With the rapid development of new technology and the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution which is disrupting traditional processes and the way people live and work, data is becoming a hot commodity, says engineering consultancy company WorleyParsons.
The challenge does not lie in obtaining the data, but how to use it to its maximum potential to add real value to clients and organisations, particularly in a technologically stagnant sector such as mining.
WorleyParsons provides engineering solutions to the world’s energy and resources challenges and, therefore, harnessing the power of data is vital for the organisation and its clients to prosper in the new digital age. The company has been active in this space for several years and has established a strong digital reputation.
In South Africa, the company has positioned itself at the forefront of mining technology by developing various leading-edge data management tools – such as the Stepwise process that makes it possible to expediently create option analyses to assist clients and prospective funders in making strategic investment decisions – and integrated design project tools to create a living digital twin of a facility that can reduce risk and improve productivity on a project.
WorleyParsons’ data management solutions are aimed at addressing the ongoing challenges that energy and resources clients continue to face – how to increase productivity, reduce maintenance and operation costs and improve safety. Through collaboration and sharing of digital knowledge across the company’s multinational regions, the company’s global digital teams are aligning to create the most innovative solutions to address these challenges. This digital capability is being embedded in WorleyParsons’ day-to-day working, and the company is in the process of creating global service lines to make the digital capability available throughout its locations.
“The world is changing at a rapid pace. Organisations across the globe have a strategic objective to ‘go digital’ or be at risk of becoming obsolete, but few know how to use technology to add real value to their operations,” says WorleyParsons South Africa CEO Denver Dreyer.
He notes that WorleyParsons has the knowledge and expertise to offer a roadmap to help its clients navigate what is unfamiliar territory for many, adding that ‘going digital’ is much different to the traditional way of doing work, particularly in the mining sector which has seen little change in mining methods in decades.
“It requires a change in mindset of the entire project team, including the clients’ side, right down to mine personnel. Our clients’ teams must be aligned with ours to embrace technology and understand the immense benefits of it.”
Further, he mentions that it is crucial to partner with a service provider that has industry experience as well as the technical expertise. WorleyParsons South Africa building information modelling manager Russel du Plessis concurs.
“In the mining sector, we’re seeing companies approach third-party providers to create three-dimensional models of projects. “While this may appear impressive on the surface, the picture on the screen is not the drawcard – it’s the underlying data that is of value, which is accumulated by industry experts over a long period of time,” Du Plessis comments.
He explains that the integrated data that makes it possible to provide design accuracy, look pre-emptively forward and create a scenario plan for a project, is what really makes virtual reality models powerful.
“The objective is to deliver an intelligent and integrated project scope that runs from the design phase right through to construction. “This can only be achieved by using datacentric integrated design principles combined with industry knowledge,” he explains.
Dreyer advances that, although it will take time for the local mining sector to fully realise the benefits of digital transformation, the company intends to mainstream digitisation across its larger projects. WorleyParsons South Africa is currently collaborating with one of its international counterparts to develop a “ground-breaking” intelligent mine for a major mining client, which is set to be one of the world’s most technologically advanced mines.
“We have people who understand data management and the application of data in an operational context, and can develop digital design techniques from concept development to detailed design, implement data analytics to improve plant maintenance and availability, and apply digital processes and smart tools through the design, development and implementation phases. “With this capability, we can develop the intelligent mine concept into a full life cycle service offering,” Dreyer states.
As part of the Mining 2050 Innovation Track programme at the Investing in African Mining Indaba, which will discuss the latest technology and innovation strategies driving the mining industry forward, WorleyParsons major projects Middle East MD Gordon Cowe will be going into further detail about the intelligent mine concept and the positive influence of digital data management on the mining industry.
The Investing in African Mining Indaba will be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from February 4 to 7. WorleyParsons’ corporate presentation is scheduled for February 6 at 17h00.