Mining companies will spend billions of Dollars on reducing C02 emissions over the coming decades. Yet just monitoring and managing their current power needs, can have a significant impact today.
Managing industrial electrical systems is critical for lowering emissions, reducing costs and improving safety.
The race to reduce CO2 is on, with many major mining companies pledging to reach “net zero” by 2050. They also have substantial interim targets for 2030. Smart, sustainable mining is going to reshape the industry for years to come.
Electrical motor systems take up half of the electricity used globally and 70% of that is used in the manufacturing community.
There are fundamentally three ways to achieve “net zero” for a mining company:
· transition away from fossil fuels as a primary power source
· reduce power consumption
· buy voluntary carbon off-sets
Neither of the first two are simple and third option is expensive. Mining is characterised by digging, transporting and processing large quantities of ore in remote places. In the majority of cases, power is either coming from the grid or from using diesel power for haulage and processing. New technology will play a central role in reducing fossil fuel consumption through the use of solar, wind and green hydrogen. The big issue is that a mine needs a stable power source to achieve optimal results. With more varied power sources in the pipeline this will become increasing hard to manage. Active monitoring of electrical systems is needed to:
1.) Reduce power consumption to a minimum
2.) Detect inefficient transformers and faulty motors
3.) Diagnose potential problems in advance
4.) Reduce accidents
With the right equipment and analysis you can discover many things which are happening on electrical systems. They can effectively “talk” to you. As we know everyone’s voice is slightly different — We all have different accents that make us recognisable. We can sometimes tell if a person is sick by listening to them. We can even have a good idea of their age by the tone of their voice. Electrical systems are the same; they have unique signatures and these signatures will vary over time.
When a team pull together they get the best result.
The same is also true for electrical motors. The mining industry uses a lot of high power motors in conveyors, crushers, pumps and mixers. By synchronizing the “effort” of motors, you can reduce their power usage and prolong their life. Through the monitoring of their electrical signatures you can see those that are overloaded and those that are under utilised.
Detecting an illness at a early stage is the easiest way to cure it.
By listening in to electrical signatures, you can predict at a early stage, which motor is likely to fail and when it might happen. This reduces the downtime of plants and optimises predictive maintenance.
Diagnosis of an illness allows you to apply the correct medicine and get the patient up and running as soon as possible.
The problem with an electrical system is that once it is down it can be hard to determine what caused the outage. By reviewing historical electrical signatures you can determine the cause of the fault and correct that fault with accuracy (No need to fix the whole system, when you can work out exactly why it failed in the first place) Importantly, by knowing why an electrical system has shut down, you can follow the correct safety procedures to get it up and running again.
By having a clear understanding of what is going on within an electrical network there are obvious benefits in terms of lowering power consumption, optimising maintenance and reducing potential accidents . The good news is that the technology to achieve this is available now. By using the latest sensor technology and internet (or GPRS) connection, you can capture and send the signature information for processing. Then, using AI, Machine Learning and Neural Networks, you can process that data to create outlier detection tools, predictive analysis and alerts. This can prevent catastrophic failure, increase productivity, reduce costs and prevent accidents.
Voltvision is a smart electrical asset management platform that allows industrial clients to significantly reduce costs and CO2 emissions. It improves operational efficiencies and reduce downtime by predicting and fixing faults before critical failure. It’s cutting-edge technology is at the forefront of the explosion in data analytics and the digitisation of electrical and power generation equipment.