Optimizing smelter uptime through digital asset management

Author(s): A. Dhora, R. MacRosty, L. Rodd, C. Walker, M. Alhashme, B. Ferrer
Extraction 2018, August 26–29, 2018 • Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


In most smelting operations, there is a strong incentive to improve safety, reduce downtime and extend the campaigns of furnaces and related equipment. An asset management strategy that is based on information, rather than simple throughput metrics and intuition, can be developed to improve uptime and unlock value currently unrealized at existing smelters. Advances in digital technology, including data analysis, modelling and monitoring for hot pyro-metallurgical vessels, make it possible to assess the current condition of an asset, as well as to make more informed projections about its future condition, using on-line and historical data. This would allow practices around asset management to be more proactive and less reactive, with the end-result of optimized uptime. ‘Digital Asset Management’ describes a concept in which digital technology is used to support an asset management strategy and accelerate decision-making by providing information on what, why and how an asset should be designed, operated or maintained.

With the overall goals of effective resource utilization, optimized operations, capital efficiency and social acceptance, Smelter 4.0 is a program of holistic improvement and is underpinned by the effective use of data to drive decisions. This paper focuses on Asset Reliability, which is one of the improvement pillars of Smelter 4.0, and introduces a methodology that is aimed at closing the gap between recorded data and evidence-based decision-making through Digital Asset Management.