IOT Innovations In The Mining Industry
We have seen IOT impact a great number of things in our life, from smart home automation to traditional financial services and banking.
21:51 16 July 2018
A key area where IOT is really making a difference is in the mining industry, where traditional processes are being transformed by offering real-time risk assessment, the opportunity to better analyse environmental data, and improvements in the efficiency of mining equipment. Here, we’re taking a closer look at how IOT is innovating the mining industry.
Improvements In Safety
Mining tends to occur in very extreme environments under exceptionally difficult conditions in many cases. As a result, safety of both the individuals who are mining and the equipment which is being used is paramount. IOT can play a significant role in maintaining the levels of safety for all parties involved in the mining process, with more in-depth environmental assessments to better understand all risks involved. Better site surveying can help to identify any unstable shafts or any areas of the mine which appear to be weakening as a result of operations, to therefore prevent injuries. Further to this, layouts of the mine can be further optimised, and vehicle paths can be coordinated more effectively than ever before, further improving the safety of both people and equipment.
Traditionally the mining industry will utilise a preventive maintenance approach which means that some mining companies can be faced with lengthy periods of downtime as some of their key equipment is repaired. Predictive maintenance on the other hand, utilises IOT and M2M to understand the status of each piece of equipment while it is in operation, therefore allowing businesses to have a better understanding of when parts will need to be changed and how long a life the vehicle will have left. This maintenance approach can understand temperature, pressure, vibration and speed that the vehicle or equipment is facing, can have a better understanding of maintenance history and even understand what the conditions of the mine are likely, including the weather, to determine how much of an impact this will have on the equipment’s existing status.
Real-time analytics is one of the key elements of IOT and this can have a significant impact on the mining industry. IOT allows mining companies to utilise visualisation tools to have a better understanding of the existing state of the mine and the entire worksite. Further to this, mining vehicles and equipment can have sensors integrated to better understand the area around them. This data can then be collected and transmitted remotely, and this will then form the basis of reports, maintenance schedules on the vehicles themselves, and to also provide teams with alerts on any issues which may arise – long before they actually do.
As you can see, IOT innovations have a huge amount of potential for the mining industry. With the ability to reduce equipment downtime through advanced warning of any maintenance which is required, and improvements in overall safety levels of both equipment and the people involved in the mining procedure.