This is the second in a series of blogs about Internet of Things in Mining created by Vimal Gaba Director- Industry Business Unit, Mill Products and Mining, SAP Labs India andIndranil Som, Sr. Principal – Industry Value Engineering, Mill Products & Mining, SAP India

 

In the first article: link –  we talked about how one of the biggest emerging and promising digital trends for mining is Internet of things (IoT) which is essentially about connection of machines, objects and devices at a sensor level and combination of data from different sources to build newer insights and improve processes.  And we discussed some opportunities and potential application areas such as:

  • Mining Operations
  • Asset Maintenance
  • Commodity Supply Chain
  • EH&S

 

In this second article – we will review in a bit more detail IoT scenarios in play at mines today.

 

Internet of Things

A promising concept for Mining Industry

 

 

Some high impact IoT scenarios and examples for Mining

 

Let’s take a bit deeper look at the some scenarios where the concept of IoT could make a significant difference and add tremendous value for Mining industry

Predictive Maintenance of Assets with IoT….

 

For Mining companies, one of the key performance indicators is asset uptime. Hence, prevention of equipment failure becomes crucial where the concept of IoT can play a major role. Sensors today can detect the status of the equipment (like temperature, pressure, vibrations, speed) wherever it is and using the data collected from the M2M sensor along with other data such as maintenance history etc , IoT based applications can be built to predict equipment failures before they occur.  Simultaneously spare parts can be ordered in advance without requiring expensive express shipping that is spent when equipment fails without warning.

 

According to an ARC Advisory Group Strategy Report, 60% of respondents to a recent survey cited reduced machine or asset downtime as a primary initial driver for considering an IoT solution. Using machine sensors to monitor real-time environmental and performance indicators, today companies can perform maintenance activities even before problems arise (Source: Chantal Polsonetti, Industrial Internet of Things Survey Results Part 1: Motivations and Expectations, ARC Advisory Group Strategy Report, August 2014)

 

Remotely Monitored Mining Operations Using IoT

Mining Operations controlled from Remote Monitoring Centers is another important area of application of IoT technology in Mines. Such connected and remote operations is helping in making mining jobs not only more efficient but also safer. From an efficiency perspective, all operations can be tracked and monitored in real time from thousands of Kilometers away with connectivity to even trigger necessary remotely controlled corrective and preventive actions. From a safety perspective eg to prevent fatal accidents during which a worker inadvertently comes in the path of the heavy mining equipment, the equipment often incorporates location/proximity sensors and warning technology, such as GPS, and Radio Frequency locating devices (on both personnel and equipment) to ensure the worker safety.

 

As an example in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, Rio Tinto has been using autonomous, self-driving mining trucks since 2008. Fifty-three massive Komatsu driverless mining trucks navigate routes and respond to local conditions using over 200 sensors on the truck, GPS, and a radar guidance system. Rio Tinto’s driverless trucks have driven almost 3 million miles and hauled nearly 250 million tons of ore. The trucks are connected wirelessly and overseen by controllers in Rio Tinto’s operations center in Perth over a thousand miles away. Rio Tinto’s ‘Mine of the Future’ vision includes not just automated haulage and drilling but also automated mining operations, remote monitoring of mining operations and processing plants, condition monitoring of stockpiles, computer-optimized flotation tanks (for extracting minerals), and autonomous trains, all controlled by centralized operations (Source: http://www.riotinto.com/ironore/mine-of-the-future-9603.aspx)

 

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Connected Logistics at Mine Site

Another area for IoT application is connected logistics at Mine site, which can help keep track of everything that is happening with the vehicles moving in a mining location. All operational data pertaining to truck movement – route taken, running time, speed, tyre pressure, fuel consumption, emission – can be tracked at a central control station based on which the logistics and operations can be optimized.  This not only enables remote monitoring of vehicle health and operational data, but also provides real-time transparency into movements. This can help optimize traffic and shrink waiting times while improving the vehicle maintenance and reducing emission levels for greater environmental impact.

 

A related example for this is Essar Projects, which used the concept of IoT to bring its entire 3,700-vehicle fleet management process online. GPS and RFID systems are used to monitor equipment movement, fuel levels and consumption, and all associated transactions. Annually, Essar is saving 5% on maintenance and 10% on fuel costs. (Source: Information Week, “Automation of Fuel Management Process Gives Essar Projects Significant www.informationweek.in/informationweek/casestudy/286605)

 

 

The global Mining and Metals industry is going to come together to talk more about IoT and other digitalization trends impacting these industries July 12-14 at the International SAP Conference for Mining and Metals in Frankfurt, Germany. Click here or below to find out more and register. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet with world leaders and learn how your organization can become a connected, digital enterprise.

 

Follow who is coming and speaking and pre-event activities by following sapmmconf and @sapmillmining on Twitter

 

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