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Digital transformation is in focus as the mining industry, steel producers and other asset-heavy industries change their processes to balance the demands on productivity and sustainability. One example is LKAB‘s long-term drive towards carbon dioxide-free production, where IFS contributes with smart business system support for maintenance, material supply and logistics.

Sweden’s heavy process-based industry has long accounted for a large part of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions. An extensive transition is now underway, where several state and private companies are working together for a future fossil-free iron and steel industry, showing the world what can be achieved by a collaborative approach to innovation.

The development is driven by high productivity and environmental goals. A key factor in achieving the objectives is that all plants in the integrated production chain can operate with the highest possible reliability.

To avoid unplanned downtime, it is important to create more predictability in both the maintenance work and the entire production chain. Modern, preventive maintenance is based on efficient working methods but places increasing demands on these processes to be digitized and automated. LKAB is one of the customers that has chosen IFS’ asset management solution as a foundation for this digital transition.

Digital Transformation

Data-driven mining

The state-owned mining and minerals group is now undergoing a restructuring that is expected to be the largest in the company’s 130-year history. The ambition is to set a new world standard for sustainable and data-driven mining, which will include several industry-leading solutions and partners.

“We have many years of experience in developing support systems for plant-intensive industries, where unplanned downtime can be extremely costly. As mining and other production processes are increasingly automated, it becomes even more important to keep the machines running without interruption, to make the most efficient use of equipment and resources. Our system at LKAB will keep track of around 150,000 individual plant objects handled in the complex maintenance and logistics process, says Mikael Hultin, Systems Architect and Specialist, Manufacturing at IFS.

Preventive maintenance

The solution from IFS is integrated with LKAB’s production system and captures data directly from the connected equipment. This allows errors to be detected as they begin to emerge before causing serious damage, which means both cost savings and reduced resource energy consumption.

With preventive maintenance carried out correctly, at the right time and with the right material, available according to plan, the life of the equipment can be extended. Here IFS system comes in, by smoothly supporting LKAB’s staff, whether they work with planning and execution of maintenance, material supply or logistics and transportation at LKAB’s automated shipping ports. The solution is cloud-based, and all features are available online and on mobile devices, regardless of user category.

We see in other asset-intensive industries, such as steel production and the pulp and paper industry that there’s a need for mobility, digitalization, and automation, with a focus on increased cost-efficient productivity and sustainability. IFS’s solutions can work and contribute with a long-term and sustainable environmental future focus.

Digital Transformation

Phasing out fossil fuels

Implementation is now underway in LKAB’s existing facilities and in the long term the ambition is that the system from IFS will also be used in the next generation of exploration, mining, processing and transport, based on the industrial development projects SUM and HYBRIT. Both have a starting point in the circular economy, with ambitious goals regarding sustainability, energy efficiency and a carbon dioxide-free production process, which has received a lot of attention internationally as well. Recently, for example, Vattenfall’s CEO, Anna Borg, was invited by the new US President Joe Biden to the Climate Summit at the White House to showcase how partners and customers work together to phase out fossil fuels through innovative industrial collaborations such as HYBRIT.

Learn more about IFS solutions for heavy process-based industries.

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