Digital tools such as equipment health monitoring and process management are increasingly being applied to underground mines in an effort to continuously improve efficiencies.
Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions specialises in designing and implementing digital tools, with its AutoMine automation system currently operating on 59 mining sites globally, while its OptiMine suite of digital solutions is active on 66 connected sites. The My Sandvik customer portal, a Web-based digital hub, serves 214 sites and its Newtrax technology in wireless Internet of Things connectivity is operating on 115 sites.
Equipment health can be monitored using the My Sandvik digital services solution, which allows users to draw down telemetry data from equipment in real time. The data is automatically compiled into the required report format for analysis and response.
Sandvik explains that its Task Management and Scheduler system, part of its Optimine offering, allows a tablet to be fitted to an item of equipment so that an underground operator can accept tasks and provide real-time progress reports.
The solutions allow for data to be recorded on equipment’s key operations, such as the weight of loads in a loader bucket. Telemetry on the equipment gives insights into the equipment’s availability and performance, allowing for a focussed response.
“When starting digital journeys, the focus must be on improving current operations,” says Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions business line manager for automation and digitalisation, Niel McCoy. “This means getting work started on time, for instance, before moving onto optimisation efforts. Most digital implementations will battle if the starting point is trying to increase productivity before getting the basics right.”