Innovation is essential for every industry. The world is constantly changing and no industry or business can afford to be left behind. One of the biggest drivers of change is technology – things such as the Internet of Things (IoT) are pushing boundaries and transforming industries, including the mining sector.
How is the Internet of Things changing the mining sector? What are the positive effects it has had and what kind innovation has been the driving force? Here is a look at the sector and how the Internet of Things is affecting it.
To understand how the Internet of Things is changing and innovating the mining industry, you have to understand how it works. The Internet of Things is essentially aboutconnecting objects like computing machines and appliance to the Internet. As these different technologies and things are connected, it creates a huge network of things – increasing the presence of data.
The Internet of Things is not just for big industries and giant corporations. The technology can be implemented in your home with things like smart appliances, for example. You can find exciting offers on technology through OZCodes to add this exciting opportunity to your home or small business.
What about the mining industry in particular? How can the Internet of Things improve and change the mining industry? The main transforming feature of it is how the increased data and connectivity can improve safety and productivity. Because the Internet of Things means connecting different equipment with the people working in the mines, there can be much better understanding of what is happening. The technology and connectivity will boost efficiency and the flow of information – all of which can help with productivity and safety.
As a result of this type of innovation, mining companies can also see their bottom lines improved. Better safety and enhanced productivity will improve the growth of these companies and this in turn will improve the profits the companies make. It isn’t any wonder most major organisations from Rio Tinto to BHP Billiton are implementing and using the Internet of Things in their mining operations around the world.
So, what about the concrete benefits? The Internet of Things has seen the most innovation in the following six key areas:
The automation of the operation and maintenance of equipment. The Internet of Things has improved how machines and equipment can be operated, leading to an automated process where the management of the equipment can happen remotely. This can also improve the maintenance, as information about the condition of the machines is constantly collected and analysed.
The standardisation of the mining processes. The data available and the automation of much of the processes have created a much more standardised mining procedures. Companies can build better business models and agile operations without wasting many resources.
The introduction of real-time data and analysis of the data. Big benefit and driver of the innovation is naturally the fact that the Internet of Things provides real-time data. Companies and employees don’t have to wait for the data to come through and then be analysed. Both things happen simultaneously and this will speed up most processes - vehicles can have sensors to alert to differences in the ground or its tires and geological data can be collected from inside the mines. This will provide real-time data and analysis which ensures companies react to issues immediately and not with a delay.
The improved safety of people and equipment. All of the above will help with the safety of the mining operations. The different sensors used can ensure equipment and people are constantly monitored and anomalies are picked up before they create dangerous conditions. You are able to collect data on anything from the geology of the mine to the employee’s wellbeing.
Predictive rather than preventive processes. Overall, the Internet of Things has the power to make all mining-related operations predictive rather than just preventive. You are not looking to prevent things from happening but predicting the exact processes – this will help improve productivity and safety. The Internet of Things doesn’t just collect information from the equipment and the people working in the mine, but it will also collaborate with weather data and even economic models to ensure mining procedures are the most efficient at any time.
As the above shows, the Internet of Things has the power to transform the mining industry. The transformation is also for the better. Companies will benefit from better productivity and growth. But the miners themselves will also enjoy better safety procedures and more efficient work routines. In addition, the Internet of Things can help with sustainability – it allows the procedures to designed to have the least harmful effect on the environment.
Overall, it’s important for mining companies to understand the benefits of the Internet of Things. The changes are inevitable and anyone who doesn’t get on board will lose out and become obsolete in the world of mining.