changes – The Corporate Blog

Data is becoming a new resource

The primaries & metals industry must produce in a more efficient, environmentally friendly and safe manner. Andrew Reese understands the role modern measurement technology plays.

Industry insider Andrew Reese (53), Global Industry Manager at Endress+Hauser, has been coordinating the international network of primaries & metals industry experts since 2012. The Englishman joined the Group in 2002.

Mr Reese, which issues impact your industry?

At the moment, efficiency is the biggest buzzword in the primaries and metals industry. Megatrends such as globalization, resource scarcity and volatile markets and prices are forcing businesses to invest in new technologies in order to produce efficiently and be able to compete. Safety naturally plays a major role in the metals industry, although functional safety requirements are on the rise in mining as well. At the same time, energy costs continue to rise and environmental regulations are becoming more stringent. In light of all of these challenges, better process controls and automation are gaining importance.

What demands does this industry place on measurement technology?

Our customers want the highest level of plant availability possible. For that they need robust and reliable measurement instruments that are low maintenance, easy to clean and deliver reliable information despite the harsh operating conditions. These instruments have to integrate into diverse system environments because of different signal outputs and protocols.

Commissioning must be simple, even in regions with limited infrastructures. Generally speaking, we are noticing an increased demand for non-contact measurement technology, especially in the slurry handling processes of the mining sector, and multivariable instruments that monitor multiple process parameters. 

What are the current trends in the field of automation? 

Interest in IIoT applications is growing. More and more companies are recognizing that consistent process and device data is the foundation, which makes it a new and decisive resource for productivity improvements and cost reductions. Capturing, managing and processing this information is the key to better process controls and waste minimization, such as in the area of maintenance.

Intelligent sensors with self-diagnostics and monitoring functions, as well as the required connectivity, deliver this type of consistent data. With these smart sensors, the first step into the digital mine and toward IIoT is complete, without having to completely redesign the entire operation.

“We are noticing an increased demand for non-contact measurement technology, especially in the slurry handling processes of the mining sector, and multivariable instruments that monitor multiple process parameters. “

Andrew Reese, Global Industry Manager at Endress+Hauser

What other developments are you watching? 

In the mining sector, the diminishing grade of ore in the rock and an increase in the recycling of waste flows demand more complex separation technologies and improved quality controls. Inline and online analyses offer a lot of potential in this area. We can already halve the use of chemicals in various processes through the intelligent use of measurements.

Optimized processes are becoming more important in water and wastewater treatment, not only to protect the environment, but also because many mines are in remote regions without access to sufficient water supplies. That means they have to first produce the water themselves. Many mineral processing operations even use sea water, which adds additional complexities and demands on field instruments.

How is Endress+Hauser positioned in the primaries & metals industry?

The company got its start 65 years ago in the area of level measurement technology for the cement industry. From there we went on to become a leading full-range provider of industrial process technology. Today we have a comprehensive portfolio completely tailored to the needs and applications of the industry. Since 2007 alone, we have delivered more than 2.6 million field instruments to the primaries & metals industry! In addition, we support this industry with a broad spectrum of services and solutions.

Why should customers place their trust in Endress+Hauser?

Hardly anyone understands the industry and its needs like us! Our colleagues, who are located near our customers around the world, are well positioned to provide comprehensive consulting and advice and project support. The feedback from this global network flows back into the product development process. That means we work hand in hand with our customers to shape the future of the industry!

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