Breaking it down

tailings dewatering

The AI-powered Metris addIQ RheoScan by ANDRITZ helps to optimise the tailings dewatering process.

Removing water from tailings – dewatering – is a key step to ensuring a plant continues to run smoothly while reducing environmental risks and improving sustainability.

And a necessary step in the tailings dewatering process is adding polymers to improve the solid-liquid separation.

However, many mining companies still have operators manually complete this step, often leading to the polymer dose being set and unchanged throughout the shift, even when adjustment is necessary.

To help solve this problem, ANDRITZ developed Metris addIQ RheoScan, an optical measurement system designed to detect the texture of the slurry and adjust the polymer accordingly through the use of artificial intelligence (AI).

“The system automatically adjusts and optimises the polymer dosage 24–7 and provides maximum flexibility to control and monitor the entire operation remotely,” ANDRITZ global service product group manager Stefan Peter said.

“This eliminates the need for on-site supervision.”

This artificially intelligent technology supports the machine’s operation 24–7 to find and remain in the optimum defined operating spot, all by itself.

The ANDRITZ service team works closely with its customers and, when it began to hear that operators were often overloaded and needed elsewhere, it came up with Metris addIQ RheoScan.

“We’re always aiming to improve and optimise our equipment with further developments,” ANDRITZ regional manager (ANZ) Paul Stevens said. “Using feedback from operators, we came up with the idea of using intelligence solutions.

“In this case, we came up with a camera system to take over the permanent optical effort of the operators to optimise machine performance. We called that system Metris addIQ RheoScan.

“It works on all makes and models of belt filter presses, gravity belt tables, and polymer dosing systems.”

ANDRITZ is currently focusing this solution on mining operations that want to optimise their plant using belt presses and gravity belt thickeners. Both types of machines help to thicken slurry and remove wastewater.

“We have successfully proven the technology in the dewatering process of environmental and industrial sludges, as well as coal and sand tailings,” Peter said.

“Our customers are telling us that they’ve seen a reduction in overspills and an increase in plant safety and performance after employing the Metris addIQ RheoScan.”

The Metris addIQ RheoScan will be making its conference debut at this year’s International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC), and ANDRITZ is excited to showcase the technology.

“Our aim is not only to demonstrate a smart solution for a common industry issue when using these types of equipment, but we also want to communicate to the attendees that interesting solutions are created in cooperation between clients and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers),” Stevens said.

“Collaboration to strengthen innovation in mining and driving safety and productivity through digital transformation are two of the key themes of IMARC, and they are also two key themes for us.

“Our stand will highlight ANDRITZ’s strategy to support not only our equipment, but to partner our customers with our automation and digitalisation team and the Metris addIQ RheoScan module.”

There are a multitude of features that come with employing the Metris addIQ RheoScan, but Peter highlighted some key benefits.

“Cost-saving is a big benefit,” Peter said. “Due to the reduction of polymer consumption by up to 30 per cent, sites are saving a high amount of money and seeing a significant reduction in overspills. 

“They are also seeing an increase in operation stability and plant reliability, along with operation going off without a hitch because there’s no need for supervision; the AI takes care of that. We can say that it’s an almost independent intelligent machine.”

Peter also highlighted the Metris addIQ RheoScan’s squeeze control with an optional second camera. This patented technology brings the machine almost to an independent system without any need of active operator actions.  

“Metris addIQ control systems – the brain behind the ANDRITZ equipment operation – include the latest state-of-the-art IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things),” Peter said.

“addIQ control systems are part of Metris, the ANDRITZ brand for digital solutions that includes both IIoT solutions and smart services which can be tailored to fit each customer’s requirement.

“Our aim is always going to be to listen closely to our customers to ensure we are developing the right technologies to fit their growing needs.”  

This feature appeared in the October edition of Australian Mining.

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