Increased mining productivity using digital tools
A digital journey towards increased mining productivity starts with a communication network as the foundation. Modern technology simply requires modern communication. With a communication network commissioned, the mine has taken a serious first step to digitalization. Now values can be generated from investments in digital tools that enable new ways of working.
By using asset tracking it is possible to use the IT infrastructure to give a position accuracy good enough to implement lots of important use-cases: finding your equipment, finding semi-stationary items, finding the closest route to a pump station and saving people in danger. Just to mention a few examples.
Figure 1: Asset tracking using Mobilaris Situational Awareness
Control and optimize the shift
With a communication network IT infrastructure in place, it is possible to implement Short Interval Control effectively in your mine. In order to react on the compliance to plan and handle exceptions during the shift we need to be aware of the situation in real-time or at least in near real-time. Today, this may be implemented using radio contact between the mine workers and the control room. In order to take a lot of heat from the control room operator, minimizing the radio traffic is important. With a digital tool connected to the network, the equipment operators can handle the reporting by themselves. Not only will it limit the radio traffic, but it will be more accurate coming directly from the responsible source of information. The control room operator can focus on the problem areas, create service tickets on-the-fly and replan during the shift.
New roles and increased engagement in the digital mine
The underground shift team can play a more important role in the digital mine. When all mine workers have the ability to use the decision support system that previously was exclusive to a few, the team can solve lots of issues without any central involvement. The team members can share information on digital platforms and can get live updates of KPIs for the current shift increasing the overall transparency.
The control room operator still serves an important role in the digital mine. Now as the central problem solver that can focus on saving the shift based on information sent digital from various sources in real-time.
Figure 2: Mobilaris Operator Client mounted inside the cockpit
When the shift is finished, the information is already stored in the system. Shift reports can be generated automatically with no need of manual input. Deviation reports with reported machine breakdown, failed machine checklists and mining delays can be used as input to create maintenance and service activities, inventory lists can be updated automatically, and payments roll are always up to date.
Time utilization models for various resources can be used to identify time waste. What is the overall heading utilization? Which machines are not used to their full potential, and why? What are the main reasons for mining delays and machine breakdowns? How much time is wasted on refueling during the shift? The time-waste can now be prioritized based on occurrence and time-duration and action can be taken to lower the probability or decrease the duration of the stop.
Figure 3: Time Utilization Model
Figure 4: Heading utilization
Figure 5: Equipment Utilization
Leading the change
Digital tools give value when they are used, for this a change management process is needed. Define your use-cases, prioritize these and start with the most important. Involve a few persons before introducing new functionality and processes to all involved. In this way you can use the feedback and improve the process if needed.
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Read more about how to increase mining productivity: mobilaris.se/productivity