Tag Archives: Nokia

VTT, Nokia, Sandvik on board with 5G-powered underground mining research project

VTT, Nokia and Sandvik, recognising the potential of faster network coverage for unlocking efficiencies in mining for improved productivity, safety, environmental sustainability and global competitiveness, are to collaborate in a 5G-powered research project on next generation underground mining technology.

These benefits will be realised through the introduction of next generation mining technology, including autonomous, connected machinery, digital automation and advanced analytics for real-time situational awareness and control, to enable safety, productivity and sustainability improvements in mining operations.

Next Generation Mining (NGMining ), is, the partners say, a new project, funded by Business Finland, bringing together industrial 5G private networks, edge computing and artificial intelligence (AI) technology-based solutions to enable digital transformation in mining.

The goal of the NGMining project is to build proof of concept experimental systems to evaluate integrated connectivity solutions to be tested in harsh underground mining environments. The objectives pertaining to the 5G network infrastructure cover spectrum usage in the underground mining environment, 5G modems integrated in relevant machinery and user equipment, and edge computing. Identified challenges include: understanding signal behaviour in underground environments, harsh environments for ­“HW”, and network design requirements to ensure underground connectivity with respect to bandwidth, frequency range, latency, reliability and scalability.

By engaging with key industry players in the mining segment, the intention is to drive joint experiments for mining digitalisation. The target is to develop a mine-compliant connectivity infrastructure, with integrated solutions that incorporate safety and tracking technologies and AI enablers, for safe and efficient operation of autonomous connected working machines in underground mines.

Project phases include use case definition for autonomous machinery in mining, solution evaluation via testing platforms with 4G/5G wireless capabilities, selection of most value-added results for development and commercialisation, and pilot implementations in operational customer mines.

Finland’s unique industry ecosystem enables creation and piloting of technologies, solutions and business models, and the partnership will continue to grow as it takes on new challenges and additional partners, both domestic and international, according to VTT.

VTT is coordinating the joint R&D project with Nokia and Sandvik as the leading industry experts.

Sauli Eloranta, Vice President, Safe and Connected Society, VTT, said that the organisation would support all project partners by coordinating the project.

In its research, VTT is applying and further strengthening the competences related to telecommunication technology, situational awareness, sensor technologies, edge computing and AI on new application areas in a mining context, Eloranta added.

Jarkko Pellikka, Director, Nokia Unlocking Industrial 5G program, said: “Collaboration across the ecosystem is essential for developing winning technology solutions that will meet productivity and sustainability targets and capture global market share in the growing mining business.”

Miika Kaski, Commercialisation and Networks Lead at Sandvik, said the OEM was conducting research on 5G connectivity use cases in the mining environment and the NGMining consortium would help facilitate this with its network partners.

The NGMining project is also collaborating with the Sustainable Industries X initiative, as the results on autonomous connected working machines can also be exploited in other industries.

The two- year NGMining project kicked off in May 2021, and also includes input from the University of Oulu as a research partner, as well as company partners Epec, SATEL, Huld, Terrasolid, Outsight, Etteplan, Noptel, Unikie, Iiwari, Millisecond and Wizense ja Indagon. The project advisory board includes representatives from Outokumpu and Agnico Eagle, Telia 5G Business, Kalmar and Ponsse.

Nokia teams up with Speedcast to improve connectivity in remote locations

Communications and IT services provider, Speedcast International Ltd, has signed a long-term agreement with Nokia to deploy its industrial-grade private wireless solutions globally via the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud.

Through this new collaboration, Speedcast is providing remote backhaul, data and voice connectivity to enterprise customers, covering areas up to a radius of 30 km and supporting hundreds of users from a single cell, it said. The network will also support critical, high-bandwidth applications with low latency requirements.

Stephan Litjens, GM Digital Automation at Nokia, said: “Nokia Digital Automation Cloud meets stringent requirements across multiple industries to deliver network coverage, capacity, mobility, reliability, quality of service and security, while connecting a wide variety of devices. By integrating with Speedcast we can significantly improve local connectivity in remote locations.”

Nokia’s 5G-ready Digital Automation Platform provides industrial-grade high-bandwidth private wireless networks – both outdoors and deep indoors – to increase efficiency and productivity for industry verticals, including manufacturing, supply chain, mining, utilities, oil and gas, as well as large enterprise compounds outside of standard cellular connectivity.

Acting as a private wireless network that brings IoT to enterprises, the Nokia private LTE/ 4.9G solution opens up new opportunities such as smart manufacturing, predictive maintenance, remote operations, and machine-to-machine communication, in addition to critical-voice and data solutions. Nokia’s cloud solution provides high reliability and security in any challenging conditions, according to the company. Leveraging the future-proof solution, users can scale up and down according to changing needs, while the solution also provides for flexible business models to suit the enterprise requirements.

Combining the power of the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud with Speedcast core connectivity options – including C-band, Ku-band, Ka-band, MEO and LEO backhaul – will increase the reach of several Speedcast products, including:

  • Speedcast IoT Solutions: with LTE-enabled devices solutions from the Speedcast IoT portfolio, customers can connect to headquarter locations and the internet. The cloud-based Speedcast IoT Center provides lifecycle support of LTE as well as satellite devices and offers customers full deployment and management capabilities of IoT devices on Nokia private LTE networks at scale;
  • Speedcast Speedtalk: the Speedtalk voice app allows users to capture live footage from remote sites and provides instant communications with remote teams. Private LTE/ 4.9G will extend the coverage of remote camp areas further compared with standard Wi-Fi, allowing for better access to Speedtalk via smartphone apps. In addition, private wireless networks will enable superior QoS and high-speed mobility; and
  • IPTV: the Nokia Private LTE solution will also provide higher bandwidth capacity for Speedcast’s IPTV solutions to handheld devices.

Chris Hill, Chief Technology Officer at Speedcast, said: “Nokia Digital Automation Cloud is a plug-and-play platform optimised for low latency and ultra-reliability, which are critical factors for remote communications. Bringing this technology to our customers’ remote sites will enable the use of bandwidth-intensive and low-latency solutions such as CCTV video analytics, drone surveillance, and personnel push to video applications.

“This is a game-changer for customers who need to keep personnel safe and operations running efficiently in hard-to-reach locations such as the energy and mining sectors.”

Nokia’s Jadoul on keeping miners safe amid COVID-19

Workplace safety is a major objective of every mining company on the planet, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, for the first time perhaps, the primary danger may simply be getting too close while talking to our fellow team members, Marc Jadoul*, Strategic Marketing Director at Nokia, says.

In the mining industry, we are going to have to adapt our business practices to accommodate the current pandemic, and we have to be better prepared for similar events in the future. The pandemic has led to a re-thinking of certain safety protocols, procedures and personal protection, and it is accelerating the adoption of recent innovations that will improve workplace safety in other ways as well.

As the world has re-opened the economy, organisations such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in the US and the World Health Organization (WHO) have published recommendations for how to operate manufacturing and other business operations while still practicing social distancing and other aspects of workplace safety. These include having office employees telework where possible, staggering shifts to reduce the number of workers using lunch, break and washrooms at the same time, increasing physical space between employees in the workplace, wearing masks and even downsizing operations if necessary.

Given COVID-19’s ability to be spread by individuals who do not show symptoms, it is generally acknowledged that tracking contacts will be a key way to identify those who might have been exposed to a sick employee. Knowing the cost to the business of having to shut down a facility due to illness, management will need to work with public health authorities to implement practices that allow for the quick identification of suspected contacts, allow for testing and quarantine of workers in the case of an outbreak in their operation and, in some jurisdictions, be able to show compliance with these practices.

Marc Jadoul, Strategic Marketing Director at Nokia

The technologies needed to do this are not so far away. In fact, they already exist in industries where operating environments have residual risks or require robust control measures in ways that are similar to what will be needed to protect people from contracting the virus. Some of these practices have already been implemented in mines as well as nuclear facilities and high-tech chip fabricators. With some adaptation, it is not hard to see how these technologies can be adapted more broadly to make the mine workplace of the future nearly virus-free.

From a larger safety management perspective, the ultimate goal is to create a real-time, dynamic picture of what is happening with people, assets and environmental conditions at all times – what is known as ‘situational awareness’. It is crucial for conducting forensic analysis to understand the pattern of interactions and identify possible transmission paths so as to limit exposure and trigger remediation protocols, including testing and quarantining. Much of this already exists, but simply needs to be adapted to the current outbreak.

The ultimate objective of situational awareness is having 360° visibility of people, assets, infrastructure and environmental conditions. Because what you don’t see, you can’t manage. Which is important, not only for saving lives, but also for preventing productivity losses and increasing operational efficiency.

This full digital awareness of everything going on in the workplace is the main thrust of Industry 4.0, which brings together several technology streams: low-powered IoT sensors, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, edge computing and next-generation wireless connectivity. These technologies combine to allow for the automation of repetitive processes, improved efficiency of operations, preventative maintenance of assets, quality control and enhanced situational awareness.

Applying these technologies to deal with COVID-19 will help to solve many of the new workplace constraints identified above. For instance, there are types of digital smart personal protective equipment (PPE) that incorporate wearable sensors and communications devices. They communicate with the operations control centre and could be used to trace employee movements, enforce geo-fenced areas deemed too dangerous for entry, or sense environmental contaminants and warn employees who have had excessive exposure to leave the area and follow decontamination protocols.

With some small adjustments, smart PPE and wearables could be deployed in many operations to enforce safe distancing between employees, using software to digitally map out work zones. They could warn employees when they are entering crowded areas or no-go zones. They could improve safety and efficiency during mustering and evacuation. And they could also enable management to forensically track past exposure of employees to those who have tested positive for the virus.

With the ongoing spread of COVID-19, mining companies need to find ways to enforce physical distancing among miners in order to keep operations open and miners safe

If sifting through location data for all the employees in a large mine sounds like a nightmare, this is where AI comes to the rescue. Sophisticated analytics software already exists that can analyse location data to look for correlations. It isn’t much of a stretch to adapt this software to smart PPE data that tracks worker movements in the facility – as long as unions and laws allow for it. This kind of software also exists to analyse video footage from CCTV cameras. All of this analysis can be used to trace infection vectors and to re-assure health authorities that protocols are being enforced on the job site.

One of the important enablers of Industry 4.0 use cases is the existence of highly reliable, secure wireless connectivity. The key to end-to-end awareness of operations is ubiquitous connectivity. Because of privacy concerns, that connectivity should be very secure. To support video and the large amount of data that can be generated within a fully automated facility, it also has to have bandwidth capacity as well as be able to support low latency edge computing. Geo-positioning and geo-fencing services for employees and mobile machines need more precise coordinates than can be provided by GPS – and need to work underground and in-building as well as on surface.

Delivering all these essential capabilities is fortunately available with today’s 4.9G/LTE and tomorrow’s 5G industrial wireless networks. Early generation wireless technologies, such as Wi-Fi, were designed for connectivity to best-effort networks. They are not highly reliable, secure or capable of providing mobility and geo-positioning services. Cellular-based 4G services, on the other hand, have been used in public mobile networks for a decade and have never been compromised. 5G is designed to be even more secure and has a number of features, like ultra-low latency, that are specifically intended for industrial automation use cases.

COVID-19 is likely to be a reality we have to live with for several years. If we are lucky and develop a vaccine quickly, it may be a short-term problem. But the scientists have been warning us about the possibility of pandemics of this nature for decades. This will not be the last. The good news is that the same Industry 4.0 technologies that are transforming our workplaces can be harnessed in this fight. Industrial IoT, edge computing, AI/machine learning and industrial-strength wireless networking will play a key role in ensuring the safety of our workers and our ability to come out of this crisis stronger than before.

*Marc Jadoul leads Nokia’s marketing efforts for the mining industry, working with key stakeholders across the business to evangelise digital technologies for creating safer, more efficient and productive mines

Solidium invests in Nokian Tyres as production growth starts to kick in

Finland-based Solidium Oy has confirmed the acquisition of 5.1% of Nokian Tyres for approximately €205 million ($233 million).

The shares have been acquired from the market over the last few months, the company said. Following the share purchases, Nokian Tyres represents around 3% of Solidium’s equity investments, totalling some €8.1 billion. Solidium is a holding company wholly owned by the State of Finland and a minority owner in “nationally important” listed companies.

Solidium’s CEO, Antti Mäkinen, said Nokian Tyres had successfully executed its niche strategy in the global tyre market over a long period.

“The company has promising growth opportunities at its hand owing to the greenfield investment in its third production factory, which is being built in Dayton, USA, and the investment to increase production capacity in its factory in Nokia, Finland.

“Due to these reasons, we believe Nokian Tyres has excellent foundation to create value for its shareholders. In addition, the investment done by Solidium strengthens and stabilises Finnish ownership in the company.”

In addition to providing tyres for commercial vehicles, Nokian’s Heavy Tyres division provides specialist tyres that minimise unscheduled maintenance breaks and maximise productivity in mining and tunnelling operations.

Komatsu’s FrontRunner autonomous haulage system and Nokia make mining LTE history

Komatsu America Corp’s FrontRunner autonomous haulage system (AHS) has achieved a mining industry first, after the system qualified to operate on private long-term evolution (LTE) mobile broadband technology.

This makes it the sector’s first AHS enabled to run on private LTE in commercial operations, paving the way for ultra-high system availability and reliability, while adhering to Komatsu’s renowned safety standards, the company said.

Komatsu’s FrontRunner AHS allows unmanned operation of ultra-class mining trucks. It delivers significant benefits, including reduced worker exposure to harm, protocols designed to constantly improve mine-site safety, reduced operating costs, and increased productivity and efficiency. The company completed a year-long qualification programme at the company’s proving grounds in Tucson, Arizona, conducting extensive testing of the FrontRunner AHS on Nokia’s Future X infrastructure, a leading provider of private LTE communication solutions for the mining industry.

Komatsu said: “Mining operators demand wireless networks with high-availability, seamless mobility, world-class quality of service, and the ability to support multiple applications and services simultaneously. Accordingly, the industry is moving away from less predictable wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi, and towards private LTE networks, that improve security, capacity, and overall performance within a multi-application environment.”

Luiz Steinberg, Komatsu Global Officer and President/CEO of Modular Mining Systems, said: “This industry milestone represents a key step in Komatsu’s exploration of private LTE and highlights Nokia’s role as the leading global supplier of mission-critical solutions and services for the mining industry.

“As the leader in autonomous haulage technology, we are firmly on our way to helping the industry move the next billion tons of material with autonomous technology. We have come together with Nokia to further this vision of delivering increased value to the mining industry.”

Kathrin Buvac, President of Nokia Enterprise, said: “We are excited to be engaging the mining automation market with Komatsu, a powerhouse in the industry, to further highlight the benefits of Future X for mining companies as a strategic advantage in their operations.

“Private LTE is a key element in the Nokia Bell Labs Future X architecture to help industries, such as mining, create an intelligent, dynamic, high-performance network that increases the safety, productivity and efficiency of their business.”

Komatsu pioneered the first AHS for the mining industry with a commercial deployment in 2008 at Codelco’s Gabriela Mistral (Gaby) copper mine in Chile. In November, the company’s FrontRunner AHS system marked the movement of 2 billion tons (1.81 Bt) of surface material moved.

Sandvik and Nokia team up to offer miners LTE and 5G networks

Sandvik has signed an agreement with Nokia to further develop solutions for private LTE (Long Term Evolution) and 5G technology, continuing its focus on IoT solutions for the mining industry.

The Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (NDAC) platform offers pervasive connectivity enabling advanced applications and will initially be implemented and tested in the Sandvik test mine in Tampere, Finland, Sandvik said.

“Sandvik’s decades-long work in automation has grown to include robust data analytics and process optimisation offerings, where connectivity and local computing power are crucial. Applications requiring high capacity and low latency are becoming increasingly important,” the company said.

“Private LTE networks bring reliable and secure high capacity, low latency and wide coverage mobile broadband to serve mission and business critical industrial connectivity needs and offer a variety of terminals, sensors and other devices,” Sandvik added.

The Nokia digital automation platform will operate both underground and in open-pit mines and offers a flexible connectivity platform for testing and developing Sandvik technology, according to Sandvik. “This network enables operation of autonomous vehicles, real-time monitoring of underground and outdoor premises to keep people and equipment safe, remote diagnostics and predictive maintenance, as well as asset management, control and authentication,” the company said.

Riku Pulli, Vice President, Automation, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, said: “Our cooperation with Nokia is another important part of our strategy to develop open, interoperable solutions for future mining needs. Enhanced connectivity is critical for smarter and safer underground operations, and we’re proud to work with Nokia to develop these enhanced connectivity options for our test mine and mining industry going forward.”

Stephan Litjens, General Manager, Nokia Digital Automation, said: ”Pairing Sandvik solutions with 5G-ready NDAC architecture has proven to be an excellent match. We are truly motivated to continue collaborating to develop technology that meets the requirements of the often-harsh conditions they operate in – be it moist, hot, cold, and/or dusty.”

Sandvik’s Pulli concluded: “Sandvik is a leader in mine automation and digitalisation, and Nokia offers leading technology in wireless connectivity. Together, we create innovative solutions for mining customers.”

Recently Agnico Eagle Mines, which is pilot testing automated mining using the Sandvik AutoMine system at its La Ronde Zone 5 mine, confirmed it would install an LTE network at the operation in Quebec, Canada.