engineers as a way to monitor many aspects of their equipment remotely and in real-time. This is accomplished through the use of sensors across the equipment in question (e.g., 90+ sensors on a piece of equipment such as a mobile jaw crusher plant) that transmit data back to a management center. This data is analyzed and made available to engineers through an interface that allows overall operations and process monitoring, individual equipment check-ups, and alarms in the case of issues.
The aim of such a system is to improve efficiencies and reduce downtime by providing analytics that can make monitoring more effective. The use of AI (i.e., machine-learning algorithms) can also yield preventative maintenance advisements from the same data.
Hytti also hinted at the impending release of a new benchmarking tool that would compare this high-level information to that of other operations around the globe for a better understanding of how a company stacks up compared to their peers.
Remote Monitoring and Control with Metso IC Crusher Automation
In order for Metso Metrics to function, it needs specific information on equipment and its uses. This is why it works in conjunction with Metso IC crusher automation, the company's process control system offering.
The interface for the Metso IC crusher automation program. Image used courtesy of Metso
Designed for remote monitoring and control, the Metso IC solution is geared towards the specific operation and maintenance of equipment directly. This is the system that has allowed for plant-level automation using centralized control for both a crusher (including adjustments to its specific operating parameters) and the entirety of the plant through one interface.
A depiction of Metso IC's rock crusher remote control functionality. Image used courtesy of Metso
Combined with Metrics, Metso now aims to provide higher-level data analytics for the systems engineers use on a daily basis.
The Landscape of Mining Automation Platforms
With the advent of automated mining comes intense competition amongst equipment manufacturers. There is a host of data management systems for mining equipment from manufacturers like Caterpillar, Hexagon Mining, and others that compare more directly with Metso IC crusher automation. Some also offer more generalized site optimization solutions that can track an area's entire wellbeing, including underground operations.
Automation platforms that provide data analytics for equipment maintenance that are broadly analogous to Metso Metrics include Epiroc's 6th Sense system and Sandvik's OptiMine Monitoring, which are touted as platforms that can increase operations efficiencies, as well.
Companies that don't produce equipment, however, are also producing management software for mining applications, such as Pulse Mining ERP (enterprise resource managing), which was developed as a management platform by a software company.
Do you have experience with any of these platforms? What are the unique challenges you associate with mining and aggregate applications? Share your thoughts in the comments below.