Epiroc has signed a cooperation agreement with leading communications technology provider Ericsson to jointly help mining companies achieve optimal wireless connectivity in their operations through Long Term Evolution (LTE) and 5G technologies.
Key advantages of LTE and 5G solutions compared with other wireless solutions include better coverage, higher reliability and stronger security, especially when machines are in the same area and share information, according to Epiroc.
The technology, which is for both underground and open-pit mines, has already been tested on Epiroc’s machines at the company’s test mine in Kvarntorp, Sweden, with further testing scheduled before providing solutions to customers.
Epiroc said: “Mining companies are increasingly seeking to digitalise and automate their operations to increase productivity, enhance operator safety and lower cost. This includes, for example, remotely operating machines from a control room, and collecting machine performance data to optimise use of the equipment.”
All of this creates a need for reliable, high-performance wireless connectivity at the mines, it said.
Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s Senior Executive Vice President Mining and Infrastructure, said the mining OEM is happy to team up with Ericsson so that its mining customers can get the most reliable and high-performing wireless connectivity possible.
“This is a crucial step in our ongoing work to ensure mining customers reap all the benefits, including higher productivity and better safety, made possible by digitalisation and automation,” she said.
Åsa Tamsons, Ericsson’s Senior Vice President and Head of Business Area Technologies & New Businesses, said cellular technology and the introduction of 5G is critical to realising the full value of digitalisation and automation “for smart industries”.
“By combining our expertise in connectivity and Epiroc’s cutting-edge technology in mining equipment, we will be able to ensure stable and secure mining operations, leading to increased utilisation, improved productivity and reduced costs.”
This connectivity tie-up follows a recently-signed agreement between Sandvik and Nokia to further develop solutions for private LTE and 5G technology.