The Australian mining industry has been a key contributor to the growth of fatigue-monitoring technology provider SmartCap Technologies. SmartCap CEO Tim Ekert says that Covid-19’s impact on other key markets has further reinforced Australia’s importance to the company’s growth.
“SmartCap has been growing a local base in Australia, and I expect this to continue in the coming years. We have had particular success in servicing the coal and iron-ore industry over the past year.”
The company develops solutions that assist mining employees in managing their fatigue to ensure employee safety. One such solution is the Life product, which is a wearable product developed using electroencephalography.
The product includes a LifeBand Device, which an employee wears on his/her head to “ensure comfort, which is vital, as continued user acceptance is always a key component of any successful implementation”, Ekert explains.
The LifeBand device connects with the LifeApp, which provides real-time monitoring of and issues alerts for an employee’s fatigue levels.
Ekert states that the key benefit of the Life product is the elimination of incidents caused by fatigue, thereby enhancing safety, as well as overall productivity because of a lack of incident-related stoppages.
“The early warning nature of our system puts information in employees’ hands so that they can proactively manage their fatigue. The SmartCap Life product also produces data, which can be analysed to determine trends and crucial areas for intervention and support.”
He adds that this technology is applicable to all driving situations at or around a mine site, including haul trucks and passenger buses, as well as the managing of employees who are travelling between sites in light vehicles.
Further, the company has made several iterative changes to the hardware and software of the Life product in the past 12 to 24 months.
He explains that these changes have delivered an improved operator experience and provided more “actionable insights” for customers.
“We have an exciting technology roadmap planned for the future and will continue to regularly release new versions with additional features and improvements.”
The company has also developed a remote installation, training and support programme to continue servicing project sites remotely. This is in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which Ekert says has resulted in an inability to travel to sites for new installations and customer support.
He notes that implementing changes in management activities and training of the user base are a vital part of the installation process that is typically completed through face-to-face interaction on site. The remote programme has allowed these processes to continue.
“Our goal is to continue to grow and provide ongoing value for customers. In the short term, I believe this growth will come from Australia, but I also expect to add new customers in Africa over the next year. We also have some new technical developments that we plan to bring to market in the new year,” he concludes.