DOI: 10.3390/app14010350 ISSN: 2076-3417

Architecting an Open-Source IIoT Framework for Real-Time Control and Monitoring in the Bioleaching Industry

Marta I. Tarrés-Puertas, Lluís Brosa, Albert Comerma, Josep M. Rossell, Antonio D. Dorado
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • General Engineering
  • Instrumentation
  • General Materials Science

Electronic waste (e-waste) contains toxic elements causing an important impact on environmental and human health. However, the presence of valuable metals, such as copper or gold, among others, make recycling a necessity for obtaining an alternative source of raw materials. Conventional metal recovery methods are environmentally unsound, prompting the exploration of greener alternatives like bioleaching, which utilizes the activity of microorganisms for a more sustainable recovery. However, the mechanisms involved in the process and the conditions to optimize the metabolic paths are still not completely known. Monitorization and automatization of the different stages composing the global process are crucial for advancing in the implementation of this novel technology at an industrial scale. For the first time, an open-source industrial IoT system is designed to enhance and regulate bioleaching by implementing real-time monitoring and control within the plant’s infrastructure. This system includes an Android app that displays real-time plant data from sensors and a robust server featuring a flexible application programming interface (API) for future applications. The app caters to specific needs such as remote sensor reading, actuator control, and real-time bioleaching alerts, ensuring secure access and proactive event management. By utilizing collected data, it minimizes downtime, equipment failures, and supply chain disruptions. The server maintains seamless communication with the plant controller, enabling efficient pump activation and sensor data transmission. A telegram bot demonstrates the API’s flexibility by forwarding plant alerts to users. During validation with concurrent remote user access, the application demonstrated its ability to prevent irreversible plant failures through an advanced alarm system. Ultimately, this IIoT system amplifies plant performance, safety, and efficiency by optimizing processes and decision-making capabilities. It emerges as a pivotal open-source tool, securing remote oversight and management of large-scale bioleaching plants, promising adaptability for future enhancements.

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