Tag Archives: Newtrax

Sandvik’s 65-t payload battery-electric TH665B heading to Electra Mining Africa

Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions is to have a major presence at this year’s Electra Mining Africa exhibition, with its 385 sq.m indoor stand introducing the African mining market to the OEM’s 65-t payload battery-electric vehicle.

In addition to the appearance of the TH665B, virtual reality (VR) and simulator technology will be employed at the stand to give visitors a highly interactive experience, Sandvik says. Live demonstration of Sandvik’s Eclipse fire suppression system, which can be fitted to the company’s drill rigs, trucks and loaders, will also take place.

Natalie Santiero, Marketing Manager for southern Africa at Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions, says: “The theme of our stand this year will be the ‘Future of Mining’ and will highlight the many ways in which Sandvik can assist customers to move into the world of the fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). We will also demonstrate how our products can contribute to a sustainable, net-zero future. The mining industry is moving very rapidly along this path and we’re very much a part of the evolution.”

The BEV to be introduced, which will be the biggest piece of equipment on the stand, will be the 65-t payload TH665B. As the largest capacity battery-electric underground truck, this is the flagship of Sandvik’s fast-expanding fleet of BEVs. The machine is at an advanced stage of development with factory testing completed and full-scale trials on a gold mine in Australia (AngloGold Ashanti Australia’s Sunrise Dam mine).

“The truck we’ll be displaying and launching at Electra Mining Africa is, in fact, the machine that will be trialled in Australia,” Santiero says. “Its appearance at the show will represent its African debut. We see the TH665B as being a critical development, given the determination of many mines to move towards emission-free equipment. It is perfectly paired with our 18-t capacity battery-electric LH581B underground loader, which was officially launched last year. A South African gold mine (Gold Fields’ South Deep) has already ordered the LH518B, with delivery expected shortly.”

Sandvik Rock Processing will be showcasing the 800i series of connected cone crushers through a live demonstration of remotely connected units via the digital service SAM. The 800i series comes with Sandvik’s new generation Automation and Connectivity System, which continuously monitors and optimises crusher performance and controls the complete lubrication system, increasing uptime and reliability, the company says.

The My Sandvik portal customer portal, which will also feature on the stand, provides customers with access to information about their fleet, access bulletins and electronic manuals and allows them to request quotations and place orders anytime they need directly online, according to Santiero.

Training, of course, is a major challenge for many mines and Sandvik will have its Digital Driller™, a compact and flexible solution to safely train operators on the company’s drills, at the show. It allows operators to learn their trade with a realistic simulator which optimises the transition to the real machine, according to the company.

Also in the digital space, Sandvik’s AutoMine® VR training simulator will be demonstrated. “This delivers a realistic AutoMine experience for training,” Santiero says. “Visitors to the stand will be able to put on goggles and manipulate hand-held controls to experience and interact with a 3D virtual reality environment to master the complete process of the AutoMine system start-up procedure without the need for machine or production area allocations.”

Apps are an ever-present aspect of modern life and Sandvik’s Rotary Blasthole Drill Selector app will feature at the event. It provides users with a list of recommended drill rigs based upon basic site conditions and production requirement information.

“Newtrax, which has been part of the Sandvik family since 2019, will also have a presence on our stand,” Santiero says. “They will be showcasing the Collision Avoidance System and Operations Management under the OptiMine® banner.”

Santiero concluded: “There’s no question that the 4IR is with us, not just in mining but many other industries. Sandvik is at the forefront of this revolution and its ability to innovate will be demonstrated very strongly at the show. We’ve spent months planning our stand and we believe that it will prove very popular with visitors to the show.”

Electra Mining Africa is due to take place on September 5-9 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Sibanye-Stillwater to roll out Newtrax OptiMine Collision Avoidance System at Stillwater mine

Sibanye-Stillwater is to invest $17 million in OptiMine® Collision Avoidance System (CAS) technology to reduce accidents, injuries and fatalities at its Stillwater PGM underground mining operations in Montana, USA, Newtrax says.

Newtrax and Sibanye-Stillwater have been working together since 2017 on various digitalisation projects to improve safety and productivity at Stillwater.

OptiMine increases safety and optimises underground mining operations, which align with Sibanye-Stillwater’s CARES values of commitment to safety, accountability, respect and sustainability, Newtrax says. These values support safe operations, allow growth, underpin business strategy and promote competitiveness and success.

This year marks the beginning of a new chapter with the mine-wide implementation of the new OptiMine Collision Avoidance System that links intelligent cap lamps to a warning system inside the cab of underground mobile equipment.

The system provides the vehicle operator with a virtual view of any pedestrians in the immediate area of the machine, along with an escalating warning system for both as the distance between them narrows.

This escalation transitions from a warning to vehicle intervention, where the vehicle automatically reduces speed and comes to a controlled stop should the system recognise the presence of any pedestrian wearing an intelligent cap lamp in the high-risk zone.

The same technology is also designed to improve the safety of vehicle-to-vehicle as well as vehicle-to-locomotive interactions and will be used as the digitalisation platform for real-time operations management, Newtrax, which is owned by Sandvik, said.

Jacques van Rensburg, Vice President and Group Head of Engineering, Sibanye-Stillwater, said: “Newtrax provides us with a safe, proactive and integrable solution to our operational needs. The OptiMine system integrates all the telemetry, tracking and proximity detection technology we need to run our operations safely, transparently and efficiently. And they are humble enough to leverage the global experience we’ve had with other collision avoidance systems globally, to make their system even better.”

Jean-Phillip Bouchard, Vice President – Americas, Newtrax, said: “Sibanye-Stillwater is a key customer for Newtrax. We are pleased to expand their current system and take on the challenge of developing and delivering OEM-agnostic intervention controllers to enable slow-to-stop control of all their equipment.”

Last year, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, together with Newtrax, introduced what it said was the next generation of the OptiMine solution, which combines the Newtrax digitalisation offering with the existing Sandvik suite of digital process optimisation tools as one integrated OptiMine product.

Sandvik to acquire Deswik and form new Digital Mining Technologies division

Sandvik has signed an agreement to acquire Deswik, a provider of mine planning software, with plans for the Australia-based company to be part of a newly formed Digital Mining Technologies division within the Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions business area. 

By acquiring Deswik, Sandvik gains a top-tier supplier of integrated software platforms that, it says, support digitalisation throughout mine planning stages, with more than 10,000 current licences.

Deswik has a high quality customer base, and its strong profitable growth and low customer churn will further enhance Sandvik’s presence within software and digitalisation, and help accelerate growth, the company added.

I am very pleased that we continue to execute on our shift to growth strategy, and continue to broaden our offering with digital solutions that increase productivity in the customers value chain,” Stefan Widing, President and CEO of Sandvik, said. “Mine planning and operations management is a key growth opportunity, and this complementary acquisition and our new Digital Mining Technologies division will strengthen our digital offering and enable us to provide customers a more comprehensive suite of technologies.

Deswik will fill a value chain gap in Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions’ offering, increasing upstream mining coverage and enabling opportunities for end-to-end optimisation solutions, including, for example, incorporating electrification at the mine planning stage, the company explained. Its core software suite includes computer-aided 3D mine design, scheduling, operations planning, mining data management and geological mapping. Deswik also offers a range of consultancy services, including mine planning, scoping, software implementation and training support.

Henrik Ager, President of Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, added: Deswik’s second-to-none software suite combined with Sandvik’s digital and automation offering creates a clear world leader in digital solutions for the mining industry. Combining Deswik’s skills in mine planning and scheduling with our equipment and automation expertise will open new opportunities for optimising our customers’ mining value chain.” 

Deswik will form one of three cornerstones in the newlycreated Digital Mining Technologies division, established to, the company says, accelerate the execution of Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions strategic priority to lead the industry development of underground sustainability and productivity solutions in electrification, automation, digitalisation and end-to-end optimisation. The new division also includes Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions automation solutions and the Newtrax telemetry and collision avoidance solutions.

Privately-owned Deswik, established in 2008 and headquartered in Brisbane, has approximately 300 employees and operates 14 offices in 10 countries. Deswik’s revenue as of October 2021, on a rolling 12-month basis, totalled A$79 million ($56 million), of which the share of recurring revenue was approximately 45%, and with an EBITA margin of approximately 30%.

The transaction is expected to close during the March quarter of 2022, subject to relevant regulatory approvals. Sandvik estimates that transaction costs of approximately SEK50 million ($5.5 million) in total will impact Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions in the December quarter.

Sandvik’s McCoy on ‘getting the basics right’ in digital transformation projects

The application of digital tools is key to continuously improving efficiencies in underground mines, Niel McCoy, Business Line Manager for Automation and Digitalisation at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, says.

McCoy says the choice of digital tools needs to be based on each operation’s key performance indicators (KPIs). This is because the solutions that are implemented will be focused on monitoring and managing those KPIs. He then recommends a phased approach to introducing digital tools to an operation.

“The starting point is always machine telemetry and basic production or productivity reporting,” he says. “From there, the solutions can be expanded.”

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions has extensive experience in designing and implementing digital tools, including equipment health monitoring and process management. Its AutoMine® automation offering operates on 59 mining sites globally, while its OptiMine® suite of digital solutions is active on 66 connected sites. The ‘My Sandvik’ customer portal, a web-based digital hub, serves 214 sites and its Newtrax technology in wireless IoT connectivity is operating on 115 sites.

“Monitoring equipment health through My Sandvik Digital Services Solutions allows users to draw down telemetry data from their equipment in real time,” he says. “The data is automatically compiled into the required report format for quick analysis and response.”

The next aspect to be addressed is the actual management of the process being monitored, he says. This is where Sandvik’s Task Management and Scheduler – part of its Optimine suite of digital solutions – can be applied.

“This allows a tablet to be fitted to an item of equipment so that an underground operator can accept tasks and provide real-time progress reports on those tasks,” he says. “The more advanced the equipment, the more data can be extracted and communicated automatically without operator intervention.”

The solutions allow for data to be recorded on equipment’s key operations – such as the weight of loads in a loader bucket. Telemetry on the equipment gives valuable insight into the equipment’s availability and performance so management can respond.

“When starting digital journeys, the focus must be on improving current operations,” McCoy says. “This means getting work started on time, for instance, before moving onto optimisation efforts. Most digital implementations will battle if the starting point is trying to increase productivity before getting the basics right.”

Sandvik expands productivity and safety-focused offering with new OptiMine modules

Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology says it has devised the most comprehensive solution for optimising underground hard-rock mining production and processes with new OptiMine® functionality.

Continuing the development of this platform, the newest OptiMine modules expand the existing offering focused on increasing productivity and improving safety, the company says. The new functionalities include smart scheduling, evacuation assistance, and a playback feature.

“Sandvik has always worked with customers around the world to address the key issues that affect productivity and safety,” it said. “And, with customer focus in mind, our engineering team develops new digital solutions to increase operational effectiveness. These tools connect thousands of pieces of Sandvik and non-Sandvik equipment around the world. The latest extensions to the OptiMine suite of solutions add enhanced visibility and control.”

OptiMine Evacuation Assistant (pictured) visualises an evacuation mode, searching for the nearest safe places underground and providing the visibility of personnel locations, according to the company. It guides personnel to the nearest rescue chamber depending on their locations and rescue chamber capacities, making sure they were able to reach a rescue chamber safely. It helps to execute evacuation timely and to focus on things that matter the most, Sandvik says.

OptiMine Playback is built on the 3D Mine Visualizer module and allows to view historical recorded data of locations and statuses of all assets and people that were underground during the selected time period.

OptiMine Smart Scheduling allows automatic adjustment of production plans based on actual shift completion results. It substantially streamlines the process for the execution of the mine’s production plan most efficiently, according to Sandvik.

OptiMine is a powerful suite of digital tools for analysing and optimising mining production and processes. It integrates with Newtrax IoT devices, delivering data from all assets, people, and equipment – including non-Sandvik equipment – into one source, providing real-time and predictive insights to improve operations, according to the company.

“OptiMine is open and scalable, giving customers the flexibility to build at their speed and incorporate other equipment, systems, and networks,” Sandvik added.

Petri Mannonen, OptiMine Product Line Manager, BU Automation, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, said: “Understanding and improving operations in real time changes the game. Our customers are gaining higher efficiency and producing more tonnes each day as they act on these insights. Information and visibility of the operations make mining safer, more productive and more sustainable.”

Sandvik underlines interoperability policy for mining’s digitalisation journey

The COVID-19 pandemic means less people in the mining area, working to achieve the same output; this makes digitalisation no longer a nice-to-have but a vital efficiency mechanism for survival, according to Niel McCoy, Business Line Manager for Automation and Digitalisation at Sandvik Mining & Rock Technology.

McCoy says the challenge when it comes to applying digitalisation successfully is often getting the ‘vision’ right from the outset.

“Most mining companies have for years been working to digitalise their operations, but the difficulty is to know exactly what this process is meant to achieve and where managers want their mines to be in the future,” McCoy says. “Bringing in new technologies means fundamentally changing the way your operation runs, so you need to be ready for the change management that this will require.”

The result is many mines still struggling to develop and apply digital strategies, the company says.

Effective digitalisation, McCoy says, involves nothing less than moving away from the traditional style of management. It means bringing everything towards a more centralised point.

“Digitalisation allows the whole underground mining operation to become visual – as if the ‘roof’ has been lifted off the mine – and to be managed from an operational management centre,” he says. “This gives management a view of all operations in real time, and the ability to optimise the various processes.”

Before any digital implementation can begin, the goal must be clear in everyone’s minds – a picture of what their ‘mine of the future’ looks like, he says. This will then guide the roadmap to be followed for adoption of digital tools.

“Without an end in mind, this will become just another initiative,” McCoy says. “Operations people will be unable to contextualise what the digital solutions mean within the big picture, and how it will improve their day-to-day activities and outcomes. This is mainly due to the data not being used in day-to-day management and decision making. It can never be a ‘side project’.”

McCoy emphasises that digital solutions are not just for managers to see more clearly what is happening on their mines; it is also vital for the people on the ground to run their operations more effectively and efficiently. As a result, there needs to be full buy-in from the start if the intended efficiencies are to be realised in practice.

“The only way of making mining operations more efficient is to understand what is happening and where, and to react accordingly as quickly as possible,” he says. “One of the main shortcomings with traditional, hard copy reporting methods on mines is that it simply takes too long for managers to sort through the raw reports from each shift and identify problems in time to make a meaningful intervention.”

This means that operations can never be properly optimised, according to Sandvik. Digital tools play a valuable role in addressing this challenge, helping mines achieve their key performance indicators.

“A good example of a key performance indicator in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic is this: how do we get the best out of a reduced workforce?” he says. “Once a mine has clarified how it plans to approach this, it can start selecting the appropriate digital tools to achieve its goals.”

Niel McCoy, Business Line Manager for Automation and Digitalisation at Sandvik Mining & Rock Technology

Change management is at the heart of the process, based on short interval control and process management, according to the company, with Sandvik Mining & Rock Technology’s core focus in digitalisation being process management and optimisation, through its OptiMine® product.

There are five different modules within OptiMine that we offer customers, depending on their digital requirements,” McCoy says. “Further digital solutions are also available, relating to aspects including telemetry of non-Sandvik equipment, face utilisation, ventilation monitoring, personnel tracking and ventilation-on-demand through our Newtrax platform.”

McCoy says Sandvik’s experience in this field is substantial, demonstrated by the fact that OptiMine has been installed at about 66 sites worldwide.

He also emphasises that, while industry technology providers have their own specific focus areas, mines need to ensure the different systems integrate effectively.

“As a manager on a mine, you don’t want to have dozens of different login points and dashboards to manage your operational data,” he says. “Rather, you want just a few key interfaces from which you can gather the overview you need. That is why it is so important to have your digital vision and understand what solutions you will require to achieve this vision.”

Interoperability is, therefore, a vital aspect of this digitalisation planning – this is, again, an area Sandvik has been working on, with many of its digital solutions now able to be integrated into platforms supplied by other vendors.

“Sandvik Mining & Rock Technology’s leading interoperability policy commits the company to working with any other type of information system that a customer has on site,” it says. “This is to achieve the effective transfer of data between systems, to make it more useful for the customer.”

McCoy added: “We are very proud of this policy, and are one of the first original equipment manufacturers to make such a policy public. It shows our understanding of the bigger digital picture and our role within it – aimed at ensuring that the customer is empowered to use their data the way they choose.”

Newtrax NVD offers miners customised proximity detection solution

Newtrax Technologies says its New Vehicle Device, or ‘NVD’, is its most “powerful device yet, providing underground hard-rock mines with proximity detection, positioning, and communications capabilities in one box”.

The NVD, launched at the Sandvik Digitalization in Mining event, in Brisbane, Australia, this week, is both OEM and network agnostic, according to Newtrax, and includes peripherals such as sensors and control interfaces to enable EMERST CAS (collision avoidance solution) level nine (9).

L9 will help establish technologies that automatically intervene and take some form of machine control to prevent or mitigate an unsafe interaction, according to Newtrax.

Newtrax says the NVD allows underground hard-rock mines to implement several safety and production control solutions tailored to their needs.

Alexandre Cervinka, President & CEO of Newtrax, said: “Proximity detection devices must be designed to work without any network infrastructure. We maintain this critical feature and enhance the new generation of vehicle devices with positioning and remote communication capabilities, to enable near-miss heat maps, operator behaviour monitoring and remote firmware upgrades.”

In April of this year, Newtrax was acquired by Sandvik to be run as an independent business unit within the division Rock Drills and Technologies in the business area Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology.

Newtrax tackles data silo issues with launch of IoT hub

Newtrax Technologies, a leading provider of safety and productivity systems for underground hard-rock mines, has used the backdrop of the Sandvik Digitalization in Mining event, in Brisbane, Australia, to launch its brand new IoT Hub.

The Newtrax IoT Hub is the first AI-powered data aggregation platform, which enables the mining industry to connect all IoT devices into a single data repository, according to the company.

“It connects datasets and information in real time with a wide choice of software applications, enabling transparency of the mining processes and proactive decision making,” the company, which was acquired by Sandvik earlier this year, said.

This hub provides every mining company – big or small – with the ability to build their own “data lake” through industry-standardised application programming interfaces (APIs), according to the company. “This ensures mining companies can pick and choose from virtually any application they want and build the best solution architecture for their unique requirements,” Newtrax said.

Newtrax told IM that there are several applications inside the IoT hub including:

  • Mobile Telemetry Solution data;
  • “AI-ready”;
  • Scheduler;
  • Task Management; and
  • Asset Health.

While the digital mining tech leader has focused, to date, on monitoring and providing insights on people, machines and the environment in underground mines, it told IM that the IoT hub was ready to also host “any process plant solutions”. Newtrax is not intending to build such a solution though and would, instead, happily integrate with other vendors that already had one, the company confirmed.

Alexandre Cervinka, President & CEO of Newtrax, said the company has seen throughout the industry plenty of examples of separate vendors selling IoT devices that only work with their own software platform, leading to the generation of “islands of data”.

He continued: “However, the real power of data can only be unlocked with the customers’ ability to aggregate the data together to make insights that would not normally be seen. That is where the Newtrax Iot Hub comes in.”

Newtrax, which is run as an independent business unit within the division Rock Drills and Technologies in the business area Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, says it is committed to having an open architecture and will continue to interface with other vendors in the mining digital ecosystem.

The Newtrax news comes only a day after Sandvik said it was opening up its own automation platform for underground loaders and trucks to the wider mining industry through its AutoMine Access API system.

Sandvik unlocks ‘automation’s full potential’ with AutoMine Access API

Sandvik has opened its AutoMine® platform to the rest of the industry with what it says is the mining sector’s first interoperability platform for autonomous underground loaders and trucks.

The AutoMine Access API delivers on the company’s promise made earlier this year at Goldcorp’s #DisruptMining event and is the next step in Sandvik’s continued journey to “set the industry standard for mine automation and digitalisation”, it said.

The application programming interface (API) gives mines the power to connect non-Sandvik equipment to AutoMine – moving underground mining digitalisation even further, it said.

This interoperability move comes just over a year since

Patrick Murphy, President Rock Drills & Technologies, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, said: “As a world leader in underground automation, we have a responsibility to make this game-changing technology easier to implement for the mining industry.

“While we think customers will achieve the highest performance with Sandvik equipment, we recognise the need to unlock automation’s full potential for all equipment regardless of manufacturer. Customers with mixed fleets will now have the full power of AutoMine behind them.”

The AutoMine Access API is a standard set of pre-defined interfaces for connecting third-party loaders and trucks to AutoMine. This means a mixed fleet of underground loaders and trucks can now be managed and controlled with one seamless system.

“An API is a set of functions and procedures that allows the creation of applications that access the features or data of an operating system, application, or other service,” Sandvik said, adding that the third-party equipment is required to meet the AutoMine safety standards.

The API is another step in Sandvik’s journey to drive a digital ecosystem that makes mining smarter, safer and more productiv, it said.

In 2018, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology released its Interoperability Policy outlining how Sandvik systems can communicate within a digital ecosystem including data accessibility, fleet data compatibility, data rights and control, and data privacy.

The momentum continued in 2019 with the acquisition of Newtrax, a leader in wireless IoT connectivity for underground hard-rock mining, and the announcement that My Sandvik, Sandvik’s telemetry solution for machine health and productivity data, would also be available for non-Sandvik equipment.

“Sandvik has been leading the market in underground digitalisation for years, with thousands of pieces of equipment around the world connected to our digital technology,” Murphy said. “As more customers embark on their digital journeys, interoperability will be a requirement. We are proud to leverage our experience to drive digitalisation further in the mining industry.”

Sandvik opens up connections following Newtrax buy

Following the acquisition of Newtrax, Sandvik has announced that the My Sandvik telemetry offering will be extended, creating the opportunity to connect non-Sandvik fleet to the My Sandvik platform.

The move, which is expected to see the first non-Sandvik machine connected to My Sandvik via Newtrax technology in the December quarter, will be done in line with Sandvik’s Interoperability Policy, released in April 2018, it said.

The company explained: “Through solutions such as My Sandvik, OptiMine® and AutoMine®, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology has developed and deployed a leading suite of technology offerings to enable digitalisation of mining operations.

“These products and related services have proven to be extremely valuable in helping customers to improve safety, drive productivity to new levels and reduce costs.”

To date, Sandvik has connected well over 3,000 pieces of mobile equipment to My Sandvik, OptiMine and AutoMine, according to the company.

The company continued: “Although Sandvik has built an impressive portfolio of digital solutions, the first step of the digitalisation journey is often for customers to connect mobile assets through My Sandvik. This Sandvik telemetry solution provides significant, valuable operational insights and enables easy fact-based decision-making through the reporting and visualisation of machine health and productivity data.”

The acquisition of the digital mining technology company Newtrax, completed earlier this year, “strengthens Sandvik’s leading position in automation and digitalisation”, the company said. “The digital tools for analysing and optimising mining production and processes, in combination with Newtrax’s leading technology in wireless IoT connectivity, provide the customer with a streamlined digital solution regardless of the origin of their fleet.”

Michaël Bruninx, VP Parts & Services Commercial, says: “We regard mixed fleet interoperability to be the next logical step for the My Sandvik platform. While we believe Sandvik has the best products within our scope of offering, mixed fleets at our customers’ mine sites are a reality.

“We’ve formed an impressive foundation with Sandvik machines at over 170 mine sites around the world connected to My Sandvik. Now those customers, and new ones, will be able to leverage My Sandvik telemetry reporting across their entire fleets, regardless of brand.”