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Janne Kytökari - Mining automation tackles future challenges

Pls feel free to ask for more information. We also appreciate your feedback in all automation related issues.

Product Manager
Janne Kytökari is responsible for mining industry applications and global sales support at Metso Automation’s Minerals Processing Systems unit.

1. What are the main benefits of using new automation systems in mining?

With accurately controlled minerals processes, such as the crushing and grinding circuit, flotation and water management, the mine is able to get a steady yield without any severe deviations. A correctly tuned control system can help the plant achieve maximum throughput.

The main advantage is that an automation system allows the process operators to see what is happening with the whole process – from beginning to end – in real-time. If any problems occur, the cause can be traced quickly and efficiently. All process data, like detailed figures on production and performance, are also stored for reporting and other, later use.

Machine wear is often hidden until the machine breaks down. With an automation system that has integrated condition monitoring, it is easy to collect and use all the relevant maintenance information for scheduling preventative maintenance actions. This can reduce process downtime significantly.

Naturally, automation also has a positive impact on workplace safety.

2. Do you feel that automation will have a bigger role in the future? Is there a difference between the developed and developing markets?

I am convinced that automation and information technologies will have a bigger role in the future. Minerals automation can be a valuable tool in tackling many of the mining industry’s big challenges, such as limited availability of water, energy consumption, environmental responsibility and the mineralogical complexity of ore.

In developed countries, where safety is the top priority, mining and minerals automation demand is already high, but mines all over the world need some kind of process automation in order to be able to run their processes effectively. Although in some areas where labor costs are low, a high throughput mineral process plant can’t achieve a high yield without a modern control system. This is why the demand for minerals automation is growing especially in countries like Brazil, Russia and China.

3. In your opinion, what are the main future trends in mining automation?

It is hard to say what the next big automation solution will be, but the so-called industrial Internet is something that will perhaps change the way plants are run in the future. The term includes issues such as machine-to-machine communication and machine learning. With the help of machine-based algorithms and big data analytics, we will be able to understand the causal patterns of machines and processes much more accurately than today.

There is still one territory that hasn’t been mined almost at all, the seas. Underwater mining will certainly one day become reality and that cannot be achieved without sophisticated automation systems. It will take a lot of time and research before underwater mining will be feasible and environmentally acceptable, though.

4. How will the use of Internet technologies affect plant operations?

Allowing all Metso-manufactured machines to be connected to the Internet opens a variety of possibilities. Remote support from Metso’s engineers and specialists to maintenance crews, metallurgists and operators could help solve maintenance and process issues quickly. Plus, when machine data from Metso-manufactured equipment can be gathered and analyzed from numerous plants all around the world, we may find patterns that help us enhance the design and quality of the machines.

5. What is Metso’s approach to mining automation services?

Our target is to provide safe, reliable and effective automation. With the Metso DNA distributed control system, information management and integrated condition monitoring, any mineral processing plant is able to control its processes, its performance and deviations. Metso also provides performance studies that examine the customer’s process and suggest improvements. This in particular is where Metso’s know-how in minerals processing equipment, automation and minerals processes comes together.

In minerals processing automation, our focus is on real customer challenges. We work with the customer to resolve them, and the solutions are always tailored to their needs and processes.

For more information, please contact:

Janne Kytökari, Metso

Pls feel free to ask for more information. We also appreciate your feedback in all automation related issues.