Aspermont Limited, Australia’s leading media services provider in the mining and resources industry, conducted an exclusive interview with Thomas Grand, Dassault Systèmes’ Vice President, Energy and Materials in May 2019. In this interview, Thomas speaks about the acceleration of the mining industry towards the era of automation and digitalisation, comparing these trends to what he had seen unfold in the nuclear and oil and gas industries in the past decade. The interview has been published in Mining Monthly, Mining News and Mining Journal. We bring you an excerpt from the interview.
Parallels between mining and the nuclear and oil and gas industries
Dassault Systèmes’ landmark strategic partnership with global resources leader BHP is the latest indicator of a seismic shift in the strategic mindset of the world’s miners. And ‘seismic’ is a term that has meaning beyond the literal one here, because Dassault Systèmes energy and materials vice president Thomas Grand has seen mining’s pivot before. He sees parallels between mining’s acceleration into a ‘smart mining’ era of automation and digitalisation, and what he has seen unfold in the nuclear and oil and gas industries in the past decade.
“Nuclear was extremely conservative even five years ago. We heard senior executives saying things like, we’ve been working like this forever, things have been just fine and there is no reason why we would change; and certainly no reason to embark on a futuristic, funky digital path.
“But the industry reached a cliff-edge with a steep and rapid increase in workforce retirements, which has been very visible in a number of countries. The situation between five years ago and now has dramatically changed, and those same CEOs who were considering digital as mere gadgetry five years ago, today view it very differently.
“And the oil and gas industry has, in a similar vein, seen the concept of product lifecycle management spreading extremely fast from a very recent tipping point. PLM is becoming part of the new normal in the thinking process of the oil and gas companies because they realise it is delivering to them something they’ve been missing for years.”
Mining’s transformational path
For Grand, the journey along this transformational path is well signposted, and miners get to choose a vehicle to suit them for all or part of the journey.
Already the company has been working with large and smaller mining organisations around the world to plug into ‘platform’ collaboration opportunities with its range of mine planning, modelling and optimisation tools via the cloud-based Power’By offering. Power’By gives companies the chance to tap benefits of Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE Platform without migrating data or disrupting existing processes.
“Miners today are striving for more efficiency, and safety, which means typically more automation, more digital and for that, a key enabler is the software capability that they will deploy. So we now see a number of our customers considering very large investments in digital, very large investments in software, precisely because they can link those enablers directly to their strategic business drivers and objectives.
Other vital accelerators of mining’s 4.0 transition to ‘lean’ production – eliminating waste and potentially shrinking the environmental footprint of future operations – and digital twins that drive real efficiency optimisation endeavours, are the “huge commoditisation” of sensors of all forms, and data management via the cloud.
The 3DEXPERIENCE platform in mining
Dassault Systèmes’ unique four-quadrant integrated enterprise collaboration platform, built on its collaboration, modelling, simulation and analytics product portfolio, is an essential differential.
“Our concept of the 3DEXPERIENCE mine, which is basically a very high-fidelity digital twin of the mine, can only exist if we are able to position the building blocks in collaboration, modelling, simulation and analytics,” he says.
“We are certainly still selling legacy software solutions by site and by company, but we are talking less now about the technology and much more about the business drivers, and we are assessing more in a process the value that can be unlocked by helping customers address their challenges, and their pain points. This is a significant shift in the conversation.
“GEOVIA Power’by has been a stepping stone in mining and now we see with larger customers we have an opportunity to position 3DEXPERIENCE and to further change the type of the discussion and the scope of the discussion, and take it beyond the pits to the plants, and logistics, and business operations.
Thomas Grand will be a panelist at the 6th International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC 2019) Keynote Panel Debate, “How do we overcome the non-technical issues to achieve business transformation, innovation and a workforce of the future?” on October 31.
For a further discussion on how the 3DEXPERIENCE platform can power the mining eco-system, visit Dassault Systèmes Booth #K15 at IMARC 2019 from October 29 to 31. For more information the solutions that we are showcasing or to organise a meeting with us, go to events.3ds.com/imarc-2019