Tag Archives: 6th Sense

Epiroc Canada launches RAC Teams, Control Tower to aid mining’s digital transformation

Epiroc Canada, adapting to changing technological trends in the mining sector, has introduced Regional Application Center (RAC) teams to, it says, assist in the industry’s new digital transformation.

“Across the board, mining projects are continually pushing for increased production while prioritising safety,” the company said. “With this in mind, Epiroc has assembled specialised automation and digitalisation support systems in strategic locations across the globe to help improve customer processes and boost productivity.”

The result, Epiroc says, is a heightened level of production that keeps workers out of danger zones on site while providing enhanced strategic direction for customers. Interoperability improvements have reduced variability and allow project planners to move towards their targets with renewed confidence.

Martin Champagne, Application Center Manager at Epiroc Canada, said: “Our RAC team gives new perspectives on achieving efficiency for the organisations we partner with. The team itself utilises members from a wide range of disciplines; from data analysts and project engineers to network specialists, software developers, IT specialists and digital product managers – the support system is always available when customers need it.”

Epiroc’s Canadian Customer Center has successfully applied this technology since the late 1990s, when the RCS Rocket Boomers with advanced boom controls and autodrill features were first introduced. In 2005, Canadian operations implemented one of the first Epiroc Scooptram Radio Remote Controls using long-range Bluetooth technology; 2009 for the first fleet of semi-autonomous Epiroc Scooptram implementations; 2012 for the first fleet of Pit Viper 235s with tele-remote systems; and 2019 for the first SmartROC D65 autonomous drill.

With Epiroc’s 6th Sense offering, the shift towards automation, digitalisation and interoperability is already underway, and the Regional Application Centers work collaboratively with many industry partners across the globe to achieve their goals, Epiroc said.

It added: “While working together with customers, Epiroc has initiated the move from machine autonomy to process autonomy, which consists of automating a complete process and allowing different kinds of equipment to communicate with each other effectively.”

To help support these functions, a newly renovated Control Tower located at Epiroc’s Lively, Ontario facility now acts as a home base for the RAC team, who are continually collecting data and developing innovative techniques to improve performance.

“Customers utilising this service for their projects can now turn their focus to other areas of the business with the knowledge that Epiroc’s team of experts are carefully monitoring progress on site and offering solutions in real time,” Epiroc concluded.

Epiroc and Combitech continue to break new ground in mine automation

After three years of collaboration, Epiroc and Combitech’s traffic management solution for autonomous loaders at underground mines is coming to fruition.

In 2017, Epiroc and Combitech started to work on this technological leap. Together, they have combined technology from Epiroc and SAAB’s civilian product portfolio with knowledge of the way traffic management is to be systematised and developed.

At the end of the same year, a prototype, or ‘proof of concept’, was delivered and evaluated in Epiroc’s test mine outside Örebro, Sweden.

Eighteen months later, in spring 2019, the solution was installed and used at an Australia gold mine.

This solution is called Epiroc Scooptram Automation Total and is included in Epiroc’s 6th Sense offering.

“This solution, in which autonomous machines can perform complete assignments and interact with each other in a shared area, is much sought after within the mining industry,” Robert Raschperger, Consultant for Epiroc and Combitech’s Product Development Manager, said. “It is a matter of being able to create an even flow of material, avoid locking between machines in production and move employees away from an unsafe environment.”

The solution’s driver is a proprietary module known as the Traffic Management System (TMS). It allows machines to share roads, service locations and loading and dumping sites without collisions or locking events.

The module is generic inasmuch as it is applicable to other autonomous solutions, whereby machines, drones and trucks are able to independently perform pre-defined tasks, eg travelling from point ‘a’ to point ‘b’, and depositing a load.

Epiroc’s strategy is an “open automation system” that means other machine manufacturers can be integrated into the solution, such as integrating a remotely operated MacLean water cannon into the Epiroc automation fleet at Newcrest Mining’s Cadia East operation in New South Wales, Australia.

As well as the TMS module, there is the Fleet Management System (FMS) to automate assignment and resource management so that the mine operator can focus on the work to be performed, eg transporting 1,600 t from point ‘a’ and dumping it at point ‘b’. The system decides which machines to be used, when they should operate and which routes they should take.

The FMS module is based on the SAFE (Situational Awareness For Enhanced security) platform, which has been developed within the SAAB group.

The TMS and FMS modules are integrated into the mine’s overall production management, so work orders are received, implemented and reported in order of priority, while, at the same time, the system attends to other machinery and parts of the production flow, eg ore crushers and ore transportation systems.

Mattias Pettersson, Global Portfolio Manager Loaders, Epiroc’s Underground division, said: “Interoperability and openness have been key words in the development of Epiroc’s automation system and, thanks to this, the collaboration with a partner like Combitech has also worked extremely well.

“Besides the technical advancements made and the new functions, which we have succeeded to develop in record time, I’m almost more impressed with our collaboration and partnership. The future of digitalisation and automation development depends on our success in integrating different systems – where collaboration between people and organisations is just as vital as the technical aspects.”

Raschperger added: “A key to our success is that our team has different skillsets. Some of us are good at traffic-management logic, ie sending data and coordinating traffic patterns. Others are good at acquainting themselves with end-user problems, work culture and human-to-machine interaction. We also have sound expertise in development of systems so they meet the stringent demands around availability in a mine, typically 24/7, plus how modern software development should be set up and managed.

“It’s enjoyable seeing how knowledge can be used in new ways, and what results are attainable through collaboration.”

Epiroc’s Scooptram Automation Total allows machine operators to carry out remote work safely in a control room above ground level, where they can share the overall situation in real time and carry out tasks that still call for a human being’s experience and precision. The operators have good insight into what is happening within the production environment and can take over machines as and when necessary to carry out non-automated tasks.

The latest addition to the solution is the option of “easy control” of the security system that protects employees from harm if they accidentally enter the autonomous production area, Epiroc says.

“Putting it simply, various sections and passageways are permitted to be closed or opened for autonomous operation, allowing the mining operator to send in manned machines without stopping autonomous production any more than is necessary,” the company explained. “The function also supports smooth check-in and check-out of autonomous or remote-controlled machinery.”

Raschperger concluded: “With this solution we are breaking new ground, as we are bringing manual and autonomous operations closer to each other. A fully-autonomous mine is still a long way off, but the latest addition to the solution allows mining companies to actually proceed towards autonomous operation and increases the degree of utilisation of the investment in infrastructure, machinery and employees.”

This is an edited version of an Epiroc story that first appeared here: https://www.epiroc.com/en-uk/newsroom/2020/the-route-to-an-autonomous-mine

Epiroc in Q2: Australia service business, automation/digitalisation projects stay strong

There were some bright spots in Epiroc’s latest COVID-19 affected quarterly results that bode well for those companies serving the mining industry.

The headline figures were a 23% year-on-year drop in orders received to SEK8.105 billion ($913 million), a 20% fall in revenue to SEK8.458 billion, and a 37% cut in operating profit to SEK1.418 billion.

As President and CEO, Helena Hedblom, explained in the quarterly results: “The COVID-19 pandemic impacted us significantly in the quarter, yet we managed to quickly adapt our way of working, lower our costs, show resilience in our profitability, and deliver a strong cash flow.”

This cash flow – SEK1,963 million – was actually 30% higher than a year ago, which has no doubt been helped by its rationalisation and cost cutting.

Epiroc is a slimmer organisation than it was a year ago. As of June 30, 2020, 13,967 employees and 1,145 consultants/external workforce employees were on its books. This is 702 people lighter than it was at the same time in 2019.

On June 2, Epiroc announced it was giving notice of termination to 425 employees in Sweden in response to lower global demand from mining and infrastructure companies amid the pandemic and to position the company better for the future.

This followed an announcement in April that it was to consolidate the manufacturing of exploration drilling tools in Canada, gradually moving its base from North Bay to Montreal and Sweden over the course of 2020, with 65 employees affected.

Outside of Europe and North America, there were some positives for the company and the wider mining industry to consider.

For the company’s service business, which makes up the majority of its revenues, the orders received decreased 3% organically (year-on-year) to SEK3.719 million. This is a mild contraction compared with the 29% year-on-year organic drop it experienced for equipment orders.

This shows that while companies are not, on the whole, buying new equipment, they are still spending the money to keep their fleets going.

Compared with the previous year, service orders in local currency decreased in all regions, except Asia/Australia, another brightspot.

Helena Hedblom expanded on this trend when speaking to IM: “In general, the activity levels in mining in Australia have kept up very strong in the quarter. That is the only region where there has not been a big drop in the activity level; if we look at the other regions in the world, there are only a few countries with the same development, maybe Chile and Brazil as I said on the call (with analysts and investors).

“Mining in Australia has held up better than the rest of the world.”

With its main workshop and distribution centre for parts in Perth, Western Australia, servicing major gold and iron ore mines in the state, and various other facilities across the country, the company’s deliveries have also not been affected by the border issues related to COVID-19, Hedblom said.

Australia was arguably quickest out of all mining regions to adapt to COVID-19-related operational changes and its government has prioritised keeping the sector open throughout the entire pandemic.

With commodity prices such as gold and copper relatively strong and more governments in various countries now realising mining’s positive contribution, one would expect other places to follow suit in the upcoming months and quarters.

Epiroc’s quarterly results also provided some evidence of COVID-19 potentially speeding up the digitalisation and automation trend.

“In the quarter, we received multiple orders for automation solutions for both underground and surface applications, including a large order in Chile of equipment with 6th Sense solutions for automation, connectivity and information management,” Hedblom said in the results statement.

The Chile order referenced was for Codelco’s Chuquicamata underground mine, which included multiple units of Scooptram ST1030 and ST18 loaders, the Boomer S2 face drilling rig, the Boltec M bolting machine, and the Minetruck MT65.

On top of being equipped with 6th Sense, these machines come with Epiroc’s Rig Control System, RCS, which makes the equipment ready for automation and remote control, and Epiroc’s Certiq system, which allows for intelligent monitoring of machine performance and productivity in real time.

Speaking to IM, Hedblom said: “I think the pandemic has clearly increased the interest [in automation and digitalisation]. The mining companies, of course, are trying to minimise the number of people on site, and here digitisation, tele-remote, as well as automation, can offer support for that work. We are seeing more and more interest in that.”

She added: “We have been able to continue to deploy our automation projects because we have invested in automation centres regionally out in the different markets, on most continents. That has supported us to continue with this journey even though we can’t travel from Sweden to other countries at the moment.”

Summing up the results and the company’s broader offering during these pandemic-hit times, Hedblom concluded: “We have been focusing on lowering our cost in light of the pandemic and, as we have talked about, investing more in innovation than we have ever done. That is our commitment to the industry; to continue to come up with new products with better solutions from a productivity, safety and sustainability standpoint.”

Epiroc looks to halve CO2 emissions from customers’ use of equipment

Epiroc has launched new sustainability goals for 2030 that, it says, further advance the group’s ambitions on issues such as climate change and diversity.

Sustainability is already integrated in Epiroc’s business operations and, this year, the group has established long-term sustainability goals that support the Paris Agreement and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, it said.

The new sustainability goals for the next decade include halving CO2 emissions from operations, transport and major suppliers, as well as from customers’ use of Epiroc equipment.

Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said: “Since the majority of the CO2 emissions occur in the use phase of our products, it is crucial that we not only limit our own emissions in operations and transport but also take on the greater challenge to reduce the emissions when the products are in use. We are working together with our customers to reduce the impact on climate.”

Epiroc says it is continuously innovating to make its equipment as climate-friendly and safe as possible.

Its new generation of battery-electric mining machines, which is generating strong interest from customers globally, is one example. Epiroc’s package of digital solutions, 6th Sense, including automation, also goes a long way to reduce customers’ environmental impact as well as to improve health and safety conditions, it added.

“With the new sustainability goals for 2030 we are taking our ambitions in this area to a new level,” Hedblom adds. “Epiroc is proud to help making the mining and infrastructure industries as sustainable as possible.”

Other examples of Epiroc’s new goals for 2030 include doubling the number of women in operational roles, substantially reducing work-related injuries, and further strengthening the group’s commitment to the company’s Code of Conduct.

Epiroc to supply equipment, services for Codelco’s Chuquicamata underground mine

Epiroc is to deliver underground loaders, face drill rigs, rock bolting rigs and mine trucks to the Chuquicamata underground mine in northern Chile following an order from Codelco.

The large equipment order, which comes on top of the signing of a large contract for services at Codelco’s Andina mine and a large order for equipment used at its El Teniente mine, also includes several years of technical support and training. The order is valued at more than $20 million and was booked in April 2020.

Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, opened the Chuquicamata underground mine in 2019 as it looked to transition the world’s largest open-pit mine into a technologically advanced underground operation. The transformation will extend the mine life by 40 years, according to Codelco.

Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said the company was proud to be a key partner of Codelco “as it significantly extends the life of the Chuquicamata mine in the most productive, efficient and safe manner possible”.

Juan Mariscal, Sourcing Category Manager at Codelco, says: “Epiroc was chosen because it complied with all the technical, safety and performance requirements that Codelco demanded for the Chuquicamata Underground Mine project, while being the supplier that provided the best economic proposal for all its equipment as a whole.”

The order includes multiple units of the Scooptram ST1030 and ST18 loader, the Boomer S2 face drilling rig, the Boltec M bolting machine, and the Minetruck MT65 (pictured), the highest payload capacity underground truck in the world.

The machines will be equipped with 6th Sense solutions for automation, connectivity and information management, Epiroc says. The solutions include Epiroc’s Rig Control System, RCS, which makes the equipment ready for automation and remote control, and Epiroc’s Certiq system, which allows for intelligent monitoring of machine performance and productivity in real-time.

Delivery of the equipment will take place later this year.

Epiroc trusting its 6th Sense on mine automation, electrification, digitalisation developments

During an enlightening Capital Markets Day, in Stockholm, Sweden, Epiroc backed up its credentials as a leader in the mine automation, digitalisation and electrification spaces, outlining its progress to date and its medium- and long-term plans to capture more market share.

A few weeks after putting on the investor showcase – but before Helena Hedblom was announced as the incoming President and CEOIM spoke with President and CEO, Per Lindberg, and Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications, Mattias Olsson, to get some detail behind the presentation slides.

IM: Automation featured very widely in the capital markets day (CMD) presentations earlier this month: In general, how would you characterise the mining industry appetite for this new technology? Where is the average customer on your automation scale?

PL: First of all, the appetite is very large; most customers are looking at automation in one way or another.

It is hard to do a mathematical average when it comes to where the industry currently is, but the average miner is probably down on the left-hand side of that scale (pictured below) – somewhere in between tele-remote and single machine automation.

IM: Over the next five years, where do you see most potential growth for autonomous solutions in terms of underground or open-pit mining? What market dynamics are accelerating this uptake?

PL: Most likely it will happen in both surface and underground. The potential for productivity and safety improvements is probably greater in underground, though.

This trend is clearly driven by productivity, cost efficiency and safety. Those would be the key drivers for automation. It is about taking people out of the line of fire, as well as having close to 24/7 production.

IM: Following the 34% stake acquisition of ASI Mining last year, would you say the project Epiroc and ASI are working on at Ferrexpo’s Yeristovo mine is representative of how you envisage doing business together in the future?

PL: That is the reason that we initially acquired the 34% stake in ASI Mining; we wanted to go in that direction. In that respect, I think the Ferrexpo example is representative of how we will cooperate with ASI.

Of course, ASI can also offer a standalone solution without Epiroc being present on the automation side, so we are also promoting their offering too.

IM: How does Epiroc, as an OEM, balance its machine building and maintenance service offering? Does the ability to keep machines working longer through sophisticated monitoring systems and better manufacturing somewhat inhibit your ability to sell new machinery?

PL: To a certain extent, we are probably cannibalising our new machine sales with increased service intensity and improved servicing products. That is most likely the consequence. On the other hand, we also feel that it is only right to offer this type of aftercare and servicing.

Yet, you cannot continue to prolong the life of a piece of equipment forever. It needs to be replaced at some point.

Overall, the servicing offering works well for us and, we think, it is good for our customers in terms of increasing the life of their equipment.

IM: Factoring this in, what percentage of revenue is your aftermarket business likely to represent in the next 10 years (from 65% today)?

PL: It’s difficult to say if it is going to be higher, or not, but it is likely that the volume of service will increase. That is based on what we are talking about – the intensified servicing we are offering, the products we have developed and the fact that we are increasing the market share within our own fleet.

Whether it continues to be 65% of the overall business depends on activity in the rest of the group.

IM: Along these lines, how long does the company anticipate its new battery-electric loading fleets lasting compared with, say, the diesel-powered fleets you were selling 10 years ago?

PL: The wear and tear of the actual machine will be the same – that is not going to change because of the drivetrain.

But, having an electric drivetrain is different from diesel; we have to see what the long-term maintenance needs are compared with diesel. The life of the drivetrain also depends very much on the utilisation of the machine.

IM: Of the recent innovations the company has launched (or is about to launch) – 6th Sense, a semi-automated explosives delivery system (with Orica), Scooptram Automation Total, Powerbit, etc – which has the strongest business case in mining?

PL: I think 6th Sense is really a packaging of all of our different offerings within automation. In that regard, it is has the highest potential. Which components of 6th Sense have the highest potential? We’ll have to wait and see.

The semi-automated explosives delivery system with Orica is a very specific innovation, but we very much believe in automating this mining process because of the safety and productivity benefits it brings. But we are only just starting this development compared with 6th Sense, which has already launched.

Powerbit is, again, very specific, but…allows us to deliver a complete offering both in terms of machine and consumables that will enable higher productivity and automation. That should have a high potential in the market.

IM: What does the Epiroc mining roadmap look like for the next 10-30 years? I imagine wider adoption of hard-rock cutting, automation, electrification and digitalisation are in there, but what other technology evolutions are being planned for?

PL: We have to continue to work with all of those three – automation, electrification and digitalisation – as they will deliver significant benefits for the industry. That is where we need to focus over that 10-year timeframe.

These three also have the potential to further integrate the value chain in mining within the future digitalisation space. We need to both continue to work with these technologies and our customers to ensure we have greater market penetration in all these areas.

IM: And, hard-rock cutting? Is this as important as these three?

PL: For specific applications, mechanical cutting and the Mobile Miners have their relevance and work well. But we believe for the foreseeable future, the majority of hard-rock excavation will be carried out by drilling and blasting in the mining and tunnelling sectors.

IM: During the CMD there was mention of “cost per measure” contracts under the digitalisation heading. Could you go into some detail about how the company is offering these and if they are tied in with financing agreements for your equipment?

PL: In terms of cost per measure, one example would be cost per metre contracts in consumables and rock drilling tools.

MO: We also provide finance for equipment and it could be that the equipment is financed and we have a cost per metre contract in place. Those two are not connected or tied, though.

It could be that there is more of this ‘pay-for-performance’ type of contract in the future – where you charge per tonne of ore excavated, for example – but, if it does come, I don’t think it will happen quickly.

IM: Similarly Epiroc talked about “new business models” in 2020 for underground equipment at the CMD. What might these new business models be? What is the need for them?

PL: It could be revenue streams into software, to information management, to advanced service agreements, to Batteries as a Service for battery vehicles.

The reasons for establishing these models is the continuous development of software, new updates for machines, etc that require different models.

When it comes to Batteries as a Service, it is a different model again looking to transfer the energy cost of the battery from capex to opex in order to facilitate the timely decisions for customers and reduce the cost of operation for our customers.

These new models are all based on development of technologies.

Pucobre to employ Epiroc 6th Sense solution at UG copper mines

Epiroc says it has signed a collaboration agreement with Sociedad Punta del Cobre SA (Pucobre) in Chile to digitalise the company’s mining operations, in turn, boosting productivity and safety.

The mining OEM is helping Pucobre to enhance its mining operations in the Atacama region of northern Chile, with the collaboration including defining new ways of working and new roles as well as development of an integrated information management system, it said.

Epiroc’s new 6th Sense Mine Management Solution will be included in this solution, combining Pucobre’s existing systems with, for instance, scheduler and other task management and reporting features, Epiroc said.

The new solution is already visible in Pucobre’s newly established Control Tower (pictured).

Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s Senior Executive Vice President Mining and Infrastructure, said the 6th Sense collaboration with Pucobre would help modernise its mine operations and make it safer and more productive. “This represents the future of mining,” she added.

Sebastián Ríos, Pucobre’s CEO, said the company had high expectations for 6th Sense to continue improving the safety and productivity of its underground copper mining operations.

“We have strengthened our relationship with Epiroc, as we both target excellence in mining operations,” he said. “We rely on Epiroc’s strategic approach, its collaborative work and its professional team, which is regularly present at our mine site.”

The 6th Sense system can be connected to the customer’s existing machine fleet regardless of make or model, according to Epiroc.

“6th Sense is Epiroc’s new way to optimise customers’ processes through automation, system integration and information management – enabling a smart, safe and seamless operation,” the company said.

The collaboration extends the partnership between the companies. Pucobre’s Epiroc equipment includes Simba production drill rigs, Boomer face drilling rigs, and Scooptram and Minetruck underground loading and haulage vehicles, Epiroc said. The company also provides Pucobre with consumables and service.

Epiroc takes LHD automation to another level

Epiroc’s has released a new offering for LHD automation that, it says, brings new standards of productivity and safety to underground mining.

Scooptram Automation Total allows for multi machine loader automation, with its Traffic Management System creating a common information environment that controls multiple fleets of loaders, according to the company.

“The Traffic Management system is the core of Epiroc’s Scooptram Automation Total package,” Epiroc said. “This system operates the fleet and eliminates the risk of collisions in common drifts.”

The automation area is fully isolated with safety barriers that shut off the system if personnel or unauthorised vehicles accidently enter. Yet, it is possible to bring new vehicles into the area and add them to the Traffic Management System without stopping production, using the check-in/check-out procedure, the company said.

Vladimir Sysoev, Global Product Manager Automation at Epiroc, said: “This is a great step forward in our development of world leading automation and information management solutions. Scooptram Automation Total is really a game changer when it comes to increasing safety for underground operators and at the same time levelling up the efficiency.”

The company says Scooptram Automation Total takes safety, productivity and cost effectiveness “to another level and makes superior performance a reality”. It allows operators to control and monitor vehicle progress throughout the mine from a safe distance in a comfortable operator station.

Scooptram Automation Total is part of Epiroc’s 6th Sense Transport offering, which the company launched earlier this year.

“Epiroc’s 6th Sense sets out to optimise our customers’ value chain by offering interoperability solutions that connect automation, system integration and information management to unlock the full potential of production gains at lower operating costs.”

Epiroc lifts the lid on automation success in Q2 results

After many years of automation talk, the mining industry finally appears to be investing in this new technology judging by Epiroc’s latest financial results.

The Stockholm-based company reported record revenue of SEK 10.6 billion ($1.13 billion), alongside a 25% year-on-year operating profit increase to SEK 2,263 million in its June quarter financials, but the most interesting elements from this release were comments from the company on automation.

Epiroc says it is a market leader in automation, connectivity and battery-electric vehicles, with the company noting customer interest in, and demand for these solutions, is growing quickly.

In the quarter, the company launched 6th Sense, its new offering of solutions to enable customers to optimise processes by connecting machines, systems and people using automation, information management and system integration, and to achieve higher production at lower operating costs.

Even though it is early days for this initiative, Per Lindberg, President and CEO of Epiroc, said the company has more than 2,500 connected machines on its books; a number that is rapidly increasing.

“For example, for production drill rigs, the number of connected machines has doubled in the last year. We also see that connectivity is an enabler for increased utilisation,” Lindberg said.

In underground drilling, Lindberg said more than 550 of its drill rigs are equipped for complete automation of the drilling process and, in surface drilling, it has the largest installed base of autonomous rotary drill rigs. On the latter, the world’s first fully autonomous SmartROC D65 down-the-hole drill rig is now operating in Canada, it said.

“Also, the interest in our next generation underground battery-electric vehicles continues to be strong and we received more orders for these machines in the quarter,” the company said.

Epiroc to connect machines, systems and people with ‘6th Sense’

Epiroc is presenting a new approach to the mining and infrastructure industries that combines digitalisation and automation to, it says, boost its customers’ performance.

The “6th Sense” solution addresses a growing need for the two industries to look to digital technologies to enhance productivity, sustainability and safety, according to the company. The approach is the Epiroc way to optimise customers’ processes by connecting machines, systems and people using automation, information management and system integration.

“With 6th Sense comes a great focus on system connectivity, using interoperability to unlock the full potential of automation for production gains at lower operating costs,” the company said.

Helena Hedblom, Epiroc Senior Executive Vice President Mining and Infrastructure, said: “6th Sense is a formula we have developed for getting the right solutions in place and achieving operational excellence in mining and infrastructure operations.

“The name 6th Sense implies that the solution brings something extra and that is just what it does, providing a significant advantage such as track and respond to real-time working conditions and equipment needs.”

One example of Epiroc’s focus on automated and productivity-enhancing solutions comes from the Hollinger mine in Timmins, Canada. Together with long-term partner Newmont Goldcorp, Epiroc has put the world’s first fully autonomous SmartROC D65 surface drill rig in production, it said. The operator can be positioned remotely and perform other tasks while the drill rig completes a full drill pattern autonomously. “Besides increased operator safety, this boosts productivity thanks to Global Navigation Satellite System accuracy, non-stop operations and less wear and tear on drilling tools, reducing production costs and improving reliability,” Epiroc said.

Another example is the new Teleremote e-tramming option for Epiroc’s range of Simba long-hole underground drill rigs. The automation package includes functionalities to monitor, plan and automate drilling operations from onboard the rig or from a remote location. “Not only is the tramming process faster and simpler, the e-tramming function also provides a safer work environment and reduces variability in performance,” Epiroc said.

Hedblom said: “The 6th Sense approach is based on our customers’ needs for implementing digitalisation, automation and new process integrations. We are continuously rolling out new innovative features, always with the customers’ needs in mind.”