FLSmidth says its expertise in software engineering and machine control ensures that its machine-level systems can connect with all commonly used control systems to seamlessly deliver the data users need for effective decision-making.

FLSmidth recently called attention to the industry’s accelerated move toward digital solutions since the COVID-19 pandemic and pointed out that the company stands ready to support the trend by applying its decades of research and development activity.

Terence Osborn, FLSmidth’s director of product and account management for sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, said R&D is the lifeblood of the company’s new technologies. In fact, it has some 80 projects under way to improve its mining-related offerings.

“The power of digital technology is certainly a key element of these efforts,” said Osborn. “Together with our Blue Box digital concept, based on our ECS/ControlCenter, which is a cybersecure interface between our equipment and cloud data storage, we use our SiteConnect mobile app to monitor the performance of equipment and process plants in real time. The ECS/ControlCenter V8 process control platform sits at the heart of our digital vision, a key component in our growing portfolio of digital solutions and services that we call ENABLR.”

An example is an FLSmidth REFLUX Classifier modular plant operating on a South African mine. Using SiteConnect, operations managers have real-time access to more than one hundred operational parameters for the plant. Data analytics linked to the cloud data can also generate time-based trends for instant viewing on the app.

“We have also developed SmartCyclone technology for our hydrocyclones,” Osborn noted. “This innovation uses sensors to detect wear and roping, a condition that reduces separation efficiency. By sending an alert when certain operating parameters are breached, the system ensures optimal efficiency is maintained, even as slurry conditions in the circuit vary.”

He said the company’s machine-level solutions are offered as part of plant and process packages. At both plant and process level, there is also FLSmidth’s advanced ECS/ProcessExpert solutions, which facilitate not just monitoring and control, but advanced optimization enabled by state-of-the-art AI technologies.

“It is important to remember that control systems need to be flexible, so that they adapt to customers’ needs and to their existing systems,” he said.

The company claimed its R&D pushes the boundaries of performance in a range of mineral processing fields. These include advancing its lamella plate technology in mineral separation applications, adapting its vertical roller mill for dry grinding in mining, and extending wear life of pumps with new polymers.