UWA ERDi i4.0 TestLab – ABB Joins TestLab Collaborative Efforts 

Published 22/7/2020

Co-founders of The University of Western Australia’s (UWA) Energy & Resources Digital Interoperability Industry 4.0 (ERDi i4.0) TestLab Enterprise Transformation Partners (ETP), along with UWA, are pleased to announce that they have signed a partnership agreement with global industrial process automation giant ABB, which will see the companies collaborate on the Proof of Concept 1 of the AMIRA P1208 Project. 

Related Article: ERDI TestLab Kicks Off First Major Industry Sponsored Project - AMIRA P1208 

The ABB Ability Operating Management System (OMS) platform is being developed to support Industry 4.0 concepts for the mining industry. This digital solution connects and coordinates mine operators, workforce, equipment and all mining activities in real-time, from face preparation to crusher. 

Separate to the AMIRA project being executed via the ERDi i4.0 TestLab, ETP have been working closely with ABB in enhancing their OMS Platform - Fleet Management Software Module to support the latest in reliable messaging and Industry 4.0 interoperability standards ISA-95 (IEC 62264) via B2MML V7.0 as part of an exciting integrated systems project at Gold Fields’ Granny Smith Mine in Western Australia.   

ETP’s experience with ABB (on the Gold Field’s project) in enhancing their software to support the latest updates to the standards, has been built on strong foundations. ABB had already architected their OMS Platform Modules to be aligned with the ISA-95 Functional Model and their information model has been based upon an earlier version of the standard.  

This has been helpful both from a technical standpoint but also in terms of a strong existing knowledge base from which to work from. Furthermore, from an executive level, ABB has demonstrated a strong desire to ensure that i4.0 concepts influence their OMS product roadmap into the future, as they understand the significant value that can be delivered to their clients through interoperability and automation across both processes and systems.  

“Executive backing such as this from ABB is critical as an investment - both in financial terms as well as time - is required to support the re-engineering of products that are often required to deliver a reliable, performant and standards compliant software package” said ETP Managing Director John Kirkman.  

“The performance requirements of a software package that exchanges and processes granular events with rich information in real-time, when compared to a software package designed for periodical manual entry, are like comparing chalk and cheese” said Kirkman.  

“There is no doubt that Industry 4.0 and digital transformation will be one of the biggest opportunities for the Australian mining industry. Mines will reach the next frontier of automation, analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) which will generate insights and greater productivity and efficiency,” said Stuart Cowie, ABB’s head of Industrial Automation Process Industries.  

“The ERDi TestLab and this partnership will give ABB valuable insights into the digital transformation and Industry 4.0 concepts for mining. Through our work with the ERDi TestLab, the OMS platform has become an even more powerful tool with reliable real-time access to operational data through ISA95 standardised messages,” said Mr Cowie.  

As part of POC 1, ABB  will showcase to the AMIRA P1208 project sponsors their OMS - FMS software automatically exchanging information with scheduling and materials tracking software packages via i4.0 standard interfaces.  

The ABB FMS will receive detailed schedules in a standard messaging format from the scheduling software, which enables streamlined dispatching of individual tasks to all equipment and personnel in the field. 

Further, the ABB FMS allows for distributed dispatch and control, meaning that each supervisor for each process can dispatch and coordinate the execution and tracking of work in contrast to a central controller who would usually be responsible for this. This is particularly powerful in underground mining in which supervision and control responsibilities are often split across development, infrastructure and mining as well as zones.  

All actuals information will be published, as work is executed on the ground, to a production and materials tracking system again utilising a standard message format. This system will process these messages to provide event-based updates to material inventories from the face through all stocking locations, removing manual entry and providing real-time understanding of performance against plan rather than post shift.   

These are just a sample of the many capability improvements and benefits of an interoperable and automated information exchange architecture. 

Further P1208 POC 1 software vendors will be announced in the near future.  

About ABB 

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a leading global technology company that energizes the transformation of society and industry to achieve a more productive, sustainable future. By connecting software to its electrification, robotics, automation and motion portfolio, ABB pushes the boundaries of technology to drive performance to new levels. With a history of excellence stretching back more than 130 years, ABB’s success is driven by about 110,000 talented employees in over 100 countries. 

About ABB (Industrial Automation) 

ABB’s Industrial Automation business offers a range of solutions for process and hybrid industries, including our industry-specific integrated automation, electrification and digital solutions, control technologies, software and advanced services, as well as measurement & analytics, marine and turbocharging offerings. Industrial Automation is #2 in the market globally. 
Based on its deep domain knowledge, experience and expertise in delivering world-class automation products, systems and solutions, a wide area of complimenting digital and collaborative solutions across applications and sectors, the Industrial automation business helps customers remain competitive, improving their ROI and running safe and productive operations.