We are now the only OEM on the market that can provide the full value chain
This brings value to customer processes and allows us to work closely with the customer throughout their operations to find the best possible solutions that are underpinned by a harmonised optimisation from the pit through to the plant. Being active in the processing side as well as the mining side combines two very important aspects of the mining value chain. We can add to the productivity gains that our customers are looking for and closing productivity gaps that we currently see on the market,” explains Thomas Jabs, Global Head of Mining Projects.
There will be improved synergy and coherence between products in the process line, allowing the potential for additional productivity. It is also easier to optimise the entire pit-to- plant process as it can be delivered from one source, explains Alexander Lehner, Director Service Line Management Lifecycle Enhancement: “All aspects of the equipment fleet are now available to customers through us. This gives them one single point of contact, which in turn helps to decrease interfaces and friction losses along the supply chain. Customers can decrease operational costs through special spare part programs and machine availability services, while increasing the equipment lifetime through dedicated life enhancement services covering everything from upgrades, retrofits and refurbishment of their material handling equipment.”
A smooth integration
As well as making a seamless range of surface mining and minerals handling technologies and resources for high-capacity mining operations, newly acquired competences, resources and technologies will also benefit customers across the global market.
"The integration has been very easy as those employees that joined as part of the acquisition have been working for a company with a similar DNA as FLSmidth. They have similar traits; they are all out of the box thinkers and focused on collaboration, for instance, and characteristics like these mean they have fit very well together during the integration process,” comments Jabs.
Considering conveyers as an economical alternative to trucks
The benefits that can be delivered through IPCC solutions, however, are clearly something that Jabs believes can imme- diately bring cost savings to customers: “Cutting truck fleets is one of the main reasons customers are looking at IPCC solutions. Conveyers are a very economical alternative to trucks and operators are increasingly seeing how this can be the most economical approach when transporting material from A to B.
Previously operators looked at shovel-to-truck. Full stop. Now it is totally different – every greenfield project, every expansion project and even brownfield operations are investigating alternatives to shovel and truck.
The most interest is coming from mining companies that have already introduced convey- ors previously – they fully understand the savings that can be made. They are also not afraid of any changes in the maintenance regime compared to those operating trucks. There is also growing interest from greenfield operators, who have not previously introduced any conveyors as yet. We are working with them to show the potential cost benefit and productivity gains that a conveyor system can deliver; i.e., lower OPEX, more robust operations and less downtime.”
Time to push the digital advancement
Eventhough the potential for financial savings and productivity enhancements can be obvious for some customers that are thinking of switching to conveyors, there can be other block- ages in terms of making the commitment. The switch requires changes in the ways a mine operates and affects mine planning on the operator’s side.
But for Jabs change is inevitable: “It is fairly obvious that what has worked thus far will not work in the future due to changing conditions in mining. Mines will need to examine alternatives and we, as an OEM, have the responsibility to produce these solutions for our customers or develop them together. And already we are coming up with new solutions as we see some current limitations. The mechanical side is advanced but innovations are possible and likely in this area but the big steps forward will come through digitalization, au- tomation, intelligent systems (smart IPCC) and in the feedback of information to the control centre. We are prepared to push the digital advancement in mining and work with our customers so we present solutions that fit their unique requirements, risks and conditions - and ultimately increase their productivity.”
Vice President, Minerals Engineering & Technology, Marnus Fick, echoes Jabs, commenting: “Access to the complete range of key technologies all through the process simply allows engineers to digitalize the full value chain and improve the utilisation of new and existing technologies."
When monitoring the complete process journey from pit to plant we are able to strengthen process-joints, align our technologies and improve productivity in the process.
Optimising the whole mining value chain - together
Much has been made of FLSmidth’s full flow sheet acquisition from the equipment and solution perspective – but customers will also see an integrated approach when it comes to analysis and identification of areas that can be improved. Not only can FLSmidth look at how well one piece of equipment is perform- ing but it can see how its performance is affecting other parts of the flowsheet downstream.
The example given by Jabs is in crusher selection and implementation. “Crusher selection is a key discipline in introducing IPCC. If you do not get it right you will run into a lot of problems. FLSmidth has a lot of experience in this area and works closely with our customers. But we also know that crusher selection is not the end of the story – we look closely at how crusher selection will influence the downstream pro- cessing of the material as it can vary if it is going to the mill or to secondary/tertiary crushing or to the waste dump or tailings.
Since we also deliver downstream solutions, we are very familiar with the whole process, meaning we can deliver credible and integrated solutions to the customer that do not only focus on the IPCC element but also the downstream equipment. What we are striving for is to look at optimising the customer’s whole mining value chain – the whole comminution and processing chain – to the very end.”