As a number of asset-centric industries continue to leverage IoT to drive business performance improvements, the mining industry is cautiously following suit. Although still in its infancy, IoT in mining has the potential to take the industry into a new realm of productivity.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the connection of objects such as computing machines, embedded devices, equipment, appliances, and sensors to the Internet. In the context of the mining industry, this technology involves connecting equipment, fleets, and people based on radio frequency identification device (RFID) and sensor technologies.
IoT in the mining industry is poised for rapid adoption. According to global mobile satellite company Inmarsat’s report ‘The Future of IoT in Enterprise – 2017’, 40 percent of mining companies plan to deploy IoT solutions within the next 18 months. In this post, we look at 5 ways IoT in mining is driving innovation in the industry by creating new methods of maintaining mine safety and improving productivity.
Sensors embedded in mining equipment can monitor equipment health and trigger alerts to predict failures before they occur, giving the ability to react at the right time. Proactive maintenance also means that spare parts can be ordered well in advance, avoiding express shipping costs when a breakdown occurs. By moving beyond reactive or time-based maintenance, miners can ensure higher asset uptime, and increased productivity by delivering more ore from the existing infrastructure.
Improved Safety of People and Equipment:
Miners are highly focused on employee safety, as operations often take place in extreme environments and far-flung locations. IoT in the mining industry can play a significant role in addressing potential health risks and safety concerns such as the collapse of unstable shafts or injuries resulting from the operation of mining trucks. By enabling autonomous operations without the need for human intervention, operators can remotely monitor equipment, and use real-time data from equipment sensors as well as geological and other data to anticipate and react to potential safety threats.
Analytics and Intelligence:
The increasing use of IoT in mining will churn out large volumes of data related to production processes, operational environment, safety and other aspects of operations. Analyzing this data can provide useful insights on process variability and deviations from expected operating conditions in real time, allowing miners to take actions that drive higher process efficiencies and combat safety threats. Advanced analytics can turn vast data sets into insight about the probability of future events and help mining companies predict upcoming trends.
As explained earlier, IoT enables miners to move from reactive to proactive maintenance, which translates into reduced asset downtime and consequently, reduced cost of operations. Additionally, autonomous machine operations improve productivity and reduce costs by eliminating manual monitoring. By tracking devices in real time, supervisors can ensure that the right machine is available at the right time and place, preventing production delays and associated costs.
IoT enabled equipment provide real-time updates that not only makes possible a real-time response to issues, but also facilitates sophisticated decision-making at the central operating center that can take actions to optimize operations across the whole supply chain. This capability can be deployed to maintain high equipment utilization and ensure consistency with operating plans.
About GroundHog FMS
GroundHog FMS is a mobile fleet management system optimized for use in underground mines. It is designed to work out of the box for all underground mine operations. GroundHog FMS controls production, tracks and schedules workforce, and helps you get deep insights to drive higher process efficiency. With GroundHog FMS, you can build a mine that is highly efficient, safe and profitable.