Global research cooperation speeds up IES model development

A new approach by the P9Q researcher network is delivering IES models more quickly for sponsors.

This article was published in CRC ORE News - September 2017

Global research cooperation speeds up IES model development

By Nick Beaton, General Manager IES & Program 3 Coordinator

workshop SRMSponsor representatives and researchers putting models through their paces at the workshop.The current iteration of the AMIRA International P9 program, called P9Q, is making a change to the way its research products are delivered to the sponsors. The P9 program ("Optimisation of Mineral Processes by Modelling and Simulation") has been running since 1962. In its more recent iterations it has made significant progress in enhancing the equipment models to improve their usability, in particular in how they respond to multi-component feed.

These models have been developed by the global network of researchers assembled by AMIRA and managed by the Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre (JKMRC) in the Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI) of the University of Queensland in Australia. The full network is made up of Hacettepe University in Turkey, the University of Cape Town in South Africa, Chalmers University in Sweden, the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and of course the JKMRC itself. P9Q is focused on building on previous research by verifying and validating the models in as many multi-component situations as possible so that they can be applied with confidence across the industry.

It is not surprising that both mining and equipment manufacturing sponsors are very keen to apply the new models as soon as they become available. To ensure this, the sponsors asked for the models to be made available in a suitable cloud simulation platform. In previous project iterations, the models developed during the project were added to JKTech’s software after the project ended. In the current project it was agreed that the researchers would deliver the models in 6-monthly “project delivery cycles” in CRC ORE’s Integrated Extraction Simulator (IES) and that they would be released immediately to sponsors.

CRC ORE’s IES platform is unique in the metallurgical simulation field because it is deployed in the cloud. When updated models are installed into IES, the sponsors can immediately apply them to their particular problem by accessing them through the internet. There is nothing to download or update because a special private environment of IES was created for P9Q and made available exclusively to P9Q sponsors and researchers. Because IES is being developed as the successor technology to the JKTech’s very popular SimMet/SimFloat products it is very easy for users to transition flowsheets into IES in order to use the new models and leverage the enhanced features.

Sponsor/researcher workshops put the models through their paces

The first delivery cycle of the project has just been completed, with six models workshopped at the Sponsors Review Meeting (SRM) in Brisbane on 22-24 August. The models covered a diverse range of equipment: jigs, screens, crushers, cyclones, High Pressure Grinding Rolls (HPGR) and the much-anticipated “SAG Variable Rates 2”.

JKMRC’s project team of Dr Mohsen Yahyaei and his colleague Ryan Bracey put a huge amount of work into ensuring all the models were delivered in time for the workshop. Model code was received in a diverse range of formats, from MATLAB to spreadsheets to C++, and tested by Mohsen and Ryan before being passed to the CRC ORE team for conversion into IES’s base code (Java), imported into IES and tested again for integrity.

On the first day of the SRM, the researchers presented the progress they had made in verifying and validating the models in the field. On the second day (after a short refresher course on the basic use of IES) the sponsor representatives logged into the system to put the models through their paces. This was done “hands-on” in their own environments, with the lead researcher talking them through the process of how to use the model. On the third day of the SRM, CRC ORE held a workshop for the researchers on “lessons learned” in modelling for IES and how preparing comprehensive and robust test data is the pathway to usable, validated industry models.

The researchers reported that the approach helped them gather valuable feedback from the sponsors for both immediate fixes and future features for the models and IES platform. Many of the sponsors are conducting parallel projects in IES and this process allows them to test the latest research outcomes in the real world as soon as they become available.

JKMRC, AMIRA and CRC ORE: Cooperating to fast track P9 value to industry sponsors using the cloud!



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