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Effects Of Internet Of Things On Mining Industry

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Question:

What we now see is that many organigations that have been involed in these automation processes for many years- and who therefore have a very good understanding of what they can do with M2M- are now speeding up their deployments. these include manufactures, the mining industry, transport organisations, infrastructure organisations and so on?

 

 

Answer:

Introduction:

Internet of things:  It is a process of proposed development in which the objects which are used in everyday life are developed into network connectivity framework that helps them in sending and receiving data. It is in other words is a concept of computing that is future oriented which works with an aim of connecting the physical objects with the internet that leads them in being identifiable on the other devices. Internet of things is a term that can be very closely related with a method of communication i.e. RFID. It can also be found with other technologies such as sensor technologies and wireless technologies etc.  Internet of things has its own significance because it lets the object being identifiable as a digitally represented object that makes that object more valuable and effective than it is in its original form (Giusto, 2010).  The object once gets connected digitally becomes easily connected with other objects in the surroundings and even with the database containing crucial data of the organization. Due to the internet of things the objects starts working in unison and thus are known as objects having “ambient intelligence”.

The need of the present hour is of having computers that are well aware of all the things which are all about to be known about any object. This act is performed by the objects after being digitally transformed by making use of the data without taking any sort of help from the human beings (Fleisch, 2010). In return the human beings are able to track and count the details about any object that in turn will help in the reduction of wastage, loss due to contingencies and increased costs etc. The information regarding the replacement, repair and any sort of recalling about the objects being fresh or are outdated can be easily achieved.

 

Mining:

It is a process through which coal and other minerals are being extracted from the mines. With the process of mining the minerals and other metals are removed from the earth. These metals can be manganese, tantalum, copper, tin, nickel, bauxite, iron ore, gold, silver and diamonds etc. Through mining valuable minerals and other geographical materials are extracted from various sources available on earth such as ore body, reef, seam and lode etc. and by extracting these minerals from the earth the miner settles his economic interest by supplying these mineral and metals to industries where they are used for further processing of another finished product (Peterson, 2001). Mining of metals and minerals is done for obtaining materials that cannot be obtained from agricultural processes and cannot be even created artificially through experiments in any lab or factory. The process used for mining purposes in modern times prospecting of various ores, analyzing the future prospects of attainting profits from a proposed mine, starting the process of extraction of minerals desired and lastly reclamation of land of the closed mines   

Here the topic of discussion is “The effects of Internet of Things on Mining”. The data collected is from varied sources such as books, journals, articles and free sources available online.

The Internet of things in Mining:

The mining industry has started commercially harnessing the benefits of automation, internet of things big data analytics for having a common of them for ripping the benefits of these technological advancements. With high rate technological advancements the developments in the mining industry are taking place at a faster rate that presents great potentials for expansion and development for the mining and technological industry.

Technology is eagerly needed in mining industry for harnessing the potential benefits of high rate cost reductions that will be beneficial for a long-term period. Costs reductions are possible in various areas such as ore targeting and processing and even for energy maintenance and management projects which are very essential for the faster growth of the industry.  In turn the technological industry is also navigating the mining industry and its future prospects in the industry for completely reaping the benefits (Gubbi, 2013). According to the  future projections done by market experts it is evident that in mining industry the main sector that will be benefitted in the near future due to technical advancements will be the information and communication technologies sector of mining industry. This sector is expected to reach the new heights of $26.1 billion by 2018.    

 

Internet of things in a mining industry is playing its own role by digitally transforming the objects used in mining industry. The giant trucks used in mining industry for transporting purposes of the minerals and metals are now working on programmed and responsive routes. It helps in the autonomous hauling of ores by the giant trucks and all this is done due to internet of things. Other objects that are used after they are digitally transformed helps in performing various other purposes such as monitoring of activities through drones and even the operations undertaken on the surface areas are measured successfully by using the technique of internet of things, equipments are also located with the help of digital signals (Humphreys, 2001). Schedules for conducting various activities are being prepared with the help of technologically advanced techniques and that helps in regular monitoring of the activities. Even timely feedbacks about the activities performed are taken easily that helps in the proper identification of any loops in the processes and thus fixing the problems that results in maximization of production and profits. Everyday new advancements take place in the mining industry such as autonomous drill rigs and trains have already undergone trial and can be successfully installed in near future.  On the scales used in mining industries at the miniature end the sensors and transmitters are installed for working on excessive amounts of variables. Earlier single sensors were used that were working in a capacity of measuring the operations of the machinery and environmental variables (Humphreys, 2000). On the other hand the sensors  with  integrated  networks are able to predict the potential requirements for maintenance, can help in preventing accidents, optimal utilization of processes and proper monitoring of compliances related to the environment. All this is possible due to the internet of things that can easily cover the places at vast distances.

 

Mining has become safer than before due to internet of things:

Internet of things is working with a goal in mining industry of providing more safe means of working and even improving the current safety practices. The machines used in the industry are usually powerful and are very large in size and weight. This industry contains some of the largest machines of the world. Thus this increases the chances of accidents if any person is working at wrong place at wrong time which leads to very harmful results (Sun, 2012). With the help of internet of things heavy equipments are incorporated with sensors working in cooperation with warning technology that can detect their location and proximity and provide warning messages at the time of emergency and can easily prevent accidents. The applications and devices used for controlling these equipments include GPS, video, radar and RF devices that help in locating things and these things can be used for both the equipments and even for employees working in the industry and thus safety of mining industry is ensured. 

With the advancement of technology and internet of things in mining industry, the human beings are removed from performing dangerous operations. This reduces the chances of accidents and any sort of loss of workforce. For example in Western Australia, self- driving or autonomous trucks are being used by the firm Rio Tinto since 2008. There  about fifty three  Komatsu autonomous trucks are working in mining industry and are navigating routes and even responds for local environmental and other conditions with the help of  GPS, radar guidance systems and around two hundred sensors (Bandyopadhyay, 2011). The firm is using the Autonomous Hauling System (AHS) which has proved itself as a very high performance providing system. As per the data available the driver less trucks of Rio Tinto has hauled about 250 million tons of ore and had driven for about three million miles. These wireless trucks are working on the techniques of internet of things and are connected wirelessly and are operated and controlled by the operation’s team of Rio Tinto working in Perth which is thousands mile away from the actual site of working.  As the internet of things have made the truck’s driver less and this has helped in improving the safety measures for the workers by reducing the chances of fatigue and mistakes due to stress and also by deducting  the number of workers needed at the actual mining sites that are highly dangerous at times (Baoyun, 2009). More predictable, optimized and continuous operations all through day and night are possible without and change of shifts and lunch breaks with the help of autonomous trucks. With the use of such trucks the need for more technical people gets reduced for working in operations control centre and thus led to a shift in skills needed in workers of the mining industry. Now even the workers working in mining industries have an added advantage of residing in town areas instead of living on the outer skirts of the cities i.e. near to the ore bodies.

 

The Autonomous Drilling Systems (ADS) have been undergoing trial by various mining organizations. For example Rio Tinto has installed ADS in its mine site in West Angeles (Jiping, 2010). They have even put a trial for automated driverless trains with an investment of more than half a billion that will help in hauling ores from the mines to the ports. Companies like Rio Tinto is working with a vision of making mines for the future with the overall operations of the mining industry being performed by the objects based on internet of things for not only using automated trucks and hauling purposes but also for other purposes such as operations in the mining industry, continuous and minute monitoring of mining operations, plant processing purposes, monitoring of stockpiles, computerized floatation tanks used in extraction processes that can result in optimal working of the extraction process and even trains working on autonomous ideology and all these operations are controlled from a centralized department or unit of the organization i.e. the centralized operation centers of the companies.

Conclusion:

The idea behind working with an internet of things based system is that all the things will be operating under a system called as a total system. It will be system in which all the operations of the mining industry will be pre-planned and dynamic. It will work on the notions of having its own memory system and can anticipate problematic areas and even respond to them on timely basis. This system will be able to learn the things on its own and will have interlinked paths working at a speed of light. The function of this total system will be that of brain working for the whole ore body in coordination with all the other operations being controlled by the centralized operations centre. The automation of the mine systems will integrate all the physical automated elements. It will help in the creation of models that are multi- dimensional formed by the integration of varied data sources that includes sensors of the equipments and also the data related to geological functions. The system can also be used for optimizing the layout plans of the mines, paths on which vehicles operate, operations of the mines and coordination of all the rest operations for the most efficient and effective  results.  Some firms are even using visualizing software known as RTV’s that provide 3D visuals of the mine and other crucial data essential for the functions performed by controllers, geologists, drilling teams for planning blasts operations, planners of the mine and supervisors for taking crucial decisions for the organization.  Internet of things in mining industry is making operations of the industry more safe and efficient with the automation of objects. It is creating more job opportunities with high technical skills and even allowing people to work from places of their preferences with few workers working on dangerous mining sites. Still it’s just a beginning stage of automation of transformation process in mining industries. 

 

References:

BANDYOPADHYAY, D., & SEN, J. (2011). Internet of things: Applications and challenges in technology and standardization. Wireless Personal Communications, 58(1), 49-69.

BAOYUN, W. (2009). Review on internet of things. Journal of Electronic Measurement and Instrument, 23(12), 1-7.

FLEISCH, E. (2010). What is the internet of things? An economic perspective.Economics, Management, and Financial Markets, (2), 125-157.

GIUSTO, D., LERA, A., MORABITO, G., & ATZORI, L. (2010). The Internet of Things. Berlin/Heidelberg, Germany: Springer.

GUBBI, J., BUYYA, R., MARUSIC, S., & PALANISWAMI, M. (2013). Internet of Things (IoT): A vision, architectural elements, and future directions. Future Generation Computer Systems29(7), 1645-1660.

HUMPHREYS, D. (2000). A business perspective on community relations in mining. Resources Policy, 26(3), 127-131.

HUMPHREYS, D. (2001). Sustainable development: can the mining industry afford it?. Resources policy, 27(1), 1-7.

JIPING, S. (2010). Mine safety monitoring and control technology and system. Coal Science and Technology, 38(10), 1-4.

PETERSON, D. J. (2001). New forces at work in mining: industry views of critical technologies. Rand Corporation.

SUN, E., ZHANG, X., & LI, Z. (2012). The internet of things (IOT) and cloud computing (CC) based tailings dam monitoring and pre-alarm system in mines. Safety science, 50(4), 811-815.

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