Tag Archives: Optimine

De Beers taps Sandvik expertise for Venetia underground diamond mine transition

De Beers Group has ordered 19 units of high-tech equipment from Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology for its Venetia Underground Project (VUP), in South Africa.

According to Simon Andrews, Managing Director at Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology Southern Africa, the company will supply a range of intelligent equipment including LHDs, ADTs, twin-boom drill rigs, roof bolters and cable bolters. Amongst the advanced models are the 17 t LH517i and 21 t LH621i LHDs, 51 t TH551i ADTs, DD422i face drills, DS412i roof bolters and DS422i cable bolters.

Partnership will be the watchword in the technological collaboration between the global diamond leader and mining OEM.

South Africa’s largest diamond mine, Venetia has been mined as an open pit since 1992. De Beers Group is investing circa-$2 billion to start mining underground from 2022, extending the mine’s life beyond 2045. The VUP represents the biggest single investment in South Africa’s diamond industry in decades, according to the company.

Allan Rodel, Project Director of the VUP, says the use of new technology is critical in building the mine of the future and will ensure the safety of its people, as well as create unique employment opportunities.

He adds that the successful implementation of this technology holds the key to further improve the mine’s productivity and cost effectiveness, enabling the quality and accuracy required for precision mining. This will also provide real-time geospatially referenced data that supports digitalisation of processes and provide a wealth of data for analysis and continuous improvement.

The underground mine will use sublevel caving to extract material from its K01 and K02 orebodies. Initially the ore will be hauled to surface using a combination of underground and surface haul trucks. As the operation matures, the hauling systems will transition to an automated truck loop in combination with vertical shafts for steady state production.

Sandvik’s Andrews said: “As important as the equipment itself is, De Beers Group was looking to partner with a company who would support them through the VUP journey. Taking a mine from surface to underground has many challenges, including the change in operational philosophy.”

Andrews highlighted that change management processes are as crucial to success as the capacity and performance of the mining equipment. The implementation of the new technology is seldom a straightforward process, and always requires a collaborative effort.

“The expectation of the customer is for a strong relationship with a technology partner who will help them to apply, develop and fine-tune the systems they need, over a period of time,” he says. “This way, the technology is assured to deliver the safety, efficiency and other positive results that the new mine will demand.”

Andrews believes Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology leads the pack from a technology point of view, having introduced its intelligent i-Series machines to enhance remote operation capability. This advanced range combines automation with data management capacity, aligning with the philosophy that De Beers Group has applied to this world-class operation, which prioritises the safety of its people.

Also included in the package for VUP is the Sandvik OptiMine® control system which enables continuous process management and optimisation, focusing on key areas such as face utilisation and visualisation of the operation in near real time. Using data generated by the i Series machines, OptiMine helps mining operations to achieve the lowest operating costs and highest levels of productivity.

Andrews noted that Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology is not new to the Venetia site, having worked with Venetia’s surface operations for some years, providing tools for drilling as part of a performance contract.

“We’ve been following the VUP with great interest and were ideally placed to contribute as we have extensive South African experience with mining customers in transitioning from opencast to underground,” he said. “This has involved providing equipment, implementing the systems and getting a full operation running with the latest equipment.”

He added: “Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology has successfully completed numerous large and ambitious projects, and it reflects our experience in applying automation technologies from first principles. The learnings from these projects will be seen in the VUP as the mining systems are rolled out. We will take the very latest technology and assist the mine to implement it in an underground environment through a collaborative approach using local skills and supporting it from a local base of expertise.”

He emphasises that the automation will be applied through a phased approach, beginning with manual operation and closely monitoring performance through data analytics. Automation can be gradually introduced with the necessary training and experience, ensuring consistency of operation which is the key to success.

“This will allow costs to be driven steadily lower, using the data from the operation of the fleet to guide the transition to automation,” he says. “We will work with the mine to introduce automation and further data management as work progresses deeper into the mine, and as mine employees become more comfortable with this way of working.”

Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology (soon to be Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions) is geared to support the trackless systems implemented at the mine through the full lifecycle of the machines by supplying spare parts, tooling and components from an on-site Vendor Managed Inventory stockroom and its other South African based facilities.

Sandvik overcomes COVID-19 challenges to continue machine, solutions commissioning

Despite the travel restriction difficulties associated with COVID-19, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology says it has found novel and innovative solutions to overcoming these challenges, ensuring the company maintains its leading positions in the automation and digitalisation fields.

Considering the company first introduced automation solutions into its product offering some 15 years ago and digital technologies 10 years ago, it has been leading the way in helping the mining industry adopt and embrace the modernisation revolution.

“The African mining industry has traditionally shied away from embracing new technologies, but COVID-19 has been the push factor in accelerating the necessity to adopt change, and this has happened rapidly as mines have had to learn to operate remotely and with limited resources owing to COVID-19,” Simon Andrews, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology Vice President for Sales in Southern Africa, says.

The adoption of new technologies, however, is no longer the primary objective. Finding ways to implement them remotely has now become the focus, Andrews says.

With the philosophy of working towards finding a solution for any challenge, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology has  introduced a headset to enable personnel to walk and talk anyone through the process of commissioning a machine and associated software without having ever seen it before.

Niel McCoy, Automation Business Development Manager for Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, said: “This offering removes all barriers associated with the inability to connect physically on the ground and is a mechanism of training in itself.”

Coupled with this new skillset and offering is Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology’s ability to utilise its highly skilled personnel.

“Our top-level experts within the business are no longer time restricted by travel and are able to utilise their skillset across multiple mines on a more frequent basis, something we had never considered in the past but is an exercise already reaping great success,” McCoy says.

As a result of the company’s efforts in ensuring digital technologies, and the implementation thereof, remain a top agenda for clients – regardless of remote working conditions, lockdown restrictions, etc – Sandvik has established a new communication process with its clients that, it says, is paying off.

“Never before have we communicated so effectively or as frequently with our clients as we do now,” Andrews says. “We know more about our sites now than we ever did before, which naturally provides us with the ability to better assist our clients in any areas that we can contribute towards and give input on.”

LKAB warms to Sandvik’s ‘renewed’ LH625iE as second electric LHD heads to Kiruna

Having been on a journey to electrify its operations with Sandvik since the mid-1980s, LKAB says the latest addition to its electric fleet, a Sandvik LH625iE, is performing well at its flagship Kiruna iron ore mine in northern Sweden.

The company took delivery of the “renewed” Sandvik LH625iE electric loader for field testing earlier this year and, according to Per Brännman, Section Manager for sublevel caving at LKAB in Kiruna, the machine’s performance has picked up recently after some adjustments, mainly to the cable reeling system.

“It has completed 350 hours without any error codes or stops, and loaded over 140,000 t of crude iron ore,” he said.

The machine in question is operating down on block 15, level 1022, at the iron ore mine, and the company is expecting to put another LH625iE into action on this level in early November.

“The future looks bright and carbon dioxide free,” Brännman said.

The underground loader, which features a 9.5 cu.m bucket and 25,000 kg payload capacity, is designed specifically to operate in the world’s largest underground iron ore mine. It comes with a total length of 14 m, bucket width of 4 m and cabin height of 3 m.

The basic LH625iE design is well-proven (and based on the LH625E), according to Sandvik, with the equipment manufacturer delivering electric loaders powered by a trailing cable for more than 35 years.

In addition to using the proven design and robust structures, Sandvik says its LH625iE belongs to its i-series, featuring advanced technology, the latest digital solutions and smart connectivity. This sees the new Sandvik LH625iE equipped with Sandvik Intelligent Control System and My Sandvik Digital Services Knowledge Box™ as standard. To use the payload capacity it offers, the loader can also be fitted with Sandvik’s Integrated Weighing System, as well as AutoMine® and OptiMine® solutions, Sandvik said.

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.”

Sandvik goes back to Toro legacy for underground load and haul line

Sandvik is reintroducing the Toro™ family name to its underground hard-rock loaders and trucks, with some of its i-series models set for the treatment later this year.

The Toro family name has been recognised by Sandvik underground mining customers for decades and now Sandvik is bringing back the bull, firstly with the large intelligent loaders Toro LH517i and Toro LH621i, it said.

“Toro, ‘the bull’, has traditionally symbolised the strength of Sandvik underground hard-rock loaders and trucks since the first model was introduced in the early 1970s,” Sandvik said. “Even though the family name has not been used for 15 years, it has never disappeared from the thoughts of the company and many of its customers.”

For the new generation of Sandvik loaders and trucks, the Toro stands for safer, stronger and smarter, according to Sandvik.

Wayne Scrivens, VP Product Line, Load and Haul, explained: “Safety is at the forefront of our product design and crucial for those who work in or around our loaders and trucks. We also believe that environmentally-sound solutions and sustainability principles firmly belong with safety.

“Being strong and powerful is at the very heart of the old Toro. To be robust, reliable and productive in the most demanding of conditions is part of our heritage, and we will keep that with us going forward. Being smart involves seamless integration with Sandvik’s AutoMine® and OptiMine® offering, but it is also about innovation and smart design: eg how we arrange maintenance access, improve efficiency and reduce waste. Developing intelligence on all frontiers is, and will be, one of the key elements of the Toro going forward.”

The large intelligent loaders Toro LH517i and Toro LH621i now come with several design upgrades aimed to further boost productivity, reduce total cost of ownership and improve operator experience, Sandvik said.

Both loaders can now be equipped with a Stage V engine, meeting the most stringent current emission regulations. Operator speed assist, a new feature that will be available with the Stage V engine option, specifically supports downhill tramming and preserves the equipment brakes as the Sandvik Intelligent Control System can be set to limit maximum speed, the company said.
A new traction control system, available as an option, reduces wheel spin and slippage when penetrating the muck pile, extending tyre lifetime.

Finally, a Digital Trainer training simulator has been added to the load and haul equipment range, offering a compact and flexible solution for the safe training of operators, with authentic controls and real loader control system, Sandvik said.

As matching pairs for the large loaders, the 51 t Toro TH551i and 63 t Toro TH663i trucks will be among the first equipment models to acquire the Toro family name.

Both trucks have recently benefitted from several significant design upgrades including, for example, a new transmission, heavy-duty cooler, AutoMine for Trucks with on-surface navigation possibility and an ongoing Stage V engine trial.

Scrivens said: “Customer feedback on the i-series trucks indicates that overall maintenance costs have decreased compared to their predecessors, the Sandvik TH551 and Sandvik TH663: we have also received the same customer feedback on LH517i and LH621i loaders. Reducing costs in addition to the already-reported positive operator feedback clearly shows we are on the right track, which befits the Toro family.”

The fifth model acquiring the Toro family name is the world’s largest payload capacity underground loader, Toro LH625iE. This features a 25,000 kg payload capacity and is electrically powered by a trailing cable.

The Toro LH625iE loader builds on well-proven technology, but also features the i-series intelligence needed for connectivity and digital solutions, Sandvik said.

Byrnecut, OZ Minerals and Sandvik achieve teleremote drilling first

Contract miner Byrnecut Australia has become the first underground operator in the world to successfully use a new automation and teleremote package for Sandvik development drills.

Byrnecut introduced a Sandvik DD422i development drill featuring the package to OZ Minerals’ Prominent Hill gold-copper mine, southeast of Coober Pedy, South Australia, in March.

With COVID-19 travel restrictions preventing Sandvik staff from attending site, Byrnecut, OZ Minerals and Sandvik experts collaborated via phone, teleconference and email to complete remote commissioning of the rig.

The two-boom rig, which can be monitored and controlled from the surface and features a sophisticated boom-collision-avoidance system, has now been in operation for three weeks, according to the companies.

Byrnecut Australia Managing Director, Pat Boniwell, says the new automation features allow for enhanced drill operation across shift changes – a period when, historically, development drilling has stopped or been significantly reduced.

“We’re conservatively looking at a 10% increase in productivity with this machine through being able to drill extra holes and the machine being used more consistently,” he said. “It picks up on the deadtime, and if it does stop for any reason we’re able to remotely reset it.”

The new boom collision avoidance system means both of the rig’s drill booms can be left in operation during shift change – something that was previously not possible. In the first few weeks of operation, the drill has been able to drill 60-70 holes while being operated autonomously and remotely from surface, the companies said.

General Manager of OZ Minerals Prominent Hill operations, Gabrielle Iwanow, says when Byrnecut approached her about trialling the upgraded development drill, she was immediately interested.

“OZ Minerals is a modern mining company,” she said. “We’re interested in innovation and looking for safer, faster, and more efficient ways of doing our work.”

Iwanow said the commissioning of the drill in such trying times is a true credit to all those involved and the positive working relationship between OZ Minerals, Byrnecut and Sandvik.

Byrnecut Drill Master, Noah Wilkinson, says a solid working relationship with Sandvik and good communication contributed to the success of the commissioning.

“People from the Sandvik factory in Finland were able to remote into the machine over the internet and adjust settings that were stopping some of the functions from working,” he explained.

Sandvik’s Global Account Manager for Byrnecut, Andrew Atkinson, paid credit to Byrnecut’s openness to adopting autonomous technologies in areas including development drilling, loader operation, production drilling and ore trucks, which are all engineered for compatibility with Sandvik’s AutoMine® and OptiMine® products.

In addition to the collision avoidance and teleremote capabilities of the DD422i, the new automation package allows for semi-autonomous bit changing.

Another handy feature of the setup during the current period of social distancing has been the virtual network computing capability that allows the control panel of the drill to be viewed remotely on a tablet. This means that during operator training, the instructor need not be in the cabin with the operator.

Sandvik ramps up Automine truck automation efforts

Sandvik says it has released a new solution that will allow automated underground trucks to continue seamlessly through ramp portals to the surface to complete the dumping cycle.

Having offered a sneak peek of this product at the Digitalization in Mining event in Brisbane, Australia, in December, the company has now gone public with the launch.

AutoMine® for Trucks is a first for autonomous ramp haulage applications in the underground mining industry, providing autonomous truck haulage not only in underground environments but also now on the surface, according to the company. “It turns Sandvik’s intelligent mining trucks into unmanned robots; robots that keep running,” Sandvik said.

For many years, mining operations across the world have benefitted from Sandvik’s intelligent AutoMine systems for autonomous and unmanned truck haulage. “They help to reduce equipment damage, repair work and add the highest levels of efficiency and fleet utilisation, giving a lower cost per tonne,” the company says. They are scalable for different mining applications and can be supervised from remote locations.

Riku Pulli, Vice President, BU Automation, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, said: “Continuously setting the industry standard, we have now developed the industry-first, fully autonomous underground trucks that can operate in mining levels and mine declines including both underground and surface sections. These trucks are set to revolutionise the mining industry, bringing significant improvements in mine’s productivity and safety.”

A key requirement for an autonomous ramp haulage application is to enable the capability for trucks to operate autonomously not only underground but also on the surface. With this product release, Sandvik has unlocked this capability for its customers, it says.

The different elements of the newly added capabilities have been tested at many of mine sites with existing experience of AutoMine for Trucks, a Sandvik spokesperson confirmed.

A core innovation behind the new capability is the smart handover technology that allows trucks to switch from underground to surface navigation mode in real time. This allows trucks to continue through the ramp portal seamlessly to the surface to complete the dumping cycle.

AutoMine also connects directly to Sandvik OptiMine®, enabling production planning and automatic dispatching of tasks to AutoMine for production execution, according to Sandvik. The progress of production tasks is reported back to OptiMine giving mines real-time visibility of their automated and manual operations and enabling them to make informed decisions on their operation.

Other benefits of OptiMine include equipment and people location tracking, 3D mine visualisation and predictive analytics to transform data into actionable insights. Integration with My Sandvik Productivity allows mines to keep track of their trucks’ condition and know the real-time status of the fleet, the company says.

Sandvik’s largest electric LHD receives an upgrade as it heads to Kiruna

Sandvik says it is preparing to deliver its renewed Sandvik LH625iE electric loader for field testing at the LKAB-owned Kiruna mine, in northern Sweden.

The unit to be tested is the 600th electric loader from Sandvik, and is custom-designed to meet the needs of the underground iron ore mine, it said.

The underground loader, which features a 9.5 m³ bucket and 25,000 kg payload capacity, is designed to operate in the world’s largest underground iron ore mine.

The basic LH625iE design is well-proven (and based on the LH625E, pictured), according to Sandvik, with the equipment manufacturer delivering electric loaders powered by a trailing cable for more than 35 years.

In addition to using the proven design and robust structures, today’s Sandvik LH625iE belongs to its i-series, featuring advanced technology, latest digital solutions and smart connectivity. This sees the new Sandvik LH625iE equipped with Sandvik Intelligent Control System and My Sandvik Digital Services Knowledge Box™ as standard. To utilise the payload capacity it offers, the loader can also be fitted with Sandvik’s Integrated Weighing System, as well as AutoMine® and OptiMine® solutions, Sandvik said.

With a total length of 14 m, bucket width of 4 m and cabin height of 3 m, the LH625iE is able to offer a roomy, ergonomically designed operator’s compartment, Sandvik said. “For example, the spacious cabin is equipped with a unique 180° turning seat which significantly improves operator ergonomics because it can be turned to face in the direction of travel rather than requiring over-the-shoulder visibility. The upgraded Sandvik LH625iE has an IE4 classified energy-efficient electric motor, with a further significant improvement being the totally new, low-tension reeling system to increase the trailing cable’s lifetime. “

The collaboration between Sandvik and LKAB’s mine in Kiruna dates back 20 years, during which time Sandvik has delivered a total of 28 loaders.

Michael Palo, Senior Vice President, Northern Division at LKAB, said: “We are satisfied with the loaders delivered from Sandvik, with 14 still in production today. We have had a long and good collaboration and look forward to a good continuation.”

Sandvik concluded: “The Sandvik LH625iE is living proof that it is possible to achieve enormous carrying capacity and productivity without the use of traditional diesel engines and fossil fuel.”

Battery-electric loaders are also providing evidence of this, with Sandvik saying it had received positive results from its testing of Artisan A10 battery-electric loaders in Canada.

Sandvik showcases digital mining developments in Brisbane

Last week, close to 300 leaders from the mining, construction and quarrying industries from Australia, Japan and Indonesia met in Brisbane, Australia, for a two-day summit, hosted by Sandvik, to showcase best practice examples of digitalisation.

The Digitalization in Mining event, on December 3-4, allowed Sandvik to demonstrate its latest digital offering and introduce participants to the latest innovations across its product portfolio, including process optimisation with OptiMine®, information management through My Sandvik digital services and autonomous operation with AutoMine ̶ together with the latest equipment in underground and surface drilling, loading and hauling, crushing and screening and the rock tools management system.

During the event Sandvik also announced two product launches: AutoMine Access API, which gives mines the power to connect non-Sandvik equipment to AutoMine, and its first Stage V compliant underground loaders for hard-rock mining applications.

Jim Tolley, Vice President, Sales Area Australia Pacific, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, said digitalisation is helping companies to grow and optimise their operations. “Our partners were keen to join us at this event because they know that digitalisation has a critical part to play in making their mines sustainable for the future.”

Day one of the event featured speakers from mining companies across Australia, as well as leaders in mining technology, process optimisation and automation. They explained the benefits their organisations have gained by implementing automation and process optimisation solutions, as well as the accompanying change in mindset, according to Sandvik.

The following presentations set the program for the day, followed by a panel discussion:

  • Shaping the Industry Digital Ecosystem (Sandvik);
  • Holistic Perspective, Focusing on Productivity, Safety and Optimised Machine Performance (Byrnecut);
  • Developing the Mine of Tomorrow (Barminco Ltd);
  • Machine Learning  ̶  Keeping it Real with Case Studies from across the Mine Value Chain (PETRA Data Science);
  • Capturing Opportunities for Digital and other Product Technology Solutions (Rio Tinto);
  • Automation Technology to Improve Efficiency and Consistency in Longwall Development Operations (Glencore);
  • Direction of Technology and Automation (Newcrest); and
  • Data Privacy, Rights and Control (Sandvik).

Pat Boniwell, Managing Director, Byrnecut Australia, said the industry will improve productivity, safety and optimise machine performance through a more “fundamental understanding” of the individual processes that make up our operations.

“New technology, automation, data transfer and analysis will all assist us in increasing the utilisation of our resources,” he said. “Data is essential, but if it is not being looked at then we are just gathering data for the sake of it. We need to continue to increase the levels of engagement between all stakeholders.”

He concluded: “We are doomed to failure unless we take our people with us and are prepared to question and be challenged.”

PETRA CEO, Penny Stewart, meanwhile, homed in on machine learning, which, she said, powers “digital twin prediction, simulation and optimisation to increase mine productivity, efficiency and yield, by showing engineers and supervisors how to reproduce their ‘best performance’ 24 hours a day, seven days a week”.

She added: “PETRA’s MAXTA™ Suite digital twin applications provide platform agnostic software-as-service operational decision support across the mine value chain ̶ from resource engineering through to processing plant set point optimisation.”

Day two of the event began with a presentation on sustainability by Henrik Ager (pictured), President, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, explaining how critical it is for long-term performance.

“Driving productivity and greenhouse gas efficiency together is going to be key for us at Sandvik, improving productivity and greenhouse gas efficiency will be the best way for us to add value for our customers,” he said. “My view is that the more we link our sustainability targets to normal business targets and find ways to combine them to achieve a common good, the better chance we have to deliver on them.”

Also, during the second day, delegates had the opportunity of a virtual visit to several Sandvik customers, including: Northparkes Mine (Australia), Resolute Mining Syama mine (West Africa), RedBull Powder Company (New Zealand) and Aeris Resources Tritton mine (Australia).

Harry Hardy, General Manager Customer Accounts, Applications Engineering and Marketing, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, Sales Area APAC, said the company often gets asked for reference cases and data to illustrate the value and payback of digital solutions. “Over the two days of the conference, our customers were able to share their own experiences and quantitatively demonstrate how our solutions have helped increase their productivity, reduce their production costs and increase their safety.”

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.”