Mining system integration can revolutionize even older mines.
Many industries are now being impacted by a move towards the so-called “internet of things”, a practice where physical pieces of equipment, often of a type that has been in use since before the internet age, are fitted with monitoring and communication equipment that sends and receives data to and from a central network, often sharing information with other devices or pieces of equipment in the process.
This practice has made it much easier to monitor and manage instrumentation, machinery and manpower, making many industries safer and more productive in the process. However, when it comes to implementing the “internet of things” concept in mining operations, there is a long list of challenges that complicate matters; for example:
- The mine may have multiple operational zones, built at different times and equipped with machinery and devices that are from different technological generations, built by different suppliers, and utilizing different technology and protocols.
- The existing internal communications network may suffer from substantial gaps in communications or be comprised of mixed technology types (e.g. leaky feeder, RFID, WiFi), either in different areas or in some cases existing side by side.
- Technology adoption capabilities and willingness may similarly vary across the operation, and even spending allocation in departmental budgets might hinder the capability for mines to “share” technologies across multiple applications.
It is generally not practical or cost effective to simply rip out all of the existing monitoring and communication equipment and replace it with a single, standardized system that uses the latest available technology, as desirable as this may seem.
Even if this were possible, the equipment installed would be up-to-date by today’s standards, but as the mine expands in the future, for example, new regions would presumably be fitted with newer technology, recreating exactly the same problem.
Due to the fact that most mines evolve and grow substantially over time, and that technology is constantly developing, it is nearly impossible to have a situation in which all of the equipment and systems in a mine are automatically compatible.
There is no simple way to standardize all of the monitoring and communication equipment inside a mine, but fortunately there is a relatively simple solution to this problem – use a mining system integration approach to merge multiple, diverse systems and pieces of equipment into a single, common framework that serves as a master system.
At RAMJACK Technology Solutions, we have substantial experience and expertise in the area of mining system integration. We use our knowledge of the industry and familiarity with the product offerings of our world-class technology partners to engineer integrated systems for our mining customers that are innovative, reliable, customizable and scalable.
Contact us now to discuss how the concept of mining system integration can be applied to your mining operation – on surface or underground.
At RAMJACK Technology Solutions, our mining system integration solutions benefit clients in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.