IT in Manufacturing

Digital transformation in mining

November 2021 IT in Manufacturing

In recent years, the world has witnessed a rapid increase in the consumption of commodities. This is due to the rising trends in urbanisation and industrialisation and the mining, minerals and metals (MMM) industry has a critical role to play in this growth. In fact, according to US Geological Survey (2017), it is estimated that each person uses more than 11 000 kilograms of new non-fuel minerals found in everyday products like medicine, buildings, vehicles, homes, electronic gadgets, etc. Commodity consumption therefore continues to be a significant driver for the MMM industry.

The constant change in technology has disrupted industries and businesses around the world, which are now being forced to accept this new reality rather quickly. However, adopting these new technologies has tremendous potential to deliver value.

Heartbeat technology breathes life into operations

The mining industry has experienced many challenges over the last few decades with regard to productivity. According to McKinsey research, mining operations are as much as 28% less productive today than a decade ago. McKinsey also states that the profitability of mining over the past three years has decreased. However, the adoption of new technologies and the implementation of digitalisation can help mines to reduce complexities, improve overall productivity and optimise operational performance.

When equipped with Endress+Hauser’s Heartbeat technology, devices continuously show their status from the sensor to output signal. Users receive diagnostic coverage with full text messages giving clear guidelines on what to do. As a result, efficient maintenance according to actual equipment needs can be planned to increase the availability of plant and avoid unplanned shutdowns.

What does this mean for engineers on the plant? They are now enabled to commission, run diagnostics, or perform verification tests without physically touching the device. This leads to flexibility in mining operations, increased productivity, greater safety and lower costs.

While productivity globally has declined, the harnessing of data and the utilisation of automated systems offers the potential to enhance the productivity, efficiency and safety of mining operations into the future. Therefore, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is transforming industries across the world. The mining industry is in a prime position to benefit from the adoption of digital technology across its operations. There is no longer any need to wait because the technology has now matured and is ready to be implemented.

Integrate the IIoT into your plant

Netilion is a cloud service offered by Endress+Hauser, which demonstrates the intelligent utilisation of data and information from field instrumentation. While the data already exists, the Netilion applications allow users to take advantage of it through a cloud-based ecosystem, which enables intelligent and connected applications for the IIoT.

When combined with Heartbeat technology and Netilion applications, this data enables predictive maintenance. The information also provides an indication of operational reliability and process safety. Since the instruments automatically monitor their own condition, manual inspection cycles can be reduced.

Exploit the potential of the IIoT and Heartbeat

Combine monitoring data with the Endress+Hauser Predictive Analytics app to calculate the optimum date for maintenance. When maintenance becomes due, personnel get notified via a message to their smartphone. In addition, the data can also be connected with other business processes via the cloud to automatically place a purchase order for spares via e-procurement. Delivery to site can then be scheduled for an optimal future date.

Within the MMM industry, digitalisation transforms key aspects at every step of the value chain. Digital transformation in mining connects people, technology and processes to achieve strategic transformation and also places organisations ahead of their competition.


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