Transforming maintenance

A TRAINING centre to transform maintenance in the resources sector through data science is being established in Perth.
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Centre aims to train students in the data science techniques miners need.

To be called the Australian Research Council Training Centre for Transforming Maintenance Through Data Science, the centre will be led by Curtin University.
Other key players in the centre are the University of Western Australia, CSIRO, the University of Adelaide, Alcoa, BHP, Roy Hill, Core Innovation Hub and the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia.

The centre has received $3.9 million in ARC funding from the Australian government.

Data science-driven maintenance has proved a boon for some resources industry players.

Woodside Energy, for example, used data science to predict when a piece of equipment that could shut down its Pluto LNG plant would fail.

To put that into perspective, Pluto is responsible for about 50% of Woodside's revenue.

The piece of equipment had 10,000 sensors on it and Woodside was able to use the data from those to get an understanding of what was happening with it.

That allowed it to predict that piece of equipment's failure four days out and stop it.

Mining equipment is also festooned with all manner of sensors, providing all manner of data.
The challenge for miners is to sift through that data to find the key bit of information that can stop a critical failure or boost the equipment's performance.

Developing the sort of people that can do that will be one of the key goals of this centre.

ARC Training Centre for Transforming Maintenance Through Data Science director Professor Andrew Rohl said effective maintenance underpinned the $205 billion export earnings from Australia's resources sector.

"However, maintenance management practices have changed little in the past 20 years and are ripe for a digital overhaul that will bring developments in computational methods, statistics, applied mathematics and artificial intelligence to determine how, when and why maintenance is conducted," he said.

"The new centre, which will bring together the relevant research and industry expertise, will enable the development and adoption of new practices to improve productivity and asset reliability for industry and to foster a new maintenance technology service sector for national and international markets."

UWA Professor and CSIRO-UWA chair of Complex Engineering Systems Michael Small said being able to effectively use data to create better systems, develop new technology and transform how maintenance was carried out across the resources sector was critical.

He said the centre would allow the industry to take huge steps towards that.

Federal Education and Training Minister Simon Birmingham said the centre was specifically designed to meet the needs of local mining and energy companies.

  "This training centre will ensure WA mining companies have access to the best and brightest engineers and graduates with the knowledge and skills that they demand," he said.

"Researchers will work closely with the CSIRO and major industry players Alcoa, BHP and Roy Hill to produce engineers and graduates that meet their specific needs and requirements."