The value of timely decision making, system optimisation and continuous improvement is well understood from productivity achievements gained in industries more broadly. Mining operations are increasingly becoming data rich but remain relatively information poor. Getting information to key people who can drive improvements and translate that to value is the critical step in the digital transformation of the industry.
Clarity is developing capability to facilitate the digital transformation, by focusing on the following areas:
- Harnessing the significant miniaturisation of computing power and rapid drop in price to allow complex calculations inside sensors, and transmitting timely intelligent information (rather than pushing ‘big data’ into centralised repositories)
- Leveraging inexpensive flow of information through encrypted wireless mobile telecommunications networks and cloud infrastructure
- Development of Internet of Things (IoT) dashboards, which can be accessed using non-proprietary intranet browsers, providing reports, downloadable data and timely notifications to key decision makers
- Integration of sensor-agnostic IoT devices, which can be coupled with legacy equipment commonly found in mature mining operations
- Sensor-to-sensor communication (via encrypted wireless telecommunication networks and sensor clustering) is possible, removing the need for expensive infrastructure and maintenance costs
- Sensor clustering, computational capability and non-volatile data storage capability of ‘edge sensors’ minimises any impact of a temporary loss in wireless communication
- The information system can sit adjacent to any existing control or reporting system and is independent of corporate IT/OT systems
- Improvements can be enacted at the supervisor or shift level, especially with smaller operations that may not have an integrated control system or historian type functionality
- Hosting information and display trending in near-real time is achievable, as ‘edge sensors’ continually communicate with secure off-site servers (cloud computing)
- Display trending, analogous to larger DCS systems, is achievable, without locking into specific vendor infrastructure or the associated costs
View a sample dashboard, created using simulated data for the interface level detected in a flotation cell.