In Australia, I have seen a bumper sticker that states “Without trucks Australia stops”. This statement is in reference to the important role that trucks play in the process of delivering the right freight from the right manufacturer to the right consumer efficiently and effectively throughout the entire country.
What does this have to do with mining I hear you ask?
Well if you substitute the word trucks with information and Australia with Mining you get: Without information mining stops.
All mines require electricity, fuel, water, people, etc. to power and operate the machines and processes found within a mining operation. However, now more than ever, information is also a critical item required by mining operations. Without information mining stops: being safe and secure; being sustainable; being productive and being profitable.
As a result, mining companies are looking to the information contained within their operations to find ways to improve safety and sustainability, to increase productivity and profitability and to help address the challenges facing them in the uncertain world we live in. No longer is information just a historical record of what has happened or a real time view of what is happening now. Information used in the right way can be a powerful weapon to assist mining companies achieve the results they are looking for.
The rapid increase in smart connected devices and the integration of the many different systems found across mining operations has resulted in a massive increase in the amount of information available. However, volume alone does not guarantee results. In order for a mining company to successfully benefit from the available information they must understand the where, who, what, when and how of the information they have.
Where – does the information come from and how to ensure that it is trusted and validated.
Who – are the various people who require the information.
What – information is required by each individual.
When – do these individuals require this information.
How – to get the information to the individuals and in what format it is required.
This is where mining companies need solutions that extend across the entire domain of their operations – from the devices in the field through to the software solutions which span the entire supply chain.
It’s about being able to move the information from the field to all levels of operations quickly and efficiently while maintaining trust and validity. Openness is important here to allow the integration of many individual systems found across the mining operation. Software applications ensure that the right information is getting to the right person at the right time. And beyond this, it is important to understand the way in which the value contained within the available information can be enriched and fully realised to deliver the maximum benefit for a company in the mining sector.
How do you think using the information within your operations can be beneficial?
Pieter van Schalkwyk
10 years ago
Michael, great summary in your blog post. Information has become as important for mining, oil & gas, manufacturing and construction as it is for more IT oriented industries like banking and insurance.
Gartner calls this “Intelligent Business Operations” and it is really a convergence of OT (operational technology), IT (information technology) and BPM (business process management) to maximize asset utilization and reduce costs.
This happens in a number of ways but in terms of your blog post, how valuable is it to have mining equipment log their performance and state on a near real-time basis and to be able to define exceptions that trigger a business process to an operator to get a task to respond to? This task does not only provide real-time access to device to fine-tune settings or shut it down for safety reasons, but is also includes BI (business intelligence) information for the operator to make better decisions faster. It can advise “best next actions” based on optimization filters that look to improve efficiencies and reduce cost.
The smarter devices and equipment that is out there today have the ability to provide so much real-time information that the real challenge will be to consume and process it in such as way that it adds value rather than just add more work.
Information in mining will provide the competitive advantage that the smarter companies will have.
7 years ago
We recently published an article on LinkedIn advising that without innovation, mining stops. But information is just as important, so we appreciate the points you raise in this article.