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Students to boost ARC centre mission to lift resource sector productivity

Media release

Students will harness the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning as part of a collaboration between universities and industry that aims to use next-generation data science to transform asset maintenance for Australia’s resources sector.

The Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Training Centre is led by Curtin University in partnership with The University of Western Australia, CSIRO and industry partners Alcoa, BHP and Roy Hill, as well as CORE Innovation Hub and the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia (MRIWA).

ARC​ ​Training​ ​Centre​ ​for​ ​Transforming​ ​Maintenance​ ​through​ ​Data​ ​Science Director Professor Andrew Rohl said six PhD students would have the opportunity to study at Curtin or The University of Western Australia this year, followed by another six next year.

“The centre’s efforts to improve productivity and asset reliability for the nation’s resources sector will be bolstered by the addition of our first cohort of six PhD students this year, who will collaborate with our main industry partners,” Professor Rohl said.

“These projects include natural language processing of maintenance records, statistical models for failure prediction and remaining useful life estimation, optimising maintenance for duplicate assets and maximising the time between having to perform maintenance on equipment.”

MRIWA Chief Executive Officer Nicole Roocke said supporting emerging industry leaders through the development of relevant skills and knowledge in areas such as data science was imperative to transforming the mining sector.

“MRIWA welcomes the opportunity to provide funding for two of the 12 PhD students at the centre and looks forward to working with them going forward,” Ms Roocke said.

BHP WA Head of Corporate Affairs Meath Hammond said the new centre combined relevant research and industry expertise to enable the development and adoption of new practices to improve productivity and asset reliability for industry.

“The centre will strive to foster a new maintenance technology service sector for national and international markets,” Mr Hammond said.

Alcoa Alumina Vice President of Technology and Manufacturing Eugenio Azevedo said the centre offered a unique opportunity to develop and implement cutting edge data science technology into maintenance systems.

“This is strongly aligned with Alcoa’s strategic goals of improving safety, reducing maintenance costs and improving return on investment by maximising productivity through improved equipment reliability,” Mr Azevedo said.

Roy Hill General Manager Demand Chain Mike Lomman said that in working with the Australian Research Council Industrial Transformation Training Centre, the company sought to find new ways to capture quality datasets.

“This will enable us to better predict and avoid failure, enable a better understanding of a problem’s root cause, and deliver better outcomes from both a productivity and safety perspective,” Mr Lomman,said.

Curtin University was last year awarded $3.9 million in ARC funding for the establishment of the centre with subsequent contributions from partners lifting funding for the centre to about $9 million.

For more information about the centre, visit here www.maintenance.org.au.