Most mines now have the ability to access some of their data in some ways, whether be in real-time, near real-time or manually. However, what the industry now calls the ‘Digital Mine’, defined by the installation of a variety of applications on-board the heavy mobile equipment and real-time access to the data they generate, often remains an option only available to larger operators.
Even for those operations, reliable real-time access to the machines’ critical data can remain a challenge caused both by a limitation in availability of access to all the data and an excessive amount of data travelling through the mine’s wireless network at any one time.
Access to the mobile equipment’s data can be available to all. We will discuss here some of the main challenges faced with data access and ways to address them.
The thought of upgrading your in-pit wireless network can be a bit daunting and nerve-wracking. Are you going to have to suffer through a fork-lift upgrade? What kind of downtime will be associated? Will that downtime be network wide, or only on a few items at a time?
A little planning, and the right technology choices can take all the fear and concern out of this significant event.
Increase of safety, productivity and decrease of overall machine downtime have been key drivers for digitalization in mining. This process has however a cost that may have limited or slowed down some miners in deploying technologies at their site, due to a challenge in calculating and predicting ROI.
The fact is that without a proper long term plan of your data requirements, your technology expenditure can be significantly higher than expected over the course of several years. An open computing platform can create a bridge for deployment of multiple technologies over a period of time, supporting migration to a Digital Mine cost effectively.
No matter the size of your operations, digitalization has become a requirement for any mine aiming at remaining competitive. The digital transformation process does however vary from mine to mine, and is influenced by a large number of factors including financial, environmental, operational and safety.
Autonomy can be seen as the ultimate level of a Digital Mine, where safety is increased and production is optimized. When the downtime cost of your equipment exceeds US$10,000/hour/fleet, success of the autonomous mine relies on successful deployment and ongoing management of your wireless network.
LTE offers good support for a multitude of applications over long distances, with some potentially significant advantages over Wi-Fi based solutions, particularly in the areas of interference and contention mitigation. However, there are still a number of challenges around meeting the demands of outdoor industrial real-time applications.
A hybrid LTE/Wi-Fi network may provide miners with the network their digital mine requires, especially as autonomy is more commonly deployed.
Between recent volatility of commodity prices and an increasingly competitive environment, real time visibility into mining operations through implementation of a ‘digital mine’ has become paramount. Almost every facet of mining operations has the ability to be digitally transformed, and the opportunity over the next decade is massive with almost all of the benefits tied to driving down cost per ton.
What some may forget however is that access to this data relies first and foremost on a reliable wireless network that has the ability to adapt as the mining operation changes, and supports the increasing amount of data required.
Over our last videos, we’ve tried to kill the Intelligent Endpoint without much success. So, we brought out the big guns – a Civil War replica Cannon.
Going back to our shooting range, we first shot the IEP from a cannon before badly hitting it with a cannon ball.
Watch the results.
If you have more test ideas, don’t hesitate to share them with us.
With a 20G shock resistance, the 3D-P Intelligent Endpoint is ruggedized and heavy! Many said it would make a great anchor. So, we listened to them and tried. Not only does it make a great anchor but also proved to be water resistant.
Check out the video.
Testing the ruggedness of the 3D-P Intelligent Endpoint (IEP), we have so far thrown the same device out of an airplane (4 times!) and driven onto it. The IEP was still perfectly working at the end of those two tests.
So, we took it to the rifle range and practiced our shooting skills. Let’s see if our testing unit can take a bullet.
The 3D-P Intelligent Endpoint® (IEP) was designed to survive the harshness of the mining environment. No doubt, it can survive being driven over by a truck? Let’s watch it in action.