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Over the years, I’ve had several customers who were looking for network enhancements explain to me the value of the data they pull from their fleet equipment. While in most cases, hardware failure of a radio or computer on-board a truck or a shovel doesn’t prevent that equipment from moving ore, it certainly brings to a rapid halt the collection of the critical data associated with that activity.
Missing those loads in the productivity counts for the shift isn’t an option. In my customers’ view, that application data was just as critical as the physical material moved.
Production data access for all
I think the criticality of this data isn’t really anything new. Prior to going digital, these same mines were utilizing pencil and paper, and two-way radios to capture this production data. However, the digital mine has increased their productivity, both through increased utilization, as well as better accounting for the work done.
It’s exciting to me that these same productivity increases made available by the Digital Mine are available today even to smaller operators, with more limited technology budgets. Depending on the mine operators’ needs and capabilities, there is a large variety of options available making the digital mine a reality to operations of all sizes.
In its simplest form, digital productivity monitoring can be performed without any operator intervention, through data collectors on-board which pass that productivity data into an office side database, and periodic canned reports being provided to management. These simple monitors can provide items such as payload, cycle times, loading times, load counts, as well as other performance and productivity monitoring items, completely headless.
Production data access without additional wireless requirements
This data can even be provided with limited to no additional wireless infrastructure deployed at site. For example, some mines may be able to collect this data on-board and send it to the office via an available consumer LTE connection. It may also be collected throughout the day and dropped to the office when the equipment travels past a single Wi-Fi hotspot.
At 3D-P, we even have a feature we call our “postman”, which allows a haul truck, or supervisor vehicle, to automatically connect to and collect all pertinent data from remote devices such as shovels, etc. when in their vicinity, and then bring that data back to the office and dump it via an office, maintenance yard, or fuel island based hotspot.
More than one way to access your production data
The next simple step up for the Digital Mine may be a productivity monitoring system that includes operator screens to allow simple input of critical information, such as break times, safety checklist items, and even some controlled messaging from the office, all improving quality of the data collected and enhanced communication.
All these Digital Mining productivity increases are fully available to an operator long before they are ready for a full blown Fleet Management System. The data is there and in all cases, the Digital Mine allows it to be captured and utilized to increase production.
To learn more about 3D-P’s real time data collection solution, contact us today.