Data is the core of the digital mine. One of my first projects in mining was catching haul trucks during shift changes, at fuel islands, and in the truck shops. I would download the asset health data from the machine onto a laptop, then take that data back into the office, and import it into our database. I’d spend as much time as I could with the mechanics in the shop, the maintenance planners, and the dispatchers, trying to understand challenges and listen to stories of frustration that seemed to be frequently repeated. I’d take those stories back to the database and try to find the data that would help us understand those challenges, and any triggers or tales that may be told by the data.
We had a couple of really good success stories from those early efforts. In one study, we were able to graph brake temperatures in correlation to the selected gear and retarder settings on the truck. Then, presenting that information during tailgate meetings with operators, we were able to educate on the proper operating procedure for that mine, and that particular haul. The result was a fantastic savings in brakes as well as direct and measurable improvement in availability and productivity for the mine!
The digital mine has come a long way from those early days. That data is now available in real-time. The analytics packages available make those early attempts seem trivial. But the data itself is still the key.
Accessing your data without the clutter
Today’s challenges to the digital mine revolve around technology clutter, or just the sheer number of systems that we want to run on those machines. Enabling all those on-board systems access to the on-board data, and making the resulting data from all those systems available over a wireless network can be challenging, particularly when real-time access is required.
In the office we utilize networking tools such as VLAN’s, firewalls, and Quality of Service (QoS) to manage the data on our networks. We manage and share our hardware through virtual machines and application hosting. We need the same capabilities on the on-board networks of the trucks, shovels and other machines in order to increase capability and efficiency.
Accessing your data through shared on-board resources
Beyond the requirements for a rugged device capable of withstanding the environment while providing the required networking and computing power, there are additional challenges to on-board application hosting and network access. For instance, on-board a haul truck, there may be several applications that require access to on-board resources such as GPS receivers, or asset health system ports.
Sharing those resources requires an on-board device with the capability to provide port mirroring; ensuring each downstream application that needs access to the resource is able to get that data, without modification of that application by its third party vendor. That application needs to behave as if it has the sole access to the resource it is expecting.
Prioritizing access to your data
Network access is another challenge to data access. The applications running on the truck aren’t always designed with requirements of the other on-board applications in mind. This can lead to applications competing for access to the limited resources of the wireless network. Advanced QoS tools can utilize geofences or time rules to limit access to the network for certain applications in areas or time frames where the data may not be necessary, storing that data for transfer at a more appropriate location or time.
Accessing your data made simple with the 3D-P Intelligent Endpoint
These challenges aren’t always front and center when a mine determines to take advantage of a new technology. They typically don’t show up during limited field trials, but during go-live, and as the project begins to scale. At this point they become painfully apparent, resulting in project delays and failures of other technologies that may have run fine for years.
The 3D-P Intelligent Endpoint® includes the hardware capability to host or network multiple applications. Additionally, our iep-suite of integration tools reside on the Endpoint, providing port sharing, advanced geo-fence based Quality of Service, time and geo-stamping of collected data, store and forward and a host of other solutions that are designed to solve these resource sharing and network access management issues, simply and efficiently.
The iep-suite reduces the barrier to entry for these new technologies, simplifying deployment, and enabling the miner to quickly realize the benefits of the new technology without the growing pains often associated with implementation and integration of new systems on-board the equipment and on the network.
To learn more about how 3D-P simplifies your digital mine, contact us today.