March 8, 2017 | Written by: Hannah Merry
Categorized: Asset Management
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As the population continues to grow, there is increased pressure on the mining industry. Currently, 3.11 million pounds of minerals, metals and fuel are required by each person in their lifetime. The expectation for the next decade is that the Internet of Things will be used throughout the trade. The idea is that sensors generate a huge amount of raw data that is analysed in real time and translated into recommendable actions for equipment operators.
There are two key reasons for this: to improve performance and boost productivity, while eliminating unnecessary costs and waste, and being able to anticipate machinery failures. Known as the Industrial Internet of Things, factories and plants are seen covering their machinery with smarter, cheaper and smaller internet-connected sensors. So far, miners have recognised a number of important benefits which have occurred as a result.
1. Time saving
When it comes to developing and maintaining a mine site, IoT helps drastically. Data collected before the initial digging takes place, ensures the process is managed correctly, and with reduced risk. Some mining companies are already using driverless vehicles and experimenting with Autonomous Drilling Systems that can operate without human intervention. Operating around the clock, this allows products to be extracted and processed in shorter time-frames.
2. IoT improving safety
There are still prominent dangers in the mining industry, even though up to this point, technology has managed to eliminate some of them. IoT can help prevent the collapse of unstable shafts for example, because the sensors will pick up real time data, and predict the faulty equipment/where issues may occur, which allows for adjustments to be made before anything goes wrong.
3. Automation advances for mining
By having standalone products, i.e. vehicles and equipment work together, more data is collected, which can improve accuracy rates. IoT also allows mining companies to find the latest innovations, technology, and development trends to stay on top of the market. Combined, these create a seamless experience, making the overall job easier.
4. Predictive maintenance
Having a fully integrated network, monitoring every aspect of an operation becomes far easier, and only leads to greater productivity and safety. This includes detecting wear and tear on vital pieces of equipment, as well as projecting when repairs or maintenance is required.
5. Energy and cost benefits
As mentioned in each point above, investment in IoT reduces energy expenditure and maintenance cost for mining companies. By having a transparent system, where all parts are monitored, allows for a much more efficient process. As this continues to grow, the cost spent on workers will gradually reduce, allowing the industry to become more profitable.
To find out more about how IBM is helping the mining industry, visit our website.
This image was originally posted on the 13th March 2016, click here to view it at full size.