An introduction to the challenges
With a great deal of focus on productivity, many miners have started to look at adopting short interval control philosophies into their mining operations. Short interval control implies a review of inter-shift performance; this by itself is not a new term to miners, but only recently digital technologies are enabling miners to have a relook, to define it holistically considering the large volumes of data that is available for driving insight. A simplistic approach would find a detailed scheduling with a visual work management feedback approach as the opportunity, but there is much more to it than just a focus on aspects of reviewing the production process and real-time process visibility.
Short interval control can be defined as a structured process for identifying and acting on opportunities to improve the effectiveness moreover, the efficiency of production1 . It is a factory-floor process for driving production improvements during the shift. Each shift is split into short intervals of time (four hours initially), within which plant-floor employees use data to identify and implement improvement actions.2
Mining industry has had a laser sharp focus on improving utilization. With emergence of autonomous haulage systems, autonomous drills, driverless trains, online analyzers, field mobile devices for data acquisition there is a lot more data available within the shift today. There alsoexists many sites with a minimal level of automation; hence there are questions that need to be answered to define Short Interval Control in today’s context. Some of the issues we hear are:
All the above are relevant questions to consider within the operating context hence a framework to encompass these becomes a necessity.
Short interval control building blocks
Hence let us look at what components a short interval control may include as depicted in the diagram below
Short Interval control directly impacts the critical value levers that can drive the profitability of a mine and lower the cost curve. Its success depends on a robust framework built upon design thinking and an agile digital delivery approach.
Sudip Chaudhuri-Heads the Mining Practice in Wipro and leads a team of domain and technology professionals working in the areas of Mining Process Optimization. Over a period of 19 years, Sudip has had extensive experience in applying IT for mining and mineral processing industries across roles of go-to-market, conceptualization, solution design, delivery and project management of complex programs.
In his role as a practitioner he has successfully led or mentored multiple projects in India and abroad for improving asset utilization, operational efficiencies, energy efficiencies and embedding technology in operations for improving work practices that lead to top line growth and bottom line savings. In his current role, he is responsible for advising clients on mining systems, creating innovative solutions and developing competencies that can provide the right technology enablement in a challenging industry environment