AVEVA Software Centralizes Control of Sibanye Mining Operations with System Platform, the “Gold Standard” of Industrial Platforms
Weltevreden Park, South Africa – Gold has been the most sought after precious metal in the history of mankind. For centuries, people have risked life and limb traveling to the most remote parts of the world in search of this treasure. For Sibanye Group Mining company, it was right in their own backyard.
The Sibanye Group extracts more than 47,000kg of gold each year from its mines throughout South Africa and Zimbabwe. The company has also added platinum mining operations in recent years. Key to the successful operation of its various mining activities has been the implementation of AVEVA software from Schneider Electric.
The standardization on AVEVA spans the various Sibanye collection of mining operations which reach approximately 800 km in diameter, and include more than 29 mining shafts, 12 metallurgical plants, and with about a 1,000 people using it daily.
“Whether our operators are working at the Beatrix mine which is about 300 to 400Km away, they are able to view the same AVEVA SCADA application available to operators at all of our other mines. Being able to view all operations simultaneously enables the Sibanye team to ensure mining processes are running smoothly and avoid unnecessary downtime.”
- Jansen Van Rensburg,C&T engineer at Sibanye Group
AVEVA Unifies Disparate Systems for More Efficient Operations
Employing more than 115,000 across its various gold and platinum businesses, Sibanye’s operations teams of more than 1,000 rely on technology to ensure efficient operations at its mines. However, with a disparate mix of hardware and software in place, centralized management of its processes and procedures was difficult.
“Sibanye had a lot of different makes and models of PLCs ranging from Siemens to Mitsubishi to GE Fanuc,” said Jason Doran, technical superintendent of SCADA systems at Sibanye. “There wasn’t one software solution in place that could speak to all of them.
“In addition, we had issues with the replication of data which was oftentimes wrong resulting have three or views of incorrect information. It was imperative we find a cohesive software solution to connect all of our facilities and related equipment.”
Each mining shaft and individual processes were standalone projects and the management team did not have a comprehensive view of all the applications that were managing them. Only specific processes could be viewed, and only one at a time.
Once the management team reviewed what was needed to unify its facilities which were spread across more than 800km, they determined that a centralized control room was required which could be standardized on a central SCADA system. This would enable operators to access process data that was acquired from the disparate systems at each location.
Managing Wide Variety of Equipment Made Easy with System Platform
The Sibanye team selected AVEVA System Platform to manage its more than 2,000 PLCs installed at its various sites.
“AVEVA System Platform has enabled us to successfully combine the different PLCs into one system, simplifying our ability to manage the operations at our various facilities.”
- Wesley Barendse, SCADA developer for Sibanye Group.
AVEVA System Platform acts as Sibanye’s “Industrial Operating System” by providing common services such as configuration, deployment, communication, security, data connectivity, people collaboration, and many others. These services enabled Sibanye to build a single, unified “Plant Model” that logically represents its processes, physical equipment and industrial systems.
The Plant Model also gives essential context to data, greatly assisting with diagnostics and troubleshooting, as well as providing valuable documentation throughout the system lifecycle. The Plant Model is unique to the AVEVA System Platform.
System Platform also enables Sibanye to effectively manage its installed 17 AOS servers by allowing each to run independently in case of communication failure, reducing downtime.
“Thanks to System Platform, we can do now is simply redeploy an object to another AOS, enabling us to get everything back up and running without any fuss,” said Christo Van Zyl, Sibanye SCADA developer. “With the previous systems, there was scripting limitations. With AVEVA the scripting issues have been addressed, giving us a greater ability to expand our applications.”
Time, Money and Energy Saved with AVEVA
Standardizing on AVEVA System Platform has enabled the Sibanye team to use object-oriented principles to design advanced and complex system scenarios in a short timeframe, and easily implement them when needed in other areas of its operations.
Using any other system could have been time consuming and very complex. By being able to develop objects once and reuse them in other operations, the company saves a tremendous amount in development time.
In addition, having access to accurate mine operations data enables BBE Energy, the energy management firm which controls Sibanye’s electricity requirements, to more effectively control and monitor to mining company’s electricity usage. To date, BBE Energy has been able to save Sibanye approximately 2MW a month in energy usage, which equates to more than $1.1 million per year in overall cost savings.
“Since we’ve expanded the views of the data captured by the SCADA system, our operators can see the entire production picture at any time with the same standard, same specifications, same reporting, same allotment, and same running statuses,” Jansen said. “This has been a significant asset to Sibanye’s operations efficiency.”