Around the world, we see lots of hype and interest in applying digital technology to mining operations. We work with many clients to help them identify opportunities to extract value from new technology. Based on what we’re hearing and seeing, we have identified a few key areas where technology can change the game in the short term.
SHORT INTERVAL CONTROL AT THE FRONTLINE
We now have the ability to get real-time management information to the supervisor at a mine, plant, maintenance, rail, or port. (What did the operation do in the last hour? How are we doing this shift, so far? Are we going to make the target?)
By deploying some simple tools, either with sensors on equipment or data entry on eForms on phones or tablets, real-time management has the potential to deliver 10-20% increases in productivity. We would always recommend that SIC solutions be aligned against the most important economic levers in the business, but it doesn’t take deep economic analysis to identify areas of your business that are bottlenecks.
There are some challenges in deployment, specifically, connectivity. While most indoor facilities are easily wired, underground deployment can be challenging, particularly if the headings in a mine keep advancing (the way we expect they should).
The more pervasive challenges are how to leverage the potential information wave that could be delivered:
- Which KPIs make sense with real time information?
- What frequency of data update makes sense to drive actions?
- How do the supervisors manage in a world where they can see priorities rather than being slave to a “milk round”?
- Managing when the decision making occurs in a remote center?
- What training programs should be provided?
This is a fundamental change in the job of the supervisor – you need to manage it.
Want to learn more about extracting value from new technology in mining? Read the full blog: http://blog.pipint.com/digital-disruption/five-ways-to-get-value-from-digital-in-mining-today