ABB Partners with the University of WA to Progress Industry 4.0 Standards for the Future Digital Mine

ABB collaboration will enhance interoperability for mining operations management while a process automation test project brings enhanced information exchange to Gold Fields Australia Granny Smith gold mine

ABB has linked with the University of Western Australia’s new Energy & Resources Digital Interoperability Industry 4.0 TestLab, run by Enterprise Transformation Partners, to advance Industry 4.0 open process automation standards.

This includes collaboration on AMIRA Global’s P1208 Interoperability Enablement for Natural Resources project which is designed to realize the future digital mine. It aims to develop and implement interoperability standards for mine planning, mine scheduling, and execution so that equipment and applications for mine operations become ‘plug and play’. Building on the University of Western Australia I4.0 ERDi Test Lab, this initiative will enable an offsite test laboratory to evaluate the efficacy of interoperability of technology without disrupting ongoing mining activities.

Separate to the AMIRA project, ABB is also working closely with ETP on an integrated systems project at Gold Fields’ Granny Smith mine 740km northeast of Perth, Western Australia. It is one of the largest and highest producing gold mine operations in the country. The project will enhance the ABB Ability Operations Management System Platform – Fleet Management Software Module to support the latest in reliable messaging and Industry 4.0 interoperability standards; ISA-95 via B2MML V7.0. This advancement will enable the mine to connect and coordinate mine operators, workforce, equipment, and all mining activities in real-time, from face preparation to the crusher.

Mark Frame ETP, Richard Marsh ABB, Shannon McDermott Gold Fields, Andrew Whibley Gold Fields at the ERDi i4.0 Testlab Grand Opening
Mark Frame ETP, Richard Marsh ABB, Shannon McDermott Gold Fields, Andrew Whibley Gold Fields at the ERDi i4.0 Testlab Grand Opening. Courtesy of ABB.

“In 2019 we launched the Integrated Systems Project to increase production throughput of the Granny Smith gold mine,” said Michael Place, Technical Service Manager, Gold Fields Australia. “To achieve the objective of a fully connected mine, we are working with ABB and ETP to build an integrated business process and system architecture that will enable visibility of operational activities in near real-time via automated information exchange between various mining systems.”

“The system architecture has been designed to allow deployment across various operations both open pit and underground. This deployment will be the major phase of the technology strategy for the Granny Smith mine and will be a pilot for integrated platforms across Gold Fields Australia, which aims to create one of the most innovative, digitally connected mines in the world. This project and agreement will be key to achieving this.”

“ABB’s investment, both in financial terms as well as time, together with their expertise, is critical for this project to support the re-engineering of products that are often required to deliver a reliable, performant, and standards-compliant software package,” said ETP Managing Director, John Kirkman. “The performance requirements of a software package that exchanges and processes granular events with rich information in real-time, when compared to a software package designed for periodical manual entry, are like comparing chalk and cheese and that’s where ABB plays a big role.”

“Industry 4.0 and digital transformation are huge opportunities for the Australian mining industry with automation, analytics, and artificial intelligence generating insights and accelerating greater productivity and efficiency,” said Stuart Cowie, Head of Industrial Automation Process Industries, ABB Australia. “This underlines ABB’s commitment to ensuring Industry 4.0 concepts influence its product roadmaps into the future, and demonstrates the significant value that can be delivered to customers through interoperability and automation across both processes and systems. It will give ABB valuable insights into digital transformation and Industry 4.0 concepts for mining. Through our work with the ERDi TestLab, the OMS platform has become an even more powerful tool with reliable real-time access to operational data through ISA95 standardized messages.”

As part of POC 1, ABB will showcase ABB Ability Operations Management System and Fleet Management System software to AMIRA P1208 project sponsors, automatically exchanging information with scheduling and materials tracking software packages via i4.0 standard interfaces.

About ABB

ABB is a leading global technology company that energizes the transformation of society and industry to achieve a more productive, sustainable future. By connecting software to its electrification, robotics, automation, and motion portfolio, ABB pushes the boundaries of technology to drive performance to new levels. With a history of excellence stretching back more than 130 years, ABB’s success is driven by about 110,000 talented employees in over 100 countries.

About UWA

The University of Western Australia is a public research university in the Australian state of Western Australia. The university’s main campus is in Perth. UWA is proud to rank 86 in the Top 100 Universities around the world. The University’s mission is to provide world-class education, research, and community engagement for the advancement of the prosperity and welfare of our communities.

About ERDi i4.0 TestLab

The University of Western Australia’s Energy & Resources Digital Interoperability Industry 4.0 TestLab has been established to work with industry to develop new technologies as part of the fourth industrial revolution (known as Industry 4.0). Industry 4.0 Testlabs are a strategic initiative of the Australian Prime Minister’s Industry 4.0 Taskforce, which was formed in 2016 with the support of the Australian Government. The Taskforce is also working in close collaboration with the German Labs Network Industrie 4.0, the key organization driving the development and deployment of Industry 4.0 Testbeds in Germany. I4.0 aligned architecture and technology components will deliver the next step-change in operational performance for the Energy and Resources sectors. I4.0 interoperability standards are critical in unlocking this value. The ERDi Testlab is a state of the art facility that will enable the rapid realization of these benefits through research, development, trials, testing, and education.

About Gold Fields

Gold Fields is a globally diversified gold producer with nine operating mines in Australia, Peru, South Africa, and West Africa (including the Asanko JV), as well as one project in Chile. They have total attributable annual gold-equivalent production of 2.2Moz, attributable gold equivalent Mineral Reserves of 51.3Moz, and Mineral Resources of 115.7Moz.


Source: ABB

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