IT in Manufacturing

Micromine assists mining operations in the Industry 4.0 era

January 2020 IT in Manufacturing

Global trends such as Industry 4.0 are transforming the traditional methods deployed to extract ore from rock. Mining operations are instead looking at innovations such as automated drilling in high risk areas underground to enhance safety. This is where software solutions like Pitram from Micromine can assist mining operations to automate, and thereby boost efficiency dramatically.

As a leading software solutions provider for the mining industry, Micromine strives to stay ahead of the curve in terms of trends such as Industry 4.0, commonly referred to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Industry 4.0 refers to the current trend in automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies, including cyber-physical systems, IoT, cloud computing and cognitive computing.

“Currently Pitram is being developed with AI and machine learning functionalities in the software in order to take the product to the next level,” says Africa marketing coordinator, Craig Sternslow. “Pitram is a fully-configurable solution that captures, monitors and reports on operational and production data.”

According to global marketing manager Kate Gilbey, there is an ongoing trend towards increasing automation and even AI to assist mining operations in terms of smart optimisation. In an industry such as mining, where improving productivity is crucial to profitability, even small improvements in yields, speed and efficiency can make an extraordinary impact. AI and machine learning can assist mining companies to find minerals to extract, a critical component of any smart mining operation. Although AI and machine learning are still relatively new in the mining industry, many companies are excited about the prospect of being able to reduce personnel risks, obtain real-time data and make processes more efficient through these types of advances.

“As a client’s operation evolves and needs change, our solutions can be adapted to evolve with the mine. This represents a capital saving to clients, as they can continue using elements of their original, familiar application. Our solutions span the entire mining process, from exploration through to mine production, and cater for all mining operation needs through the provision of our suite of products, friendly and customer-driven staff, services and post-implementation support,” she explains.

Micromine’s research and development teams work around the clock to forecast what its clients and future clients will need in their software toolkit. “This means we have to think about where the industry is going. Our products are evolving constantly. Every major update comes with multiple service packs to fine tune that product,” Sternslow adds.

In this regard, Micromine is developing new underground mining precision performance software that uses machine learning to refine and enhance loading and haulage processes.

Using the processes of computer vision and deep machine learning, onboard cameras are placed on loaders to track variables such as loading, hauling, dumping and travelling empty time. The video feed is processed on the Pitram vehicle computer edge device, following which the extracted information is then transferred to Pitram servers for processing and analysis.

In environments where network connectivity is intermittent or does not exist, field computers become critical for computations and integration. Geobank Mobile is designed to operate in this edge computing environment. It has the ability to integrate directly with field measurement devices to deliver a practical and efficient solution to the user. “An exciting new development in terms of Geobank Mobile is its integration with DSLR cameras to capture imagery of the drill hole core,” Gilbey continues. For example, AngloGold Ashanti Australia is using this technology with a camera mounted to a mechanised track that sits above the chip tray. It automatically takes photographs of drill hole geological chip samples. Through seamless integration, these photographs are fed from the camera to the Geobank Mobile solution, which has been configured to rename the file based on the hole identifier.

“As an industry leader in mining software, with offices located strategically all over the world, we are trusted advisors to our clients and can offer sound advice as well as solutions for every need throughout the mining cycle. Our main aim as a software provider is simply to ‘Make Mining Easier’. Mining operations must not be afraid to change and to adapt to the changing mining environment,” Sternslow concludes.

For more information contact Kate Gilbey, Micromine, +61 414 605 160,,

Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Protect against DDoS attacks
February 2020 , IT in Manufacturing
The recent slew of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against South African banks and ISPs have highlighted the fact that even the largest organisations with the latest security tools and solutions ...

Siemens Industrial Edge takes cloud processing benefits to the field
February 2020, Siemens Digital Industries , IT in Manufacturing
With Industrial Edge, Siemens offers users the opportunity to close the gap between conventional local and cloud-based data processing, depending on individual requirements. With edge computing, large ...

End-to-end supply chain visibility and analytics now a reality
February 2020 , IT in Manufacturing
Line of sight is a challenge for many supply chain aspects, from the manufacturer to the wholesaler, distributor and the reseller, and even the end consumer. This lack of visibility and control results ...

11th annual MESA Africa conference
January 2020 , IT in Manufacturing
I recently attended the MESA conference held at the Zulu Inyala Country Manor.

Digital twin allows process simulations
December 2019, Siemens Digital Industries , IT in Manufacturing
The high-tech company Grenzebach’s portfolio includes the simulation of material flow in complex plants in the glass industry, which it achieves using Siemens simulation solutions. Together, the two companies ...

Game-changing digital solutions for mines
December 2019, SKF South Africa , IT in Manufacturing
With digitalisation creeping into the mining industry and transforming day-to-day operations, this sector is enhancing its Industry 4.0 operation and process compliancy. As a preferred supplier of premium ...

Protect critical infrastructure and manufacturing plants
December 2019 , IT in Manufacturing
As manufacturers around the world analyse and embrace the importance of being more connected to the IIoT, cybersecurity experts caution that the benefits of being interconnected come with a warning, and ...

Extending analytics to EAM and operations users
December 2019 , IT in Manufacturing
Today’s manufacturing operations and maintenance teams generate vast amounts of data in all forms.

AI in manufacturing – revolutionary opportunity or well-trodden path?
December 2019, Absolute Perspectives , IT in Manufacturing
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a catchphrase used by marketers that attributes the characteristics of human intelligence to a computer system.

Industrial Ethernet switches reflect ongoing evolution at the IIoT ‘thin edge’
January 2020 , IT in Manufacturing
Today’s digital transformation strategies require data connectivity throughout the architecture to fulfil the quest for improved operations.