Known as Mine 4.0, the industry is seeing digital transformation creep into everything from trucks, drills, and trains to back-office processes, such as procurement and supply chain planning.
Improving efficiencies with automation
RPA software manages maintenance order requests, as well as scheduling, ordering, learning and development, finance, and other core services for its iron ore business. The company saves around $200 million a year in maintenance costs through RPA, predictive maintenance, and other information technologies.
How robots can spot unforeseen dangers
Similarly, asset management software service provider Aspen Technology has worked with De Beers, an Anglo-American company, at its Orapa mine in Botswana to implement a predictive maintenance pilot on its rock-crushing technology. The anomaly agent software, which works in the background to spy irregular changes in machine behavior, identified three potentially serious issues months before a major event could occur. This saved the company millions of pounds, according to Mike Brooks, global director of asset performance management solutions, at Aspen Technology.
Managing RPA v manual labor
Unlike humans, robots don’t make errors, don’t get tired and can work 24/7. They are also much easier to scale up and scale down, which is a huge advantage in the cyclical mining business.
Overall, automation in mining, as in any industrial setting, is proven to improve operational efficiency and help manage market shocks, such as the impact of COVID-19.