Process control and data management

A software system for the organization, data and process management of operating units (from extraction to waste management)

2006
Austria

Summary

This project involved the development of new algorithms (eg interdisciplinary analysis of the production factors of human performance, equipment, energy and material as well as goods, services, equipment and production facilities) as well as data management systems (eg novel linkage of production factors of different types of operation, operation-independent administration of goods and services, as well as equipment and installations). The solution required R&D, especially in the area of data structuring of business processes and the processing or linking of these structures by complex algorithms and represent completely novel solutions which go far beyond the state of the art.

Description

Strabag, an Austrian based international raw materials and construction company, was using a self developed ERP system and various connected subsystems for process control, to manage business processes in their various operating units (incl. extraction, processing, waste management, infrastructure). In 2006 they started a project to develop a new software system, matDOC, with the aim of standardising processes across operating units, creating a more sofisticated data- and process management organisation and a flexible structure allowing for future expansion (eg new operations or information demands).

The system has been introduced to various quarries (around 15) within western and eastern european countries (15 countries) as the system is capable to organize business processes in multiple languages and considers various regulatory framework.
Within each single quarry the business processes - that includes mining processes and administrative processes - have been identified and reorganized on the basis of predefined and standardized prozessmodels.

The principal purpose was a clear organiation of the massflow of rock and crushed stones throughout each quarry operation, starting from removing the overburden, extracting processes, loading and hauling, then mineral processing and sales including the logistical tasks of shipping the products to the customer. Special attention was given to the intermediate storage places within the single process-steps as an increase/decrease of certain products will have an important impact in technical efforts and commercial results. 
The result out of this step was a clearer understanding of the production itself and a transparent commercial inventory and evaluation of rock and crushed stones on stock.

Another purose was and still is the automation of specific processes concering the optimization of the mass flow in terms of technical improvements and administrative improvements.
Examples are fully automated truckloading systems that are able to load trucks without any interaction of employees. There are also now truck terminals that allow truck drivers to organize their loads on an interactive self-service system. The same system has been applied to the working place of wheel- loader drivers that are now fully integrated in the information flow.

The result of that step was a transfer of work from the dispatch working place towards the truck- resp. wheel-loader driver. The dispatch-working place is capable to work on different tasks now.
 

Impact on the mining value chain

  • EXTRACTION (incl. Permitting)
  • mineral and metallurgical PROCESSING (incl. Permitting)
  • MINE CLOSURE / WASTE management (incl. Permitting)
  • DATA and knowledge base

Extraction

  • increased environmental performance

Linked policies

Transferability

The methodology used within the sand and gravel organisation has been adapted to different production plants as asphalt resp. concrete plants. Through this step, the usage of the system could be widened up to 400 plants. In 2012 the waste legislation in Austria has been implemented and the system could be used in another 70 construction operations

Impact area(s): 

Area: 
Environment, Quantity of natural resources
Impact on listed area: 

+: Availability of additional mineral resources
-: Discovery of new deposits will lead to new environmental impacts

Area: 
Human/Social, Occupational welfare (health and safety)
Impact on listed area: 

+: Automated systems that require less manual handling

Area: 
Economic, Financial flows and profitability
Impact on listed area: 

+: Reduced costs due to better asset utilisation

Area: 
Economic, Competitiveness
Impact on listed area: 

+: Better process controls lead to better product quality

Innovation drivers and barriers
Drivers
Economic
Inproved productivity and reduced costs.
Other
A simpler organisational structure, allowing for quicker adoptation to changes in the future.
Barriers
Economic
Throughout the development phasis of the system every plant that was identified to receive the final product was forced to contribute a yearly amount to the development team. Due to the long development phasis it was difficult to keep to project supported by those plants.

Good practice areas

Economic sustainability
Economic sustainability - higher productivity, enhanced quality of the data. Economical results of specific cost profit centers in respect of the change of direct and indirect cost.

Organisations involved

Innovation category

System