So, nine months in, how has the integration gone so far, what has been the response from customers and what benefits are being delivered to the mining market? We asked Dustin Collins, former KnowledgeScape CEO and now Global Product Line Manager at FLSmidth for his insights.
What have the main points of interest been for customers following the addition of the KnowledgeScape product line?
Everyone wants to know more about LoadIQ. It essentially pays for itself very quickly by maximising throughput and reducing energy consumption. Our experience is that it’s a very easy decision to make once the customer sees what it can do for them in terms of their production, bottom line and minimising their energy use.
LoadIQ is a fantastic addition to any grinding circuit – inclusive of all manufacturers – and typically boosts expert system performance by 2-11%. It utilises a system of smart sensors and AI software to automatically determine the optimal mill load for all grinding conditions (ore changes, liner wear, etc.), and automatically sets the load target and RPM limit to the optimal mill loading. All in real time.
We are also seeing increased interest in the Cyclone State Sensor (CSS) – both hardware and software – which improves cyclone performance and provides an industry leading state-of-the-art pump box strategy. It is becoming widely recognised as the most cutting-edge cyclone process control solution available on the market. It uses vibration analysis and advanced process control (APC) to significantly improve throughput and reliability to detect and correct a plugged or roping cyclone.
PlantVision (PVX) in flotation and the KnowledgeScape Expert System are two other tools that can offer clear benefits. Can you tell me a little about them?
Individual flotation cell optimisation is crucial to maximising recovery. The PlantVision system mitigates all of the costly errors common with traditional vision systems. Two common conditions that introduce error with traditional systems include cell lip interference and pulping. PVX uses deep neural networks to develop a model for the flotation cell control to mitigate these errors.
The system integrates multiple key elements:
Feed Analysis camera - This instrument analyses and identifies ore size on the feed belt and provides advance notice to the expert control system to anticipate ore changes.
Flotation camera – This camera applies LiDAR technology, which is a remote sensing technology that measures the distance to an object by illuminating the target with a laser and then analysing the reflected light. The ability to measure froth height with LiDAR provides redundancy in case there is a failure with the primary ultrasonic froth height instrument in the field. The tight integration of the cameras’ velocity measurement, LiDAR, and the expert system provides increased recovery by maximising pulling rate of roughers and scavengers, and improved concentrate grade by minimising disturbances in the regrind circuit, allowing for better mineral liberation before cleaner flotation.
Ball Counter (a new offering) - This product is more accurate and reliable than optical sensors and may be offered with PERI AutoCharge Mill Grinding Ball Charging System or as a standalone product.
AutoFloc (software) - This addition to KSX optimises the stabilisation of percent solids, flocculant usage and water recovery, and enables higher rake torque by controlling and synchronising discharge pump speed and flocculant dosage. It also protects the thickener by enhancing rake torque, pump amperage and bed pressure.
Then you have the KnowledgeScape Expert System (KSX) software. KSX is the KnowledgeScape flagship product, now available through FLSmidth. KSX automates and optimises virtually every aspect of minerals processing.
In conjunction with camera-based instrumentation system (PVX, etc.), KSX measures or detects virtually any object. It automates and optimises virtually every aspect of minerals processing. We have deployed comprehensive solutions implementing some or all of the components above to automate and optimise production in some of the best and largest concentrators in the world.
Can you quickly explain how the KnowledgeScape portfolio supports the move towards more sustainable mining and FLSmidth’s MissionZero ambition to support customers in this area?
KnowledgeScape’s product portfolio provide the triple benefits of increased production while concurrently reducing water waste and energy consumption. Sustainability is all about maximising the output for any given input, while also eliminating wasted material, wasted energy or even wasted time. The new combined portfolio increases production for the same energy, increases recovery for the same feed material, and is more efficient overall.
We are really excited at how well our products align with the MissionZero goal to reduce water consumption. The performance of KnowledgeScape solutions in thickener optimisation especially supports the goal but across the flowsheet, we enable customers to do a lot more with less.
One example of KnowledgeScape’s contribution to sustainable mining and MissionZero is the implementation of LoadIQ on a single SAG mill at a Peruvian copper mine. Compared to historical data before implementation, LoadIQ resulted in increased production of 11.2%, a reduction in power consumption of 2.3%, and an increase in energy efficiency (KWh/ton) of 14.1%. The carbon emission savings from LoadIQ on this mill in a single year is equivalent to removing the greenhouse gases of 8,888,352 miles driven by an average passenger vehicle.
Upon seeing the results, the customer immediately ordered two more LoadIQ implementations!
Miners are looking for digital optimisation across the entire flowsheet. How does FLSmidth’s offering do that following the KS portfolio integration?
FLSmidth with the KnowledgeScape portfolio provides digital solutions for the entire mining process, from primary crusher through dewatering and filtration, and everything in between. This is significant as it eliminates inefficiencies associated with the need to employ and master more than one control system. Streamlining to a single system is inherently more efficient and it also allows communication within a single team. Additionally, multiple sites can be integrated with a hybrid on-site/cloud solution to give larger operators real-time insight into all sites without taking away performance or control from the on-the-ground team at the plant itself.
Now that the KnowledgeScape portfolio is backed by FLSmidth’s technology, competencies and pre-existing digital portfolio, we are well positioned to take minerals digitalisation to the next level. An example of this is taking the high-level digital edge solutions KnowledgeScape has developed and integrating these with the FLSmidth ENABLR platform. This allows for an additional level of features and services, such as advanced data analytics to support even further optimisation and process data insights.
If customers are interested in a product or to learn more, what steps should they take?
Customers or interested parties can contact their local FLSmidth representative/sales rep/account manager. Other methods include through the Contact section on the FLSmidth website, on the LoadIQ page or for direct inquiries via +1 801-636-6923.
We will also be at MINExpo this September with a LoadIQ, so please drop by and say “Hi!”
Finally, customers can also see a recent LoadIQ webinar here.