20 July 2021

Alcoa’s digital transformation


Over the last three years Alcoa has been pursuing an aggressive digital agenda across all aspects of its operations in a bid to drive productivity and transform operational capability.

Led by Alcoa’s global digital transformation group, there are five key digital strategies currently underway including development of custom smart sensors, connected worker, robotics/automation/machine vision, data science and intelligent mining.

One of the most significant digital projects currently being pursued is known as ‘connected worker’.

Austmine Day 3-78 Johann Reps
Alcoa’s Johann Reps, Global Manager Digital Technology and Automation presented the “Connected Worker” program at the Austmine 2021 Mining Innovation Conference.

Connected worker is helping to drive productivity by using digital technology to increase employee mobility and automate manual processes. The application is also helping to embed best practice in digital workflows while giving employees access to tailored, real time information so they can make effective decisions and solve problems on the shop floor.

The connected worker suite of applications are currently being deployed across Alcoa’s 21 operating locations in Australia, Brazil, USA, Canada, Spain, Norway and Iceland. By years’ end 9000 of Alcoa’s employees and contractors are expected to be using connected worker, with early adopters reporting up to an hour per day increase in effective tool time and significant improvement in shift handovers.

Johann Reps, Global Manager Digital Technology and Automation said the company’s digital and asset management groups have been making steady progress towards a digital future for the last three years across multiple projects.

“The scope of the digital transformation Alcoa is undertaking is part of our broader strategic objective towards delivering cleaner, more efficient alumina production - leveraging new technologies is part of that approach”.

“What’s also clear is that any digital transformation is clearly much bigger than just the technology that is involved. It has significant cultural implications and will require a transformation in role design, IT infrastructure, policies and processes including data management and that journey is ongoing,” Johann said.

Together, the five digital strategies will have a significant impact on Alcoa’s global operations with the potential to help transform the business, to be safer, cleaner, more productive and more efficient and ultimately to ensure that it can advance sustainably.