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Our miner has been going about their business of getting product to their customers, and using the same tools and processes, for years. They aren’t a big operation, only a couple of diggers and ten trucks, so the idea of spending big on some hugely expensive FMS or Asset Health system just doesn’t seem to make sense. Now with the advent of smart Internet of Things (IoT) products and technologies, a technology rich future appears to be cost prohibitive and further out of reach to our small miner.
Actually, the opposite is true! Choosing the right technology can mean a gradual, and cost effective, way of introducing new technologies into mining operations. How does that work you may ask?
An outdated vision of the cost of IoT
Well, prior to some exposure to what these new products and technologies offer, our miner believed they had only one option – a once off capex purchase for the hardware and software for all of their fleet, and for a network that would allow connectivity across all mining operations. It’s a big 0 to 100 lift that miners like our small operation don’t have an appetite for due to the cost, and the additional management and risk that large change of this type causes.
What’s the alternative? The small, cost effective, incremental and scalable introduction of smart IoT technology that offers real returns, and quickly.
Leveraging Smart IoT for greater flexibility and ROI
Smart IoT technologies like our Intelligent Endpoint® (IEP), coupled with the correct choice of mining applications, can deliver on this in a number of ways:
• Low cost introduction
• Easy to manage targeted roll-out with quick returns
• Multiple opportunities to scale up at a rate that is affordable and manageable for smaller miners
1. Start with basic network coverage leveraging an edge computing platform
To start with, there is no need for a wireless network to cover all mining operations across your site. Edge compute devices like the IEP provide a store and forward mechanism that can be controlled in terms of where it uploads/downloads its data. A network for our small miner might consist of just one or two wireless access points at key locations on the site, preferably utilizing existing infrastructure; power and data.
2. Automate production data collection cost-effectively
Secondly, deploying IoT devices on your load and haulage fleet allows for the transmission of critical production data. One small miner using a paper-based system noted that the truck drivers record each circuit they do, multiplied by the total tonnage capacity of the truck. Productions supervisors then multiply the total fleet by the number of circuits times the total capacity to calculate daily, weekly and monthly production. He stated that they’re always out by 10,000 tons or more because loads were never fully optimized, which wasted effort and efficiencies across the business.
Having the real data, captured and presented automatically, saved precious time and made the work far more efficient than the paper-based method.
3. Monitor your fleet asset health with a third-party solution
Expanding the network over time allows for more real-time access to the production data, and adding edge devices to more fleet can also brings rewards in terms of asset health management.
Being able to quickly identify issues with vehicles before they become failures can turn an ROI almost instantly. A noticed change in gearbox oil temperature, acted upon quickly, can save $250,000 for the cost of a replacement.
4. Increase network coverage and applications over-time
With the incremental increases in network coverage and connected vehicles, our miner doesn’t have to stop there. They can choose to deploy other applications from multiple vendors while sharing data sources via the edge compute device.
As an example, numerous applications can access vehicle health data from a single source via serial port mirroring.
5. The result: An IoT solution that grows with your needs
Outside of the technical expansion available at a rate that our miner finds comfortable, the measured scaling up of the new technologies can occur at a speed that allows for proper management of change from a competency and cultural perspective. It gives our miner time to integrate new tech and new information within the organization, and ramp up the skills of their staff without losing sight of what has always been the prize – information that drives greater production for less cost.
To discuss your mine requirements and how 3D-P can help you implement a cost-effective IoT solution, contact us today.