The intelligent mine solution powered by 5G and the industrial internet that was jointly developed by Huawei and Shaanxi Coal Industry Co Ltd hit its one-year milestone on April 26, 2023, marking a full year of continuous operations and significantly improving production efficiency and operational safety at the two mines of Shaanxi Coal Company. This makes a powerful case for intelligent upgrade for the global mining industry.
Jun Xu, CTO of Huawei’s Mining BU, said that through Huawei’s extensive field involvement of mining production and cooperative application of Huawei’s 5G, cloud and AI image splicing technology to Shaanxi Coal Company’s Hongliulin Coal Mine and Xiaobaodang Coal Mine, the mines have successfully implemented above ground monitoring and control on operation of fully automated underground mining face cutting. It thereby also initialised the core intelligence of the underground mining process.
Through leveraged application of Huawei 5G, cloud and AI/IT technologies throughout the whole mining cycle, such as mine geological exploration, tunnelling and belt transportation, intelligence can be implemented across the entire mining process, for example, various deployments of underground robots.
These technologies are also widely used in all aspects of mine management, for instance, an industrial Internet platform with a three-level architecture for Shaanxi Coal Company, its mine subsidiaries, and the coal mines themselves, enabling collaborative management and control, intelligent sensing, and efficient decision making; and enhancing employee happiness and experience, for example with a downloadable underground mine-taxi app.
The above three levels of solutions are modular – Hongliulin Coal Mine and Xiaodang Coal Mine worked closely with Huawei on customised development, which led to simple, easy and result oriented implementation. As a result, Hongliulin Coal Mine now has 18% fewer workers working underground; 97.7% of its mine faces now support intelligent mining, and intelligent management has been made possible for the underground mine face using 5G video splicing and video calls.
More than 2,700 sets of equipment at the mine are now interconnected using unified data standards, with 170 million pieces of data streamed to the data lake every day. This data has been used to create over 100 digital models. This data can also be used to inform production and operation decision making and develop new digital applications using ‘zero-code’ development tools.
Xiaobaodang Coal Mine’s underground workforce has been reduced by 42%. Key facilities in the mine, such as the underground pump rooms and substations, have achieved intelligent, unattended operations, thanks to machine patrol inspection and video-based collaboration. In terms of production safety, environmental monitoring devices are able to autonomously detect and give out warnings related to gas build-up, fires, flooding, ventilation issues, and geological events, and enable real-time data interconnection. This can support more informed decision making to greatly improve safety management in the mine.
Xu said that Huawei’s Mine BU has developed many intelligent mine references by working with partners and mining enterprises. He added that it is committed to quickly bringing digital technology to every mine on the basis of industrial Internet. To achieve this goal, Huawei is working to provide digital services for major coal and metal mining enterprises around the world to enable safer and more efficient intelligent mine management with fewer staff working underground.