Tag Archives: Mobilaris Mining & Civil Engineering

Gold Fields keeps modernising Granny Smith with Mobilaris solutions

Gold Fields has implemented both Mobilaris Onboard and Mobilaris Situational Awareness at its Granny Smith underground mine in Western Australia as part of an ongoing modernisation program.

In 2018, Gold Fields launched a five-year modernisation program for the site. The first phase’s ambition is to ensure cost efficiency, productivity and a safe work environment by integrating data-driven solutions into the mine.

Michael Place, Mine Manager at Granny Smith, said Gold Field has three dedicated full-time personnel to work on the modernisation program. It has also employed external consultants and contractors to assist with the integration.

“Together, we integrate an underground LTE system to have full connectivity in the mine,” he said.

Gold Fields’ investment will also have environmental effects over time as its digitalisation allows the company to work more sustainably.

“Moving into a more digital world is going to make sure that we are sustainable long-term,” Place said. “For instance, we can maintain our cost profile during expansion and follow up on our environmental footprint.”

Historically, underground blasting has been one of the biggest time thieves in the Granny Smith Mine, with the operation currently losing four hours of production in a 24-hour period due to the firing. With the ongoing modernisation program, Place looks for the mine to become more efficient than before.

“Integrating technology into the mine allows us to look at options to reduce the inactive time,” he said. “We can increase efficiency through autonomous equipment, remote operations, and digital solutions. The expected outcome is a 5-15% increase in productivity.”

The Granny Smith Mine has close to 4,000 different locations, with over 100 employees underground at the same time. It already runs 1.2 km deep and, like many mines, is under constant development.

Michael Place, Mine Manager at Granny Smith

In 2019, a group from Gold Fields Granny Smith, including General Manager, Andrew Bywater, visited Boliden in Sweden to study the use of the Mobilaris product suite, with focus on Mobilaris Onboard and Mobilaris Situational Awareness in the Kristineberg mine.

Mobilaris Onboard, working as a machine navigator underground, creates traffic awareness and a safe and effective traffic flow, according to the company. Based on real-time data, Mobilaris Situational Awareness enables transparency and awareness. The information makes it possible to control the operations and resources, and people can quickly act upon what is happening and make smart decisions faster, Mobilaris says.

Because Mobilaris data and positions were shared in real time, the operation had seen an increase in safety and efficiency, according to Mobilaris.

This visit has since led to Gold Fields implementing both Mobilaris Onboard and Mobilaris Situational Awareness at its underground operations at Granny Smith.

Place said: “Mobilaris Onboard allows us to navigate to all locations underground quickly and efficiently. It will improve our productivity and decrease inactive time by reducing traffic congestion and finding equipment and machines faster.

“We are a haulage-constrained mine and, by reducing the cycle time of our haulage fleet, we can raise our productivity. It is a significant benefit.”

Strong customer relations allows Mobilaris to develop and test all products in real environments, as well as the possibility to bring companies to customer’s sites to experience the products in use, Mobilaris said.

“Our close relationship with the customer is a crucial success factor for Mobilaris,” Pascal Hansson, Sales Director, Mobilaris Mining & Civil Engineering, said. “All our solutions are tested in Boliden’s and other companies’ underground mines. This gives us the confidence to deliver what we promise to our customers.”

Gold Fields has plans to use Mobilaris Situational Awareness as its number one source of information and integrate it with fleet management, inventory systems, and the daily shift scheduler, according to Mobilaris. The mine’s digital investment is expected to pay off within a year, it added.

Place explained: “The location data will synchronise with daily schedules to ensure real-time data is captured from the time jobs are planned and executed. We are looking at efficiency improvements, but we are currently introducing this technology to maintain our production profile with the increasing depth and costs.”

The Gold Fields modernisation program has full support from top to bottom and is expected to be finished over the next two years, Mobilaris said.

During the research process, Gold Fields discovered that Mobilaris Onboard addresses specific safety issues. By sharing positional data and navigation in 3D, drivers can avoid traffic congestion and find shelter during emergencies.

Place said: “We have installed tablets in all our heavy vehicles. With Onboard’s traffic awareness feature, we can minimise the vehicle-vehicle interaction and the vehicle-personnel interaction. The application also tells us where to find the three nearest refuge chambers to our location. So, if there is an emergency, we can get the quickest path to safety.”

MCE sets new underground mining rules with Event Automation platform

Mobilaris Mining & Civil Engineering (MCE) is putting the power back in mining engineers’ hands with its new Event Automation platform, according to Hans Wahlquist, VP Business Development & Strategic Product Management for Mobilaris MCE.

Having previously provided advanced software that optimises underground operations through its Mobilaris Mining Intelligence product family, the company is now going one step further with its new automation platform.

Wahlquist describes Mobilaris Event Automation as a tool to enable mine engineers to make full use of the information that comes from: location data of machines, equipment, materials and personnel; the status of work tasks in the shift plan; sensory data from various monitoring systems; machine data from a mixed fleet; and much more.

IM put some questions to Wahlquist to find out more.

IM: In a recently published piece, you mentioned your new solution will “unlock the next level of control room capabilities in its innovative Mobilaris Event Automation platform”. Can you expand on this? What capabilities are being addressed with this update? Why are you addressing these now?

HW: For a long time, Mobilaris has made underground mines transparent with cutting-edge situational awareness, including 3D visualisation and technology-agnostic tracking using a large spectrum of positioning technologies from various vendors. With the new Event Automation platform, we take this further, allowing mining engineers to create advance automation features themselves.

Earlier on with the product development, we made mining personnel aware of vehicles, people, etc. Now, we allow them to create automatic actions based on rules involving the location of assets, the status of assets and sensors, etc.

This has, until now, pretty much only been possible with the help of quite costly integrations with external automation frameworks and using experts. Now, this can be done by the miners themselves in a cost-efficient way.

IM: Where will Mobilaris Event Automation provide the most value in underground mining? Will the value come in energy savings or mine site productivity?

HW: The possibilities are virtually endless. Energy saving functions like Ventilation on Demand (VoD) is, of course, a given example on functions that can be implemented using the Event Automation framework. Additionally, there are numerous productivity possibilities that are unveiled with the advent of Event Automation. One example is the opportunities to easily create valuable key performance indicators and tailored dashboards.

IM: How does the solution differ from, in ventilation applications, numerous VoD solutions already on the market? Is it the ability to tailor these actions that is the unique selling point?

HW: Traditional VoD solutions involve costly experts and costly integrations. As an underground mine is an ever-growing operation, these solutions need constant maintenance. With Event Automation, this can be made by mining engineers themselves which makes an Event Automation-based solution less costly, more tailored for the mine’s unique requirements, etc.

IM: Among the numerous systems Event Automation can integrate with, what is the most revolutionary for the mining sector?

HW: As Event Automation is based on the Node-Red framework from IBM with more than 2,500 existing integrations, the probability of the devices/sensors the mine already has already being integrated into Event Automation is high. Examples could be various gas sensors, smart rock bolts, etc.

Just imagine when you, as a mine engineer, can create an automation rule that involves the location of people or machines with the status of various sensors, which triggers actions such as sending a warning message or triggering an alarm.

IM: What mine site has Event Automation already been deployed at?

HW: Event Automation has so far been deployed in large mines in Canada.