Bentley’s cloud technology helps AAEngineering design the Altynalmas gold plant

AAEngineering Group, using cloud-based technology from Bentley Systems, helped Altynalmas deliver a new vision for a gold processing plant in Kazakhstan.

When drilling and geological surveys revealed the presence of gold ores in the surrounding area of ​​Akmola, gold producer Altynalmas invested in expanding resource extraction operations, announcing a tender to increase annual ore processing production up to 5 Mt.

The $ 230 million project included the construction of a new gold processing plant, a dam, an accommodation camp for 600 people, water pipes and a substation. 220 kV electric.

AAEngineering Group was responsible for the overall design, procurement and construction works that required upgrading existing energy and mining infrastructure, environmental protection and occupational safety, and determining a optimal construction site which imposed a sanitary protection zone of 1000 m from adjacent wells and uranium dams. The new plant also had to be interoperable with existing processing facilities in terms of equipment and materials, as well as integrate seamlessly with operating systems.

Additionally, AAEngineering faced challenges in meeting the technology requirements to comply with the customer’s ‘digital mine initiative’ within a tight deadline, compounded by coordinating a remote team during the COVID-pandemic. 19.

The company wanted to offer several conceptual models to the client for Altynalmas in order to visualize the infrastructure design options and make the best decision for the implementation of the project.

“We had to publish several versions of the project depending on their technical request,” Andrey Aksyonov, director of the information modeling department at AAEngineering. This required updating the existing plant information model, creating a digital terrain model, and incorporating components from the equipment and materials database to provide precise visual options. to the client.

After the client decided on the optimal design concept and selected the location for the new plant, AAEngineering moved on to the detailed design phase and offered to execute the design and construction work simultaneously to reduce the time. construction and meet the short deadline of 22 months. It also aimed to provide seamless integration with the assets and operations of existing facilities using digital twins.

To develop its concept solutions, simultaneously perform design and build, and achieve digital deliverables aligned with the customer’s smart mining initiatives, AAEngineering needed integrated BIM technology and digital twins. Additionally, given the global COVID-19 pandemic quarantine, there was a need to establish a connected data environment to remotely coordinate design and construction.

Early in the conceptual modeling phase, AAEngineering established a collaborative design platform using Bentley Systems’ ProjectWise to provide a connected data exchange system for all contractors and the customer. He used laser scanning and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to study the existing facilities and the new construction site, processing the captured images with ContextCapture.

“From the survey data, they evaluated the earthworks and generated a digital terrain model in OpenRoads,” Bentley said. “Then, using OpenPlant, they digitized existing and new pipeline configurations and equipment connections to develop several conceptual 3D models for the customer. “

Aksyonov explained, “Using the survey data in ContextCapture, we built a digital terrain model, and all of this was transferred to the site development plant to generate preliminary specifications with an assessment of the terrain. demolition work.

The client used the models to determine the optimal design concept and approve the plant location, equipment and piping diagram.

Based on the customer’s specifications, AAEngineering used various software applications to assemble the pipeline and structural models, as well as the accommodation camp. He then integrated these templates with the general installation template in OpenBuildings Designer.

“In line with its proposal to perform design and build simultaneously, AAEngineering used ContextCapture to process the weekly images captured by UAV into reality meshes and synchronized the models with SYNCHRO 4D for construction simulation and planning. Bentley said. “The integration of LumenRT and iTwin services made it easier to detect visual conflicts and provided the cloud-based platform to establish a digital twin. “

Using Bentley’s digital twin technology, the company synchronized the model with iTwin for better understanding, for visualization of changes and for making the right decisions on the project, Aksyonov said. These open apps kept project in control and on schedule throughout the quarantine, the company said.

“The use of Bentley technology during the design phase resulted in a well-developed visual offering for the project, giving the customer a full understanding of the design from the start and winning the contract with AAEngineering,” said Bentley. “Throughout the execution of the project, the integrated modeling applications and the digital twin solution streamlined workflows and facilitated simultaneous design and construction which reduced construction costs and enabled the commissioning of the plant to be ahead of schedule.

According to Bentley, working in a collaborative digital environment and updating the development model with UAV surveys saved 30% in design time and reduced travel costs by 75%. It also optimized remote coordination and construction management during the COVID-19 quarantine. Accurate modeling and visualization reduced material quantities by 15% and eliminated conflicts during construction, he added.

“Finally, thanks to the digital twin, the customer was able to train the operating staff before the plant was commissioned,” said Bentley. “Additionally, the digital twin has enabled seamless integration with the customer’s operating system in line with their digital mine initiative to support intelligent mining processes and management, fostering automation and digitization that is transforming the mining industry.

For AAEngineering, implementing the use of digital twin technology on this project has saved money and instilled new business processes, making advanced digital practices a corporate standard, according to Bentley.

Aksyonov concluded: “To sum up, Bentley Systems has enabled us to improve our own design, build and operation solutions.

Leon E. Hill

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