ABB Ability System 800xA was installed to enable continuous laboratory testwork for process optimization and process development studies to support smelting and refining operations in South Africa
ABB has provided automation expertise and software solutions, licensing and training to Anglo American Technical Solutions (TS) in Johannesburg, a technical and analytical support center for the global mining company.
The facility is part of Anglo American’s Technical and Sustainability function and provides technical expertise and analytical support to commodities and continents across the minerals processing and hydrometallurgy disciplines, in the form of process development and testing or evaluation.
ABB Ability™ System 800xA, ranked by the ARC advisory group as the world’s #1 DCS (distributed control system) platform over the last 20 years, can implement advanced process control methods. It has been installed and integrated with existing laboratory infrastructure in the Extractive Metallurgy department at TS.
For metallurgists, the system is intuitive for their process development and testing work and flexible to allow changes to the control interface between experimental set-ups, which often require quick and easy changeover due to the dynamic and ever-changing smaller scale testwork.
ABB’s technology input will eventually allow for laboratory expansion, greater modification of experimental set-ups, and allow for accurate control functionality. The control system also allows for expansion and application in mini-pilot plants for hydrometallurgical testwork.
Crucially, the control system will allow experiments to run for extended times, without constant supervision. The immediate application of the technology will be in hydrometallurgical leach experiments, which have the potential to be scaled-up and implemented on site. Advanced process control methods will allow for continued optimization and fine-tuning of the control methodology based on the specific and unique chemical, metallurgical and mineralogical complexity for each of the experiments.
“The transition from the current system with limited capability to the ABB Ability™ System 800xA is an exciting step change for our work at Technical Solutions,” said Nico Groenewald, a Metallurgist in the Extractive Metallurgy department at Technical Solutions. “It is a great example of where process control and our innovation-led approach to sustainable mining comes together to improve current processes and develop new ones, to improve people’s lives in a safe, sustainable and responsible manner.”
“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,” said John Manuell, Head - Local Division (Process Industries), ABB, South Africa, “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.
“We are committed to providing innovative best-in-class technology solutions to the Technical Solutions team members to support their center’s digital transformation. This flagship automation platform from ABB will provide a base for many future digital initiatives, such as advanced data analytics, KPI visualization and reporting, and enterprise connectivity.”
ABB Ability™ System 800xA is also a seamlessly 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.