What 20+ years of working with the PI System can accomplish
ArcelorMittal Mines Canada G.P. (AMEM) is an integrated pit-to-port business that mines, processes, and delivers iron ore products to the international steel market. With activities in both the mining and primary processing sectors, the company has impressive facilities in Québec, on the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. They've been a PI System user for over 20 years, and in those years they've gone from working hard to working smart in a big way.
Better Data, Better Efficiency
In 2010, with over ten years of experience with the PI System under their belt, ArcelorMittal invested in an expansion project at the mines with the goal of increasing annual production from 16 to 24 million tons. "We had to push more ore through with no additional capital investment. All we could do was apply a bit of smarts to what we had and see what we could do," recalled Michel Plourde, Director of Innovation and Technology at AMEM.
The answer was creating an Integrated Remote Operations Center (IROC) and bringing the full power of the PI System to bear. By bringing all their data into one system, rolling out OSIsoft's Asset Framework (AF), and utilizing PI Vision to make easy-to-understand data accessible to everyone, a new collaborative mindset emerged, where employees of all levels were excited and engaged with the data. “We met our targets in 2015, translating to about $120 million of additional revenue,” said Plourde. Since then, AMEM has had many more improvements in the works.
You Can Only Improve What You Can Measure
Once the team solved the bottleneck at the port, they were ready to chase bottlenecks all along the value chain. What they needed, according to Plourde, was “to bring in the tools to provide us real time analytics.” Using PI Vision, they created visualization portals for management, analysts, foremen, and truck operators to offer users “a single source of truth” for real-time data.
Foremen began using data to determine whether they had the correct number of mining trucks in relation to the shovels in operation. Viewing real-time operational data in PI Vision, they could confidently deploy more trucks when necessary, or park trucks when they weren't needed to save on maintenance and fuel costs. Mining truck data was fed into a system that analyzed “hot spots” in the roads, so road crews could be deployed where they were needed most on any given day, depending on where mining activity was focused. Image-analysis programs began to catch irregularities in individual truckloads, allowing those loads to be intercepted before large rocks could jam the machinery.
Data-Driven Strategy Creates Serious Results
All this work paid off, with a significant increase in daily hauled tonnage due to increased truck productivity, resulting in increased profits; a 300% reduction in concentrator slowdown due to low feed at the crushers; and a 5% increase in conformity to the mine plan, saving time, money, and resources across the board. With much more predictable results, ArcelorMittal Mines Canada is able to identify and solve bottlenecks in real-time-making their data-driven business plan the key to a successful future.