Metals & Mining

An early-stage fault detector for pipelines that reduces downtime

Key facts

360°

real time visibility of plant assets

15+

datasets displayed

4

interconnected components

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Top business benefits

Increase plant uptime

Reduced OPEX

Reduced risk of employee injuries

Reduced risk of plant failure

Reduced risk of environmental damage

Lengthens the life of assets

Improved operational efficiency

In more detail

Full description

Mines rely on thick pipes and chutes to transport rock, slurry, tailings and ore often over vast distances. These materials are highly abrasive and cause uneven wear in pipes, chutes and other wear plates, leading to leakages, unexpected failures and even full mine shutdowns. Where material is discharged into the environment, heavy fines can result too.

To avoid such failures, mines rely on constant manual inspection of assets and replacing pipes at fixed intervals, both highly labour and cost intensive.

This ground-breaking IIOT sensor system continuously monitors pipelines, chutes and storage bins in real-time to pinpoint even early stages of wall thickness reduction. Its deployment means that plants no longer have to shut down for lengthy routine manual maintenance inspections. This preventative technology highlights minor easily fixed problems and puts an end to plant failures caused by overlooked faults. It is cost-effective to install and can reduce maintenance team staffing requirements.

The challenge

Most operators employ teams of inspectors to keep their plants in peak operational condition. Manually inspecting the insides of pipes, chutes and storage bins is time-consuming, labour intensive and costly, due to plant downtime and lost production; most crucially, it is not failsafe. A pipe can be inspected and marked as a pass one day and be damaged the next. It may be weeks before that section of pipe is checked again, by which point wear may have reached critical levels.

Severely damaged pipelines in mining operations can lead to injury, death and devastating environmental destruction. Millions of dollars are often spent on repairs and dealing with the aftermath. Incidents such as tailings or process chemical leaks can also cause huge damage to your brand.

The approach

Deploying this IIOT sensor system throughout your mining operation guarantees that your entire network is being constantly monitored for signs of wear and abrasion.

Sensor probes are fitted inside the pipes, bins and chutes and on any equipment that may suffer abrasion, such as wear plates. Sensor nodes then encrypt and transmit the sensor probe data, using a low-power wireless network, to a base station covering a radius of up to 8kms. The base station decrypts and collates the sensor node data and when an abnormality is detected, an alert appears on the central user interface dashboard in real time using secure Enterprise Level cloud infrastructure. This can then be scheduled for repair.

Not only does this drastically reduce major infrastructure repairs and plant failures, the constant monitoring extends the life of assets by enabling early remediating actions and it cuts the number of maintenance staff required on site at any one time. The ultimate benefit to the operation is twofold: greater asset uptime and throughput, combined with a lower maintenance cost.

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