Systems for transport and processing of granular media are challenging to analyse, operate and optimise.
In the mining and mineral processing industries these systems are chains of processes with complex interplay between the equipment, control, and the processed material.
The material properties have natural variations that are usually only known at certain locations.
Therefore, we explore a material-oriented approach to digital twins with a particle representation of the granular media.
In digital form, the material is treated as pseudo-particles, each representing a large collection of real particles of various sizes, shapes and, mineral properties.
Movements and changes in the state of the material are determined by the combined data from control systems, sensors, vehicle telematics, and simulation models at locations where no real sensors can see.
The particle-based representation enables material tracking along the chain of processes.
Each digital particle can act as a carrier of observational data generated by the equipment as it interacts with the real material.
This makes it possible to better learn material properties from process observations, and to predict the effect on downstream processes.
We test the technique on a mining simulator and demonstrate analysis that can be performed using data from cross-system material tracking.
Supplementary video S1: Integration Test
Supplementary video S2: Simulator