Category: Production control center


New mining control room monitors all ore production processes

It is also called “the largest pyramid in the world” – the Styrian Erzberg. After more than 1,300 years of mining history, a total volume of twelve million tonnes of rock, including three million tonnes of pure iron ore, is now produced annually in open pit mining using state-of-the-art technology. To control and monitor the entire extraction and treatment process, VA Erzberg GmbH relies on a future-oriented control room with technical and ergonomic solutions from Jungmann Systemtechnik.

If we believe a traditional legend, the people of Erzberg need not fear for their prosperity. According to this, the inhabitants of the region caught an Aquarius in ancient times, who bought his freedom with a barter. “Gold for ten years’, silver for a hundred years’ or iron forever,” he said. The wise iron ore workers are said to have chosen the latter, whereupon the Aquarius showed them the ore mountain.

In view: "Every machine that turns or moves"

“Forever there”, however, according to current estimates by experts, means that the ore reserves will last for forty to fifty years of mining. About 230 employees are responsible for the extraction and processing of the raw material at the mining company VA Erzberg. The pivotal point for monitoring and regulating all processes of the entire ore dressing plant: the control room, which has been extensively upgraded with state-of-the-art large-screen technology, a suitable operating system and ergonomic furniture. “Every machine that rotates or moves is monitored from this control room,” explains Ronald Käfmüller, academic preparation engineer and responsible for the process technology of the plant.

From the control room simulator live to the control room

His goal: “We wanted to make the workstations and functions of the control room more ergonomic and efficient. After some initial research, the project manager quickly came across Jungmann Systemtechnik as a qualified partner for this project. With a visit to JST’s control room simulator, unique in Europe, the decision was made. Käfmüller: “There, we were able to connect live to our system in Austria and develop a concept in the control room simulator that served as the basis for our project. This was not only exciting, but also target-oriented. This gave us the opportunity to directly determine which technologies were useful for us and on what scale”.

JST - VA Erzberg: Control room before modernisation JST - VA Erzberg: Control room after modernisation

The control room before and after modernization.

Intuitive operating concept for all processes and cameras

As a result of these intensive consultations, the new control room today has clear presentation of all processes and camera systems on a Video wall with large screen displays, that thanks to the MultiConsoling operating concept® enabled not only a reduction of monitors, but also of the associated mouse-keyboard units: The former 15 (!) mouse/keyboard combinations have been replaced by a single one, with which both the workstation and large-screen displays can be operated via MouseHopping.

“The heat is no longer a problem”

Further plus points in the eyes of Ronald Käfmüller: “In the past, we always had a lot of heat in the control room. With the MultiConsoling® it was possible to relocate the entire technology from the control room. The heat is therefore no longer a problem. “Also for the ergonomic Stratos X11 control room desks the project manager gives the thumbs up: “Many people can build furniture. But this control desk really has it all with the height adjustment, the large technology storage compartments and the ergonomic design”.

Modern process control center attracts the next generation

The company was able to test how well the new workstations in the control room were received by VA Erzberg staff right after implementation. In the course of the installation of the process control room, the last two long-standing colleagues were retired and efforts were made to recruit new employees. “The great optics of the new control center played a decisive role in our search for personnel. This has made it much easier for us to attract young employees,” reports Ronald Käfmüller.

Reference projects of JST (selection)