Epiroc continues the automation and digitalisation journey at Electra Mining 2018

Stand B26, Outside area 1

Epiroc has, for many years, been a leader in long hole production drilling automation in underground mines and is proud to have various levels of automation on face drilling and load and haul dumpers.  The company’s cutting-edge automation and digitalisation technologies will be demonstrated by the competent Epiroc team at Electra Mining 2018.

“While automation and digitalisation have a wide range of definitions and applications as well as different levels of maturity for us and our customers, one thing is for certain, the necessity for these technologies is here and is becoming ever more applicable as the need for reduced costs and improved productivity and safety increases,” says Andrew Main, Regional Business Line Manager for Epiroc’s Underground Rock Excavation (URE) division.

“We have embraced the hunger of our customers for automation and digital solutions on two levels; the introduction of a number of new ground-breaking offerings as well as the necessary customer and equipment support through the establishment of the Regional Application Centre (RAC) in Johannesburg which is one of five Centres based in key cities (Denver, USA; Toronto, Canada; Santiago, Chile and Perth, Australia). Applying global expertise combined with local knowledge, the RAC will focus more closely on supporting customers over the complete range of Epiroc ‘smart’ equipment.

Digitalisation as a whole can optimise various aspects of the production cycle by ensuring continuous monitoring and real time communications during the shift.

If however, digitalisation can be complemented with automation, the result would be exponential as ‘dead’ time (shift change, clearance time and other potential interruptions) could now be utilised with consistency.

The current solutions which include real time machine status, data collection and analysis to produce key information to suit customers KPIs, have been boosted with the recent innovations, CERTIQ and Mobilaris. CERTIQ is a baseline tool used to remotely gather machine data which is translated into formats that align to customers KPIs. Once connected, the information is presented on a web portal, making it available on a mobile device anywhere at any time. The benefits of this web-based solution can be further optimised with the addition of Mobilaris, an integrating and visualisation tool that boasts a myriad of key features including location and machine status, operator information and communication, face and application knowledge, task scheduling, and man and machine tracking.

“Today, the use of tools like Mobilaris and others will enhance efficiency; this information at our finger tips will be accurate and presented in a way to make fast decisions possible,” asserts Main.

The industries and applications which Epiroc serve are prone to safety risks. This is where the role of automation comes to the fore. The automation of some of the functions removes operators and personnel from high risk areas, allowing the machines to do the work, monitored remotely from a safe control room.

There is no doubt that the sustainable future of mines hinges on digitalisation and automation. But Main is quick to point out that in order to realise the benefits offered by these technologies – safety, predictability, operational stability, efficiency and productivity – there is more to their mere implementation. The key to overall success is also about operating to plan, having real time monitoring and being able to institute corrective measures as soon as possible to allow for better compliance to plan.

In addition, the ability to ensure quality and less human error will lead to a predictable outcome and continuously optimising while using the available tools to assist will ensure operational stability.

Epiroc shows its 100% commitment by assisting, supporting and holding hands with customers during this digital and automation journey. This combined with the development of key skills and competencies through the Regional Application Centres, backed by local support, differentiate Epiroc in the automation and digital technology space.

“We invite Electra Mining visitors to join us on the Epiroc stand where we will conduct demonstrations and show live examples of our state-of-the-art technologies which will inspire industry for change,” concludes Main.

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