Nothing grim about minesite execution

Manufacturing execution systems can now be used to link the various aspects of mining operations.

Thanks to the ever-burgeoning field of industrial information tech nology, mining companies now have access to a range of tools that help plan, control and monitor production.

However, as a result of this variety, the different information gathered can often be misaligned with the business’ targets and objectives.

According to Siemens, Manufactur ing Execution Systems (MES) are designed to visualise and manage an entire mining production process, linking the differ ent functions.

The Siemens SIMINE MES is a web- based user interface that can provide a transparent representation of the oper ation to make production more flexi ble, the company said.

The technology analyses and syn chronises all of the production data, helping the mine’s managers to make both pre-emptive plans and reach quick decisions.

According to Siemens MES market development manager David Berridge, the modular structure of the system can be adapted to the different processes and requirements in a plant.

“The system can act as a link between the mine’s production environment, including automation, logistics and energy supply and the business man agement capabilities of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software,” he said.

According to the company, the soft ware’s integrated components provide special functions for these processes.

For example, one component, the product tracking and tracing function, monitors the raw material from exca vation right through to the final pro cessing stages.

The system has a production order management facility that plans and schedules the best times for raw mate rial to be excavated and transported to the plant.

This interaction between two sep arate processes maximises the effective ness of the mine, the company said.

MES distributes relevant ERP data to the operating units, including main tenance schedules.

According to Siemens, this ensures that any required servicing is carried out in a timely and cost-effective manner.

The software is based on Siemens’ SIMATIC IT and can be fully inte grated with products from third-party providers.

The SIMATIC IT production mod eller includes production logic and data management, as well as additional libraries containing a number of spe cific processes.

Furthermore, a mine can add its individual experiences to the system, allowing it to adapt to customer-spe cific functions.

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