IoT in Mining
Technology is increasingly transforming the way companies work in the digital age. Asset-intensive industries are rapidly embracing IoT technologies such as connected workforce to carry out operations and reduce costs. Mining is one of the industries where employees are expected to work under harsh conditions, and hundreds of workers lose their lives each year from mining accidents and occupational diseases. Therefore, there is an urgent need to introduce underground surveillance and control systems to manage different activities and ensure mining safety. Since the population continues to grow, the mining industry is increasingly under pressure. Today, each person requires 3.11 million pounds of minerals, metals, and fuel in their lifetime. The goal for the next decade is to use the Internet of Things throughout the lifecycle. The idea is that sensors generate vast amounts of data, which can be analysed in real time and translated into actionable insights for the mineworkers and operators. According to a recent study by market research specialist Vanson Bourne, 70% of respondents from 100 big mining companies worldwide believe that IoT would be able to provide them a significant edge against competitors, with 41% suggesting it would increase business process automation. Almost 50% of claiming IoT could be used to identify cost-saving opportunities. The following levels of automation are present in the mining business:
0: No automation
1: Initial mechanization
2: Line of site activity
3: Remote activity
4: Machine functions automated
5: Intelligent machines
Companies helping digitize mines are helping to deploy sensors on drill strings to gather data and combine it with pre-existing measurements to inform blasting plans. Besides, heavy-haul trucks and excavators are being equipped with GPS tracking and machine-health tracking. An end-to-end IoT platform helps to connect multiple devices, controllers, and sensors, in a real-time manner. The data that is collected can then be analysed and monitored, with the learning used to predict an outcome and finally act upon the data. This will help the mining companies in real-time decision making, reduce equipment failure, increase safety, minimize downtime and reduce wastage, and result in end-to-end automation.
The following are some ways by which IoT is driving innovation in the mining industry.
Get real-time data and analytics: As organizations adopt IoT and connect their assets, it results in large volumes of data related to the aspects of mine operations. Analyzing the data obtained and providing useful insights will help miners take decisive actions, make improvements to drive higher process efficiencies, and battle threats to health.
Standardize processes: Companies can better monitor their existing processes, and make operations agile. As companies gather more data, they can introduce new business models and generate new revenue streams.
Increase worker safety: Worker safety has been a major issue in mining for a long time. Gas detection sensors monitor levels of flammable and toxic gas in the mining environment. They can then alert workers or supervisors so that ventilation and airflow are kept to optimal levels. Wearables like smart helmets, wrist bands, and smart vests can address potential health risks by continually monitoring vital signs, cardiac activity, and real-time location. This helps mine supervisors to anticipate the risks beforehand and thus take precautionary steps to avoid potential threats.
Predictive maintenance: With the use of smart sensors, companies can collect critical data from mining equipments, across multiple processes and provide them with insights into equipment functionality. Analysing the collected data helps operators to predict potential threats and hence avoid sudden downtime. It allows companies to not only cut costs but also to optimize machinery for higher performance and throughput. A fully integrated network helps to monitor every aspect of operation and helps in higher productivity and safety. It helps in detecting wear and tear as well as projecting when repairs or maintenance are required.
Cloud-based logistics: This helps in a load-sharing platform. Mining companies can manage sales contracts, inventories, and product flow. It helps in removing the possibility of human error. Remote monitoring of loaded trucks can help organizations optimize routes and ensure that vehicles depart with the exact weight to maximize fuel consumption.
Smart inventory management: Mining companies need to keep spare parts handy for unexpected repair and maintenance. In many cases, some parts are not even used and eventually become obsolete. With the help of smart devices, companies can optimize the number of spare parts, issue orders at the required time, and sell unused inventory before it becomes obsolete.
Metal commodities are vital to the sustainability of modern society. Without an advanced automated mining solution, this industry would have difficulty achieving the expectations of the industry. Internet of Things and Machine to Machine Learning with Artificial Intelligence and Predictive Analysis is vital for its success. Modern technology based on sensors, smart gateways, and long-range wireless communication protocols can help companies build intelligent solutions to reduce the hidden dangers of mines and transform the mining industry. IoT can help overcome the shortcomings of a traditional monitoring and control system while enabling organizations to establish a unified monitoring system for automating processes and hence provide a safe working environment and enforce compliance effectively.
With each passing hour, the Internet of Things is seen as an opportunity for an exponential transformation of the mining industry. Be it the productivity level that encompasses workforce safety, or the environment and sustainability; IoT provides a one-stop solution. Reaching new dimensions of efficiency through technological innovations is no more a dream hanging in the far lands for the mining companies. The intellectual IoT strategy has channelized the mining industry. GroundHog can provide your organization with a comprehensive mine digitization software that can help improve an end-to-end mine life cycle.
easy to use connected miner software.