Vale deploys the Integrated Operations Center in Minas Gerais

About Vale


Vale deploys the Integrated Operations Center in Minas Gerais

Vale has started activities of the Integrated Operations Center (COI, Centro de Operações Integradas) at Águas Claras mine (MAC, Mina de Águas Claras) in Nova Lima, Minas Gerais. "The purpose of the project is to synchronize even more the various phases of the operation in Brazil and abroad bringing it closer to the sales area, thus gaining efficiency and price realization," comments Peter Poppinga, Vale’s Iron Ore and Coal executive director. "For example, we have to continuously manage the flow of about 300 vessels in several positions around the world – task that will be much easier by COI’s integrated actions."

Vale’s COI deployed at Águas Claras mine, in Belo Horizonte (Minas Gerais)

COIs are facilities, usually in the metropolitan area, that combine people qualifications, operation processes, and technology to deliver exceptional levels of collaboration and excellence. Vale's COI performance model will combine several functions of the iron ore chain, such as planning, scheduling, and control. Therefore, the center will promote collaboration, efficiency, and compliance with the company's strategy, allowing it to act even more proactively given the current market dynamism.

The structure will allow Vale to get a more integrated view from the mine, railroads, ports, and maritime transportation to the final destination of ore, so that the decision-making process is more effective and focused on optimizing process and asset performance, as well as business results. "We are always aiming to achieve the global optimum, which is best for Vale as a whole, rather than maximizing local optima in specific areas," comments Vagner Loyola, Vale’s Ferrous Metals Chain director.

Vale also forecasts greater alignment between planning and execution, greater stability and predictability of the production chain, as well as potential annual gains of more than US$600 million, between price realization and assets productivity increase.


Use of Digital Technology

One of the pillars to achieve COI's purposes is the intensive use of digital technology to promote collaboration among teams, making information exchange easy and reliable, as well as to improve effectiveness of value chain planning, which is complex and involves professionals from different locations and time zones. These principles guided the project from its conception, resulting in an environment that combines advanced visualization panels, video conferencing rooms, and several collaboration tools.

In addition, some systems have been improved and others have been developed to streamline and improve the production distribution and planning processes. Two systems should be highlighted: Ferrous Metals Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) and Vessel Allocation Optimization System (SOAN, Sistema de Otimização da Alocação de Navios).

The Ferrous Metals APS system is an optimizer that has recently undergone improvements. Today, it gathers data from cost and capacity of the value chain (mines, railroads, ports, vessels, and distribution centers) and the market price dynamics to indicate the best possible combination to meet customer demands and to ensure the best margin for the company.

The SOAN shall optimize the allocation of the vessel fleet serving the company in order to obtain the lowest total distribution cost. The program considers all variables that influence the cost, such as fuel price and demurrage (cost related to the time spent by the vessel waiting in line at the port terminal), and establishes the cargo and route for the vessels transporting Vale’s ore to the customers. The distribution scheduling and the location of each vessel is shared in real time via COI screens and mobile applications. Approximately 400 vessels can be displayed simultaneously.


Vale deploys the Integrated Operations Center in Minas Gerais