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MINExpo 2016 Review: technology

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World Coal,

While the show still featured much by way of heavy equipment, much of the buzz was around technology solutions for the mining industry with the development of ‘smart iron’ a key theme – as shown most notably with Hitachi’s AHS.

Technology also played a integral roll on the stands of Caterpillar and Joy Global as both OEMs sought to establish themselves in the technology space. Joy Global, for example, rolled out its JoySmart Solutions across its stand, integrating service, technology and equipment. Caterpillar meanwhile introduced an update to its MineStar Terrain system, covering grading, drilling and loading, while also launching proximity detection and object detection systems for MineStar Detect.

Also jumping into the intelligent mining space, GE Mining unveiled its Digital Mine suite of technologies. Powered by Predix™, its cloud-based operating system for the industrial internet, Digital Mine combines machine sensors, connectivity, data capture, visualisation and analytics to support management of an asset's lifecycle.

“Mining, as an industry, faces strong headwinds and must drive productivity and improve operational savings. Digital Mine, through advanced sensor technology and analytics, seizes the industry’s untapped data to help make a difference,” said Scott Phillips, Vice President and CEO of GE Mining. “As we’re doing successfully for the rail industry, we’re using our industrial internet mindset to actively monitor and diagnose equipment and operations to improve assets, maximise efforts, boost fuel efficiency and lower costs.” FLANDERS announced the expansion of its FREEDOM open-architecture platform to enable the use of commercially available off-the-shelf products, improve machine monitoring and expedite troubleshooting through a common graphical interface. The FREEDOM platform – which plays up its ability to “unshackle” companies from proprietary OEM control components and thus bring “new life to existing equipment” – is available for draglines, drills, haul trucks, shovels and underground coal transporters.

The company also introduced INVISION, an inspection-based predictive and preventative maintenance solution. According to the company, INVISION provides intuitive insight into a machine’s health by using complex algorithms to define the remaining life of components, limit downtime, control costs and minimise safety and environmental risks, while achieving maximum productivity. By using the INVISION software platform, analysed data becomes actionable data and is visible to all levels of an organisation as displayed through a colour-coded visual health presentation. Same day results allow maintenance personnel to quickly prioritise and schedule maintenance activities.

Cummins also entered the technology race with its Data Enabled Mining Solution. This prognostic capability allows Cummins to monitor engines and deliver accurate, real-time operating information, enabling a quicker and more focused response to potential issues. The solution ultimately allows miners to lower TCO by extending engine life, preventing catastrophic failures and decreasing unplanned maintenance expense.

The Cummins Data Enabled Mining Solution operates over cellular networks, and, in the near future, satellite communications systems. The system is able to stream real-time, high-frequency data which, when coupled with support from the expertise in its solutions centre, allows continuous monitoring of the entire fleet.

On the planning and scheduling front, Deswick launched Deswick.OPS, its new operational shift planning and tracking tool. The system enables production planners to rapidly create detailed, activity-based shift plans directly from the less detailed shorter-term schedules. Longer-term schedules can also be imported to ensure the shift schedule remains on track with the organisation’s longer-term goals.

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