“The next big boom in mining is going to be connecting a lot more ‘things’. There are going to be more wireless and mobile devices that will be able to be instrumented, sensed and controlled more effectively.”
SNCTechnoligies thinks the mining industry has a lot to gain with the ‘Internet of Things’ and the connectivity that IoT delivers. Mining operations around the world are on an automation curve – they are applying technologies to automate their key functions to gain efficiencies in production.
SNCTechnologies, Indonesia has been helping business enterprises couple the data produced and processes involved with the interaction of things-to-things and things with people. “What results is a powerful model upon which to drive the digitization and transformation of companies, industries and whole nations,” said SNCTechnologies president Ken Grant,
A significant number of mines have data locked away in individual systems but now want to federate that data together, instigate new processes, involving their people in new ways to achieve better outcomes. Mining generates big data because the number of sensors are growing rapidly and systems involved are becoming more intelligent, so the challenge ahead is to federate that data.
Productivity and safety are two key drivers in mining. Removing people from the mine site and into remote operating centers helps companies achieve both. By leveraging IoT technologies, the interaction between people, process, data and things can be securely and reliably monitored, modified and maintained remotely.
The ability to use standard Internet technologies, such as unmodified Ethernet, throughout, from the enterprise all the way down to individual field devices, enables new levels in connectivity, providing greater productivity, better utilisation of assets, and improved decision-making to industrial companies.
The complete mining operation, from pit to port, involves many functions with many specialist devices and equipment. Centralizing control allows mining operations to pool resources to optimize production and reduce costs.
Many mining systems that have been implemented to date have not been designed for this concept of integrated but outsourced services. We need to have these roles inside the integrated operations systems, yet others may actually perform them in a secure and controlled way. Through well designed IoT infrastructure, the ability for remote experts to analyse information and real time systems securely,” he said.
Leveraging A Unique Solution
SNCTechnologies can help its mining customers to bridge the gap between mining operations and business systems through network and security products, training courses, services and solutions.
By developing reference architectures for mining the customers risks are reduced. Developing full guides on how to facilitate convergence of information technology and operational technology customers do not have to do all the heavy lifting and have all the expertise themselves, yet still inherit the capabilities for safe, compliant and sustainable operations and performance.
Solutions are developed that leverage expertise in operational technology and combine this with the deep networking, data center and security capabilities.
The Next Wave Of Productivity
The IoT is taking the world by storm and opening new and exciting possibilities to businesses, government and industries. The mining sector also has much to gain from the benefits that IoT can provide, particularly in light of the current challenges.
Through IoT, mining operations can save energy, downtime and costs associated with production and transportation of resources. Remote operations remove people from potentially hazardous situations. The IoT provides the platform for the integration and optimisation of the entire supply chain.
The benefits that the IoT can deliver are most important because as a country Indonesia is not going to win on efficiency gains based on cheaper labor to drive down costs. “We need to use our expertise and knowledge of mining and automation systems to continually improve the most efficient and cost effective mining capability in the world”, says Grant.
Connecting People, Process, Data And Things Above And Below The Ground
Miners can established a new technology benchmarks by applying IoT technologies throughout the site capable of delivering the complete integrated solution. The central operations center utilizes IoT technologies and combines systems monitoring and control with remote equipment control and tracking.
The mine can deploy the latest advances in controls and communications, including comprehensive Wi-Fi communications for surface and underground phone, data, asset and personnel tracking; and a Radio Frequency Identification-based wireless tracking system, used to create ‘ventilation-on-demand’ underground.
Combining operational technology with networking and security capabilities provided the inherent flexibility for the mine to adapt to changing requirements in real time.
Using standard Ethernet components adds significant value in being able to combine control, safety, voice over IP, video, people tracking and also applications such as ventilation on demand.”
IoT technologies provide the capability to integrate and analyse data from various processes such as remote sensing of objects and the environment, images from cameras deployed for monitoring and maintenance, scheduling preventative maintenance procedures and monitoring power usage.
SNCTechnologies helps customers leverage technology to better gather and analyse data, and transform it into actionable, real time insightful information. By converging information technology (IT) with operational technology (OT) into a single unified architecture, mines can benefit from establishing a ‘Connected Enterprise’ and leveraging the power of this information to optimise operations and take their productivity to the next level,” explained Irvine.
Turning Big Data Into Meaningful Information
The next big boom in mining is going to be connecting a lot more ‘things’. There are going to be more wireless and mobile devices that will be able to be instrumented, sensed and controlled more effectively.
This results in a lot of data being generated that needs to be analyzed to generate useful information. Data needs to be intelligently captured, correlated and analyzed to optimize systems.
Not only does this data need to be captured and analyzed, but also to be available as useful information in real time so that the mine’s remote operating center can modify processes, asset utilization and maintenance to optimize production rates in relation to dynamic market demands. Through IoT, this next level of optimization can be achieved for a single mine or a federation of mines, rail and ports. IoT enables the digitization of the entire mining supply chain for optimization.
Original Source: Branko Miletic / Australian Mining
29 February 2016
Edited Version: SNCTechnologies
2 August 2016