Metinvest Group is introducing the VisioFroth computer vision system at the Ingulets GOK enrichment plant, which will increase productivity and increase the production of iron ore concentrate. The digital solution provider is Metso Outotec, a global leader in sustainability technologies for aggregate, mineral processing and metallurgy.
What computer vision can do
Computer vision (or technical vision) is artificial systems that receive information from video data to identify, track and classify objects using mathematical analysis algorithms streaming image. They imitate human eyes, but allow minimizing the human factor in the control of any technological process.
This digital technology is being used for the first time at Metinvest enterprises. One of the stages in the production of iron ore concentrate involves the enrichment of iron ore, which takes place at the flotation section of the Ingulets GOK enrichment plant. The crushed ore is processed in flotation machines, blowing air through the slurry (a mixture of ore and liquid) in the presence of reagents. Iron particles remain in the flotation cell and waste rock is collected in the foam.
The VisioFroth system consists of eight video cameras for capturing the foaming process in four production lines of the flotation section. Cameras continuously record and transmit images to a computer, and a specially trained visual analysis system in real time determines the main parameters of the foam: speed, size, color of bubbles, etc. Based on this data, the self-learning expert system automatically adjusts the reagent and air flow rates to increase the finished concentrate yield.
How “digital” will affect production
Computer systems Computer vision is one of the main tools for digitalization of enterprises, which allows you to constantly monitor the technological process at its different stages and promptly provide information for decision-making by a human or an automatic control system, contributes to reaching a new level of efficiency.
General Director of Ingulets GOK Alexander Gerasimchuk:
– Today, Ingulets GOK technologists reactively control the process, monitoring the analyzes of concentrate samples arriving 3:00 after sampling. The implementation of the VisioFroth system will make it possible to move to proactive process control in real time, without waiting for the results of chemical analysis. In the end, we expect to stabilize the process and increase the yield of marketable concentrate already in 2022. The system will be a kind of “cruise control” of production, but in the event of emergency situations, technologists will always have the opportunity to switch to manual control mode and apply their experience to solve them.
Metso Outotec has implemented such a system in concentrators around the world over the past 20 years. Among her clients are companies such as BHP, Rio Tinto, Vale and many others.
However, the cooperation between Metinvest Group and Metso Outotec differs from others: instead of a standard procedure for purchasing equipment, the companies together looked for a solution that would increase the productivity of Ingulets GOK.
Metinvest has a system for submitting proposals, when employees share ideas on reducing the cost of products, improving their quality, increasing production volumes and receive remuneration for this. This practice has now gone beyond the Group and made possible for its partners as well. At the same time, the size of the partner’s remuneration is determined by the size of the economic effect obtained from the implementation of the initiative.
In addition to the computer vision system, this year the Ingulets GOK plans to launch a pilot project “Digital Quarry”, and at the Ingulets and Northern GOKs – a project to automate the beneficiation sections.