ABB works with Anglo American on process automation

ABB has provided automation expertise and software solutions, licensing and training for Anglo American Technical Solutions (TS) in Johannesburg, a technical and analytical support centre for the global miner.

ABB’s Ability system 800xA was installed at the site for continuous lab testing for process optimization and development studies to support smelting and refining operations in South Africa.

The ABB Ability system 800xA can implement advanced process control methods; it has been installed and integrated with the existing infrastructure in the extractive metallurgy department at the centre. The solution is also an integrated power and process control system, a safety system and a collaboration enabler with the capacity to improve engineering efficiency, operator performance and asset utilization.

ABB’s technology is expected to eventually allow an expansion of laboratory and greater modification of experimental set-ups with accurate control functionality. The control system can also be used in mini-pilot plants deployed for hydrometallurgical testwork.

This system is also anticipated to allow experiments to run for extended times, without constant supervision. The immediate application of this technology will be in hydrometallurgical leach experiments, which have the potential to be scaled-up and implemented on site. Advanced process control methods are expected to allow continued optimization and fine-tuning of the methodology, based on the specific and unique nature of each experiment.

“The installation of ABB Ability system 800xA ensures that Anglo American Technical Solutions now has the most modern, feature-rich system available on the market. It will enhance and complement the current testwork packages,” John Manuell, head of the local division (process industries) for ABB in South Africa, said in a release.

“It brings new process control features that will optimize testwork initiatives and enhance functionality to enable metallurgists to interact with the system in a far better and more user-friendly manner, which will ultimately allow for more accurate experimental data to be collected… This flagship automation platform from ABB will provide a base for many future digital initiatives, such as advanced data analytics, KPI (key process indicator) visualization and reporting, and enterprise connectivity.”

ABB is a partner to the mining industry, and delivers electrification, automation and digital solutions and products and services that cover the complete value chain. 

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)