Tag Archives: Optimine

Sandvik looks to an open, interoperable and automation-ready future

To fully step into Industry 4.0 and realise the transformative power of solutions such as automation, artificial intelligence and advanced analytics requires a change in the way that mining data is handled and utilised from one system to the next, according to the Sandvik Rotary Drilling Division (part of Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions).

Programs that are designed to fully integrate with those from other vendors will not only deliver efficiency and cost benefits today, but also help mining houses transition into powerhouses of the future, it says.

As mining organisations have adopted digital solutions over the past 30 years, each company, down to the individual mine, has selected solutions that fit their mining style, commodity, workforce and processes. Due to the shift of professionals from one organisation to another, the different processes used for each commodity, and the introduction of new technologies, commonalities between digital products differ from operation to operation.

While some OEMs see this variability as an opportunity to close off third-party access to data and push their own digital agenda, Sandvik Rotary Drilling Division sees the sharing of data, connectivity and technology access as the next logical step to moving the industry, as a whole, forward.

Demetre Harris, Product Manager for Automation & Technology, said: “While there is much talk about systems interoperability and the benefits it could deliver in mining, it’s still in the early stages. Most vendors are still reluctant to allow others direct access to their technologies and generated data.”

Many vendors claim to offer application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow their solutions to share data with third-party systems, however there are often links missing which prevent true integration or mean that assistance from the vendor is required, according to the company.

“There are no standard APIs,” Harris explained. “For a third party to integrate its solution with an OEM platform or vice versa, it must develop custom code. The only way that happens today is if a customer can persuade the vendor to do the work.”

Understandably, miners are wary of locking themselves out of future purchasing decisions because their equipment may not be able to communicate properly with other systems.

Challenges and opportunities

When systems are unable to share data automatically, operators must resort to manual data handling and reporting. This is slow and tedious for staff and open to inaccuracies. Systems may also report data in different ways.

For example, key performance indicators (KPIs) can be computed differently between drilling solutions. One system may refer to utilisation as the time that the drill is operational, whether drilling, tramming or leveling, while another may calculate utilisation as the time during which an operator is onboard the drill. The challenge lies in integrating that information and drawing timely insights from it.

If machines and systems cannot ‘talk’ to one another, then safety conflicts could also arise making it difficult to operate the machines in the same environment, the company said. From an automation perspective, the ability for OEM systems to communicate with third-party solutions allows teams to mine safer and reduces the need for change management.

“Without interoperability and data sharing, the case for efficiency drops severely,” Harris added. “Not all operations are at a point where they’re ready to connect their systems together. Some mines may not have the infrastructure yet, but it’s going to be increasingly important going forward.”

Interoperability can provide huge efficiency and productivity gains across the value chain. For example, data generated during drilling can be used to improve blast profiles and optimise burden and hole spacing, which lowers explosive costs. Better blasting also improves fragmentation which lowers energy consumption downstream in crushing and grinding.

The blast arc can be positively affected when leveraging data, according to Sandvik

 

“Each department has its own performance targets and goals,” Harris explained. “If we can better integrate the programs that each team uses, then those processes can be optimised, and efficiencies realised across the entire operation.

“The more freely data can flow from one process to the next, the better prepared each department can be to handle changes originating from the orebody.”

Open data, open mind

True interoperability requires more than just data sharing. If systems are to be fully integrated, then the companies developing them must make interoperability a pillar of their designs and processes, according to the Sandvik Rotary Drilling Division.

Sandvik firmly believes that interoperability and data sharing are key to future efficiencies in mining, and the company is open to working with any third party to provide access to its data-rich technologies.

“We offer several levels of integration,” Harris explained. “From the sharing of data from our iSeries drill rigs into third-party solutions installed onboard our rotary drills, to API integrations with office and cloud solutions. There are multiple ways to connect and access our data so that it can be fed to other mining processes, including planning, blasting and mineral extraction.

“Ultimately, we’re open to discussing all forms of integration and interoperability,” he added. “If we work together, it provides better value for the customer, for Sandvik and for the industry as a whole.”

Designed for today and tomorrow

An example of this value can be seen in Sandvik’s latest integrations: one mining organisation asked the company to allow its blast solutions provider access to Sandvik’s iSeries Rotary Drills measurement-while-drilling (MWD) data. Using that data, the provider was able to calculate the hardness of the ground and determine the correct quantity of explosives and the best blasting sequence to fragment the ground, minimising both waste and blast costs.

The visualisation of MWD data

“The solutions that we’re developing now are designed for future data sharing and interoperability,” Harris explained. “That’s the case with the newest version of OptiMine® for Surface which will be released later this year.

“Some of the data that’s provided through our APIs today may not be needed but, as new integrations and capabilities arise, systems may require it. We’re building our solutions in a way that makes them futureproof.”

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 bolsters Toro underground loader range with the Toro LH307

Sandvik has added a new loader to its rapidly expanding Toro™ family, with the Toro LH307.

In addition to featuring a multitude of design updates and new options to both hardware and software, the Toro LH307 loader also carries more tonnes than its predecessor, the 6.7 t Sandvik LH307, with the new model’s payload capacity increased to 7 t when equipped with the standard 3 cu.m bare lip bucket.

Among the new options designed to improve productivity are, for example, the Sandvik integrated weighing system IWS and traction control, both already available for the larger Sandvik loaders. The integrated weighing system measures the payload when lifting the boom, as well as the number of buckets filled during a shift, and records the results to My Sandvik Digital Services Knowledge Box™. Payload monitoring assists in maximising productivity by optimising loads, reducing overloading and helping to identify training needs. The traction control system reduces wheel slippage when penetrating to the muck pile and filling the bucket, extending tire lifetime and decreasing rubber waste.

As part of upgrading the 7 t loader, specific attention has been applied to digitalisation readiness. The loader has benefitted from control system upgrades, including 7 in touch screen colour display for the operator as standard.

The loader has been designed for use with AutoMine®, Sandvik’s advanced mining automation system for increased safety, productivity and reduced cost. AutoMine integration can be achieved by ordering an optional on-board package for the new loader for immediate autonomous use, or by selecting the automation-readiness option, allowing easy retrofitting of AutoMine later in the loader’s lifetime. Sandvik OptiMine®, also available as an option, delivers descriptive and predictive insights to improve operations and data analytics.

To serve varying customer and country specific needs, two 160 kW engine alternatives are available, both from Volvo Penta. The standard engine is an 8-litre EU Stage III A, capable of operating on diesel fuels with up to 3,000 parts per million sulphur content, whereas the optional EU Stage IV requires ultra-low sulphur diesel fuel.

The Stage III A engine also has an optional passive diesel particulate filter exhaust reduction system. To reduce emissions and consumption of fossil fuel, both engines can also use paraffinic fuel, thereby meeting EN 15940 requirements.

Sandvik merges automation, cable electrification and battery tech with Toro LH514BE

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions has merged three of its established technologies into one loader with the Toro™ LH514BE. This loader is an AutoMine® compatible cable-electric loader, boosted with battery technology.

The Toro LH514BE, which IM first talked about in 2020, looks like a traditional electric loader while in operation, with a trailing cable connected to the mine electric grid, but the technology is not “ordinary”, Sandvik says.

“When this loader needs to be moved to another area or to the maintenance bay, the difference is clearly visible: the power cable is disconnected from the electric grid,” the company explains. “While the operator drives the loader to the new location, Toro LH514BE gets its power solely from its battery. This battery-assist enables easy relocating and suitability for ramp drive.”

One of the noteworthy features of the new loader is the elimination of refuelling or recharging stops. There is no diesel engine that would require fuelling, and the battery does not need to be swapped because it is recharging during operation.

The loader produces no exhaust emissions and significantly less heat than conventional equipment based on combustion, supporting mines in improving sustainability by reducing CO2 emissions, Sandvik says. As a battery chemistry, the Toro LH514BE uses lithium-iron phosphate chemistry, which, the company says, is a fit-for-purpose choice for underground mining environments.

The Toro LH514BE is available with Sandvik’s automation system AutoMine, which allows a fleet of equipment to be converted into an autonomous production system, providing significant safety and productivity improvements for mine operations. The Toro LH514BE can be delivered with AutoMine, or the system can be easily retrofitted later during the loader’s lifetime.

As standard, the loader features Sandvik’s intelligent control system and a 7-in touchscreen display, providing easy access to data. General battery health and status monitoring data, as well as battery charge information, is also available on the control system diagnostics. As usual in Sandvik’s large loaders, the integrated weighing system option measures payload data and records the results to My Sandvik Digital Services Knowledge Box™. The Knowledge Box transfers the data to the My Sandvik internet portal for visualisation of fleet health, productivity and utilisation. The OptiMine® solution can also use transferred data for improving mining process efficiency.

Sandvik celebrates 50 years of the Toro load and haul heritage

Sandvik is celebrating the 50th birthday of its renowned Toro™ family of loaders and trucks for underground hard-rock mines.

This name has been recognised for decades, with the bull figure and the word Toro symbolising both a rich history and a promising future, Sandvik says.

The history of the bull at Sandvik dates to September 3, 1971, when the first Toro loader started its engine in Tampere, Finland. It was a Toro 100DH loader with a “massive” (at the time) 1.5-t carry capacity. Later on, the design and production facilities moved to Turku, which became the home base of the Toro family.

In 2020, after 15 years of dormancy, Sandvik reintroduced this old family name again.

“Today, the Toro family is characterised by design principles of safety, strength and intelligence,” Sandvik says.

“Safety is everything for those who work underground with heavy equipment, and it is the number one driver in the product design.

“In addition to safety of operators and maintenance personnel, the design needs to be sound from a sustainability perspective. Strength and power are at the very heart of the old Toro heritage and robust design, reliability and performance in the most demanding conditions are also the foundations for the current offering.

“The third element, being smart, evolves quickly. Sophisticated digital systems such as Sandvik’s AutoMine® and OptiMine® offerings are fine examples of intelligence, but smart solutions are needed all over the equipment, including operator ergonomics, easy maintenance access and component layouts.”

On August 31, Sandvik introduced a new i-series 15 t loader, the Toro™ LH515i, which was launched in Canada.

The Toro family includes loaders and trucks in all size classes and for all market areas. The key technologies are diesel-powered loaders and trucks, cable-electric loaders, and, as a newcomer, a battery-assisted loader that, according to Sandvik, is making an entry on the marketplace very soon.

Sandvik bolsters Toro LHD line up with LH515i

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions says it is launching a new, higher-capacity 15-t size class loader as a next generation model for the current 14-t Sandvik LH514.

The 15-t Toro™ LH515i has one tonne greater capacity than its predecessor, yet it is designed to operate within the same footprint. This new member of the Toro family has been redesigned from the ground up, leveraging all of the benefits of its predecessor, while improving the design based on customer feedback, according to the company.

The new loader has been designed following the principles of intelligence and simplicity, Sandvik says. The Toro LH515i features a totally new Sandvik intelligent control system with 12-in touchscreen colour display, making loader health monitoring easy, providing quick access to data and enabling new solutions for efficient troubleshooting, the company says.

“With a multitude of smart technologies and optimised for use with Sandvik’s AutoMine® and OptiMine® systems, Toro LH515i brings digitalisation to the operator’s fingertips, enabling optimal productivity,” Sandvik says. “To ensure quick and efficient maintenance, the loader features easy access to service points, roomy component layout organised to facilitate servicing and excellent access to systems, both in the cabin and on top of the equipment.”

The loader features an entirely new cabin designed to provide an ergonomic working environment for operators during long shifts, including increased leg space, new seat and dashboard and improved visibility over the extremely flat rear frame of the loader.

The Toro LH515i is available with two different engine configurations from Volvo Penta: the 265 kW Stage V diesel engine, and the 256 kW Tier III engine.

Equipped with selective catalytic reduction exhaust gas technology and a new diesel particulate filter, the Stage V configuration meets very stringent emission regulations. To further help to reduce their greenhouse gas footprint, both versions of engines are fully compatible with paraffinic diesel fuels meeting the EN 15940 standard, Sandvik says.

The launch of the new loader is part of Sandvik celebrating the 50-year journey of Toro loaders and trucks.

Sandvik Technology Centre starts to unlock mine site productivity in southern Africa

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions’ newly launched technology centre in Harare, Zimbabwe, is, the company says, assisting the region’s mining industry on a journey into the digital future.

The Sandvik Technology Centre has already begun working with technology-focused customers in underground hard-rock mines locally to raise the productivity bar. According to Sandvik Technology Centre Manager, Hosea Molife, the facility’s key aim is to use digital technology to make mines safer and more productive.

“Our starting point was an OptiMine implementation for the monitoring and tracking of underground mobile equipment and customer support for a MySandvik project,” Molife says.

He explains that hardware is installed on the equipment, together with the software, to gather and transmit operational data, allowing mine management to view equipment location and productivity at any time. The data is automatically analysed giving the customer decision-making dashboards.

Ian Bagshaw, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions Territory Manager, says the technologies employed by the company essentially ‘take the lid off’ the mine, revealing vital real-time information such as tonnes mined and holes drilled. The technology centre can make use of various Sandvik solutions to render the data useful to the customer. These include MySandvik for equipment monitoring using up-to-date information, OptiMine for integrating resources and optimising processes and AutoMine for automating mining activities.

Bagshaw highlighted that the Sandvik Technology Centre has been welcomed by technology-focused customers in the region.

“These customers are certainly leading the way globally in the platinum mining sector,” he says. “There is a strong safety element in the digital journey, as machine automation can help keep operators away from the workface and other potentially hazardous areas of the mine.”

There are already three projects underway at the technology centre, according to Molife. The MySandvik solution is being provided to 100 machines on one site, while OptiMine is being installed on a 76-unit fleet and AutoMine is initially being used to create a trucking loop for a single unit pilot project.

“The beauty of our facility is that it can be quickly ramped up as demand grows, allowing us to serve a growing customer base as mines see the practical value of applying digital technology,” Bagshaw says. There has been considerable interest expressed by the region’s mines to date, with potential projects for the technology Centre emerging in South Africa, Botswana and possibly further afield.

According to Bagshaw, applying Sandvik’s digital solutions is the beginning of a journey for mines, as they move away from paper-based and static data platforms.

“In addition to installing the hardware and software to generate real-time data for mines, we also work closely with customers on how best to utilise the reports,” he says. “Building these reports into their daily operations and real-time decision making will bring the productivity value add.”

Sandvik expands battery-electric drill range with new top hammer DL422iE

Sandvik is continuing to grow its battery-electric equipment offering, launching its fully automated and electric driveline-equipped DL422iE top hammer longhole drill.

The driveline system on the new rig eliminates diesel emissions while tramming, increasing productivity while reducing environmental impact and fostering a healthier work environment, the company says.

Back in October after Sandvik’s Innovation in Mining virtual event, the company confirmed to IM that it was testing a battery-equipped prototype DL422iE unit in Canada ahead of a planned launch in the March quarter of 2021.

The zero-emission Sandvik DL422iE joins the Sandvik DD422iE as the company’s second battery-driven underground drill, with the company expecting to offer a full range of battery-tramming rigs covering all underground drilling applications by the end of 2021.

The new Sandvik DL422iE is designed for underground mass mining in 4 x 4 m or larger production drifts. It features the latest intelligent technology to enable continuous and unmanned operation, with automation and teleremote for drilling during shift changes and breaks, Sandvik says. Through these and other features, combined with data collection and transfer through wireless networks, the Sandvik DL422iE helps to ensure improved equipment utilisation and productivity.

The new longhole drill is capable of drilling vertical and inclined fans and single or parallel Ø89-127 mm long holes up to 54 m in depth using ST58 and ST68 tube rods. It is equipped with the powerful 33 kW HF1560ST longhole rock drill, which is based on a proven concept in terms of drilling capacity, reliability and operating cost, the company said.

With an impact frequency of 40-45 Hz and optimised percussion dynamics for ST68 tubes, the Sandvik DL422iE delivers optimal bit-to-rock contact for improved energy transfer, according to Sandvik. This leads to decreased stress level in rock tools, lower coupling/front housing temperatures and extended service life for shank adaptor and tube.

As standard, the Sandvik DL422iE is equipped with Sandvik’s Platinum drilling automation package for continuous and automated production drilling. This is combined with the i-Class iSOLO drilling control system to maximise productivity and enhance accuracy in drilling fans and parallel long holes. “It acts as a full-time stinger control and is used in uploading drill plans to the control system, with drill plan management direct at the user interface to ensure one-hole automation drilling to a predefined depth,” Sandvik says. “Furthermore, feed and boom positioning to the next hole are automatic, while data is transferred via WLAN ethernet connection.”

In addition to the standard Platinum package, the Sandvik DL422iE can be equipped with an optional automatic bit changer, enabling autonomous drilling of complete fans and working through shift changes.

On top of being equipped with MySandvik remote monitoring, units can also be integrated with AutoMine® and OptiMine®, providing multi-unit control and fan-to-fan remote tramming, Sandvik says.

“As the industry’s focus on sustainability increases, Sandvik’s latest drilling solutions specifically address the challenge of providing enhanced operational drilling performance combined with reduced emissions,” the company explained.

The Sandvik DL422iE is mounted on a C400E 4-wheel drive frame steered carrier equipped with an electric driveline system (battery package and electric motor) for zero diesel emissions and reduced operating costs. The batteries can be charged during drilling in a newly patented feature, while electric power can be drawn from the electrical supply system from the mine’s network.

“[The] Sandvik DL422iE helps mines reduce overall emissions and ventilation and fuel costs, and to create a healthier working environment,” Sandvik says. “Thanks to shorter cycle times and increased drilling capacity, [the] Sandvik DL422iE has the potential to help mines increase drilled meters per shift by up to 10%. Productivity can increase by up to 20% via improved equipment utilisation.”

The longhole drill is equipped with the ZR35 telescopic boom and horseshoe type boom support with telescopic jacks for maximum drilling stability, the most effective foundation for accurate longhole drilling in mass mining, according to Sandvik. The wide 3,000 mm total boom offset and 620 mm telescopic extension allows a pivot line height of 2,100 mm, which is typical for a wide range of mining methods.

The 360º feed roll-over, large boom tilt and swing angles ensure fan drilling versatility in 4 x 4 m or larger cross sections and, to ensure maximum accuracy in alignment, the boom is instrumented with electronic parallelism. An optional extended boom support allows for up to +/-45° feed tilt in drilling fans or long holes, which, Sandvik says, increases versatility in downhole drilling in stopes at the end of the orebody, in drilling long holes in the ore/waste contact and in slot raise drilling.

Net penetration rates with air-mist flushing are up to 15% higher on the Sandvik DL422iE when compared with water flushing, according to the company. The drill rig can be equipped with a CT80 onboard screw compressor (8 cu.m/min at 7 bar), which ensures efficient flushing and high net penetration rates. The use of the on-board air supply, meanwhile, is a cost-efficient alternative to mine air infrastructure or portable units, the company says.

Exyn and Sandvik OptiMine auto drone integration tested at Rupert Resources project

Exyn Technologies has announced the expansion of its strategic partnership with Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions to integrate its data into Sandvik’s analytics and process optimisation suite, OptiMine®.

By synthesising critical data and capabilities, Exyn and Sandvik are helping mining customers transform their underground operations to be safer, more productive and more efficient, the companies say.

Back in July, the two companies signed an agreement to work together “to provide efficient solutions for mapping and visioning underground mines, which will make a substantial difference when it comes to mine locations that are hazardous, hard to reach or conventionally time-consuming to survey and inspect”.

In the latest release, the two said: “Using Exyn’s industrial-grade autonomous drone, ExynAero, mining companies can harness completely pilotless flight to access impossible-to-reach data with maximum safety. The data collected is processed using Exyn’s on-board 3D mapping technology – powered by ExynAI – which is then integrated with Sandvik’s OptiMine Mine Visualizer solution for analysis and optimisation of underground mining production and process.”

The partnership allows mining customers to benefit from comprehensive underground aerial 3D mapping with progressive visualisation that increases overall transparency of mining operations – including for GPS-denied, hard-to-reach, or hazardous areas, or locations that would be time-consuming to survey and inspect using conventional methods, according to the companies.

Exyn and Sandvik deployed this integrated solution at gold exploration and development company Rupert Resources’ Pahtavaara project in Finland, using the ExynAero drone to autonomously create a 3D point cloud of an underground stope. This 3D data was then uploaded to Sandvik’s OptiMine Mine Visualizer and georeferenced to the CAD mine model for further analysis and visualisation.

David Hallett, Vice President, Business Unit Automation, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions, said: “This step in our partnership with Exyn is critical. Our teams have been working closely together to ensure the connection between Exyn and Sandvik’s systems would be seamless and easy for operators to use. When this feature gets rolled out to the market as part of OptiMine, it will allow our customers to analyse Exyn’s high-resolution, aerial maps in OptiMine.

“After this demonstration, we look forward to further developing our partnership and integrating our hardware and software systems in the coming months.”

Nader Elm, CEO and Co-Founder of Exyn Technologies, added: “We’re very proud to expand our partnership with Sandvik and to deliver the key benefits of safety and operational efficiency to all the humans involved in the mining industry.

“By offering world-class software and technology, we have given customers the ability to map areas underground they could never before reach. Our end goal is to be an integral part of fully autonomous mining operations and I’m confident that through our partnership with Sandvik, we’re one step closer.”

Exyn and Sandvik have more product integrations in the plans, they said.

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.”