FLSmidth has a range of digital solutions for their customers

Providing customers with a pit-to-port range of productivity-enhancing equipment, services and solutions is the bread and butter of FLSmidth.

When combined, digital solutions such as FLSmidth’s can give miners the ability to run smoothly and effectively through all stages of production.

Providing customers with a pit-to-port range of productivity-enhancing equipment, services and solutions is the bread and butter of FLSmidth, a company that isn’t content to rest on its laurels.

Founded in 1882, FLSmidth continues to grow its customer base and range of services for customers around the world. The company plays a key role in delivering sustainable productivity to the global mining industry and focuses on using innovative technology, digital solutions, and strong partnerships to do so.

A large focus for the company is optimisation and innovation and it has invested substantial time into making sure customers have access to the most innovative equipment and services available.

But optimisation is not a one-time event, according to FLSmidth regional digital manager Julio Rodriguez.

“It’s not something you do at one point in time and clap your hands and say, ‘job done’. It’s a continuum,” Rodriguez told Australian Mining.

“You need to routinely go back and confirm the overall performance as the customers’ demands and objectives are continuously evolving. This could be due to ore grades, regulation, or market conditions.

“FLSmidth’s solutions are evergreen, to use an industry term.”

FLSmidth is committed to providing proactive aftermarket support and a large part of this process is its remote-support program, which includes condition-monitoring and service exchange. This delivers continuous improvements to a mine’s productivity and sustainability.

This support helps customers optimise planned and unplanned maintenance activities that might otherwise spot a problem too late or overlook it entirely. Mines can be more proactive so uptime can be maximised and maintenance costs can be reduced.

Another strength of FLSmidth is the company’s ability to provide equipment and services across the entire flowsheet.

“From the mine pit all the way to when the product gets put on a ship or a train,” Rodriguez said.

FLSmidth has a wide range of smart digital solutions that ensures customers always get the best plant-wide optimisation based on site characteristics.

Digital solutions such as LoadIQ smart sensor technology monitor and adjust current mill load and capacity in real-time, boosting throughput performance for all grinding conditions, reducing excessive power consumption and increasing energy efficiency. Smart sensors, cutting-edge technology and artificial intelligence (AI)-based software work with each system and operate to achieve optimal capacity, with a minimum 3–6 per cent increase in throughput.

Elsewhere, the ECS/ProcessExpert advanced process control system uses AI technologies to optimise plant operations. It enables mining companies to reduce energy consumption, downtime, maintenance, and process and quality variability. It stabilises key processes, and manages and corrects process disruptions, such as mill load target optimiser – automatically adjusting the mill load according to weight target and process conditions. ECS/ProcessExpert also can be incorporated with other FLSmidth smart sensors, like PlantVision camera-based measurement system or KREBS SmartCyclone automation technology.

For grade tracking and 3D stockyard visualisation, FLSmidth has the BulkExpert Stockview digital solution which tracks material distribution based on process signals of bulk stockyard machines. At any time, the digital twin of the pile provides an operator with inventory information, even of the inside of the pile.

“Moving forward, a key vision for us is to combine all of these optimisation solutions across the whole flowsheet, and not just optimise individual units, or process islands, in the operation,” Rodriguez said.

A primary feature of FLSmidth’s remote access solutions is the SiteConnect insights app, which allows customers to access real-time insights on the performance of their site no matter where they are.

“You don’t have to rely on individuals looking at screens 24–7 anymore,” Rodriguez said. “Now you can have AI monitoring the system for you that can pick up any anomalies and inform you on your mobile phone.

“This is about visualising the data in real-time – the first transparent step in the process before the data is analysed and a solution is arrived at for the customer.”

What can customers expect for the future at FLSmidth? According to Rodriguez, the future is in subscriptions.

“We’re investigating a new model where we lease everything,” he said. “Customers should be able to buy a subscription and have access to our solutions and any updates or routine maintenance that goes along with that.”

Called Software as a Service (SaaS), customers will be able to use it just as they would any other subscription service.

“It’s all about continuous improvements. We give you the hardware and software and the software is continuously checking and updating,” Rodriguez said.

FLSmidth wants to broaden horizons and adapt to changes with their customers to provide them with services and solutions that see them through their whole mining lifecycle.

This goal will be facilitated by recent partnerships FLSmidth has announced with Microsoft and AVEVA. The latter will allow FLSmidth to use AVEVA technology to securely integrate and provide various digitally enabled, data-driven services to mining customers and accelerate the digitalisation of mining operations.

This feature appeared in the June issue of Australian Mining.

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