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Uday Kumar och Ramin Karim
Uday Kamar and Ramin Karim, both professors in Operation and Maintenance at Luleå University of Technology. View original picture , opens in new tab/window

AI Factory - new for the mining industry

Published: 30 March 2021

LKAB and Boliden are part of a new collaboration between Luleå University of Technology and the mining industry. The goal is to reach a production with as little disruptions as possible.
– Based on research and innovation, we have developed a general concept for the use of new technologies on a digital platform that we call AI Factory. More doctoral students and researchers are now engaged, says Ramin Karim, professor of maintenance technology.

Following a successful collaboration between Luleå University of Technology and companies in the railway industry, another project has started, a collaboration between the university and the mining industry, AI Factory for Mining, AIFM.
– We are honored that we have been entrusted to adapt AI Factory for the mining industry. The project is financed with funds from Vinnova, Boliden and LKAB, says Ramin Karim, professor of maintenance technology and operations manager.

Facilitates decisions

The basic idea is that the universal part of AI Factory can be specially adapted for several industries, based on the needs of the different industries.
– We are able to stimulate, or accelerate, digitization of various work processes in the mining industry by jointly sharing data and increasing the use of AI technology to achieve increased sustainability, reliability and capacity. Our research team will work with the development of a digital AI factory, which enables autonomous operation and maintenance in the mining industry, says Ramin Karim.
The AI factory will be used to facilitate fact-based, data-driven decisions. The goal is for the process to become automated and self-driving, for analysis and support for decisions for operation and maintenance.
– We want to achieve sustainability and circular economy in plant.

Others are invited

AI Factory is also about developing new technologies that can be used in the best way in the business.
– We work with planning, the best technical solutions and application. In the projects, we use our 15-year research in operation and maintenance here at Luleå University of Technology. Now we produce solutions, says Ramin Karim.
As far as the mining industry is concerned, more companies will be invited, both mining companies and those who supply equipment and materials to them.
– For the mines, it is about fixed and mobile facilities. Already today we have a collaboration with a mine in India where we collect data on vehicles. They are not part of this project, but we hope to be able to include them when we expand it, says Ramin Karim.

Reduced energy consumption

AIFM will contribute to developing the digital transformation of various processes in mines. It facilitates the use of new technologies. This in turn leads to increased operational reliability, increased productivity and reduced energy consumption.
– The knowledge that is built up will be of great benefit to Swedish and international mines, says Uday Kumar, professor of operation and maintenance, who has worked and researched in operational safety related to the mining industry.
He is a member of the Advisory Board for Emerging Technology for the world's largest iron ore producer Vale.
– Uday is also a mining engineer and has good knowledge and competence in the area. He also has a large international network that is good to have in the project, says Ramin Karim.
Already today, there are plans to start new projects with the same basic concept.

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