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Digging Up More With Less

The Metal and Mining industry, with its current $240 billion global mine project development potential, is not showing signs of slowing down.

Although the industry is diverse and fragmented, the positive outlook for the majority of commodities has not changed. In particular, high demand remains in the copper, aluminum and gold sectors.

Industry recognition and demand for automation and advanced controls have increased Emerson Process Management’s focus on the industry, with an estimated market potential of more than $2 billion in automation annual expenditure in the areas directly served by Emerson.

Tough Place for Equipment and People

Maximizing asset utilization is a major industry driver, because expensive, large, and often mobile assets (drag lines, trucks, and the like) must remain operational with minimal interruption. Asset breakdown can bring an operation to its knees until repairs are made.

Processing plants have additional challenges, as processes are mostly continuous and enjoy little or no redundancy. Uninterrupted production is the ultimate goal, as any unexpected stop may require long and expensive start up procedures.

The challenge is compounded by the severe nature of the production. Erosive, corrosive or abrasive processes reduce equipment life significantly — valves on bauxite slurries, for example, might last only weeks or months.
In this setting, smart instruments and controls offer appreciable benefits by providing predictive diagnostics to identify equipment wear or problems so they can be resolved before failure occurs.

People, Power, Procurement Challenges — Automation Answers

There are various other challenges. High personnel turnover and the retirement of highly experienced personnel are the latest trends. Consumption of expensive and often scarce electrical power, diesel or water is high, making resource optimization paramount. Procurement challenges are numerous, including sourcing of long lead-time equipment, and obtaining support for high maintenance needs or remote areas. The solution? Global partners with fast response and local presence
Emerson’s PlantWeb meets these challenges on a number of fronts. It improves the financial performance of a plant, enabling earlier start up and faster ramping up than alternatives. It allows high operational efficiencies and handles personnel challenges by allowing customers to do more with fewer people. Most importantly, PlantWeb’s predictive maintenance helps minimize unplanned shutdown and improve results.

Emerson education services play a major role in support of automation initiatives. They help improve operations for novice as well experienced operators and offer comprehensive simulation services, rapidly becoming a standard optimization tool.

Emerson’s global reach, reputation and complete services are reasons while some of the major mining clients and EPC providers have partnered with us.
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