Delay accounting is critical to the mining process.
Since 1983, the Argyle Diamond mine has produced over 800 million carats of rough diamonds, with famous pink diamonds being its highly coveted signature. However, despite a visually stunning final product, the majority of the diamond mining process occurs underground and is unseen until the diamonds have been fully crushed, screened, and extracted.
With a production process that is largely unseen, the most effective method to judge efficiency of the production process is to capture delays and express the process as a percentage of its optimal output. Using a proper delay accounting system is critical. The major factors evaluated are downtimes and events that reduce plant capacity. Accurate data is essential to this process, as is the ability to attach detail such as impact and type of the delay, as well as the reason for the delay.
Problems arise with Argyle Diamond's in-house system.
While Argyle Diamond Mine had an existing delay accounting system that was developed in-house, the challenges of a legacy system were exasperated by the departure of the in-house developer. As a result, the company struggled to remain up-to-date with the changes in the mining process along with advances in software capabilities.
Due to changes in mining operations, a large number of equipment events were recorded as text data. This made it difficult to search for trends since the system was dependent on user input, which was not consistent across each user. The challenge for Argyle Diamonds was to determine which delay accounting system would be the best to implement given a limited budget and a well-defined set of needs: something scalable, capturing all delays at the plant level, with the ability to classify and search delay events.
Rio Tinto selects RtDUET for downtime event analytics.
After evaluating options ranging from an updated in-house system to Excel-based solutions to other automated systems, it was ultimately determined that RtDUET was the ideal solution for Rio Tinto’s Argyle Diamond Mine.
Rationale for selecting RtDUET:
- The system is specialized on capturing, analyzing, and reporting on downtime events within a manufacturing environment; because RtDUET was developed especially for delay accounting, there are no additional costs for irrelevant modules. RtDUET offers continuous support, documentation, and an ability for Argyle Diamond Mine to provide input for future features.
- RtDUET offers production management the ability to validate data which acts as a secondary checkpoint.
- RtDUET is compatible with Argyle Diamond Mine’s data historian, OSIsoft PI System™, the system used to collect data on-site.
- Reporting features within RtDUET offer additional value. For instance, RtDUET grabs data and utilizes macros within Excel to present the information in such a way that it can be manipulated and visualized in a simple manner. In addition, reports are modified to be value-based, so that the operators can see the impact of downtime events in dollars, rather than in time.
Continuous improvement at Argyle Diamond Mine.
To further optimize the benefits of RtDUET, Argyle Diamond Mine is working with RtTech and their implementation team to continually improve this solution and the quality of information captured.
Some of the goals for the immediate future include integration with alarm software, so that RtDUET can generate automated error codes for common delays. This will reduce the operator’s time significantly, reducing manually assigned error codes to only 10-20%. Also, upstream & downstream events will be recorded in the system; that means if there is a delay that has a domino effect on 3 or 4 machines, the root event captured will cascade through the rest of the process it affects, reducing the total number of events that need to be investigated.