IoT is Significantly Altering Mining Supply Chains

There is no doubt about the fact the mining industry is suffering quite a blow—the price of commodities such as iron ore, coal and copper are plummeting and statistics forecast a consistent slump in the future. In this gloomy atmosphere, both small and large-scale operators are counteracting consistent decline in prices with predictable measures, which is shutting down mining operations, halting capital projects and cancelling the purchase of essential equipment.

Not to mention there is a significant decline in cash, which is being squirreled away with workforces being redundant by the thousands. Only the most bold and optimistic of operators and companies are braving this environment, seeking redundant assets and scaling the industries, battling the market’s negative sentiment.

Say Hello to Technology
In the center of this industrial turmoil, an intense and gradual technological platform is taking shape both over and under the ground. After all, you have to understand that mining isn’t going to stop. However, unlike the traditional methods of mining, which no doubt consisted of a heavy workforce, the mining of today is slowly becoming ground-breaking, sparking a technological revolution in this industry. The age of digital mining is slowly but surely compelling mining corporations to switch from prototypes as well as pilot projects, heading to the mines.

A majority of companies still have a hard battle to fight when it comes to forcing profound alterations upon all elements and components involved in their operations, but there is no question that companies still display the will and a steadfastness to getting there no matter what. Automation and innovative system integration have exceptionally provided for way to significantly reduce the cost of operations, which is something that mining corporations cannot turn a blind eye to even in the event of falling prices and increasing costs of production.

How IoT Can Help
The IoT (Internet of Things) is a juicy concept for them, but only a handful of companies are prepared to adopt and adapt to the IoT revolution. Most argue with their financial managers to compel them to loosen their understandably tightened grip on the budget. But, where do you see IoT in this industry? The answer: transportation. Humongous trucks don’t need to be driven by a human anymore, and can instead be controlled remotely via joystick.
Similarly, unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) can be employed to track and monitor surface operations, indulge in analytical measurements to gauge performance, locate necessary equipment for ground operations, and act as safety officers.

Innovative ground machinery can be manned remotely, riddled with sensors, smart actuators and communications modules to operate without the need for a physical presence of a human.

Spending your Truck Loads of Information
Unmanned equipment both in the sky and on the ground are equipped with sensors that can measure the operational efficiency of the machines, calculate environmental variables and store and collect big amounts of data. While the amount of the data has exponentially increased, a majority of companies do not have a clue as to how they should utilize this wealth in the most efficient and effective of manner. However, most corporations use this wealth of data to predict maintenance necessities, to prevent malfunctions and accidents, and track environmental compliance.

The companies who have efficiently utilized these massive amounts of data are indeed at the forefront of this innovative revolution.

Mining corporations that have utilized their solutions have seen a slash in long term costs operations and production when it comes to processing ores, keeping a track on energy consumption, and adding more durability and longevity to mining machineries and equipment.

Their ability to efficiently transform sensor data into optimized data or plan still lacks the gap between the entirety of the systems that play a vital role in mining supply chains. After processes like crushing, piling and washing equipment, they still need to transport the materials to a final destination.

This is where linking communications between planning and scheduling between the mines, the processing plants, ports, transportation vehicles and railways becomes incredibly complex. And this means increased costs of production for mining companies.

Intelligence between Communicating Machines
The IoT is all about sustaining and sparking intelligently intricate communication between two machines in order to give birth to a bunch of machine-made decisions. For example, just think about the transport train getting a heads-up about the weather being bad or that it will slow down operations – and that it should delay the transport. The train upon delaying its operation communicates this to the loading equipment.

The Bottom Line
Being a bit far from this, at this point of time all that we can do is discuss ideas, concepts, automate scores of operation and define opportunities through testing projects. But this won’t last for long. There will come a time when a company or a group of companies, which don’t have to necessarily be big – will make a move to shift their operations to IoT, and whoever doesn’t will find themselves behind.