Objectives of the service
MEMT is an operational efficiency digital tool that provides the information that is relevant to mining companies with just the right level of aggregation - from detailed analysis of individual factors of mining processes (mobile heavy machinery, raw material extracted, working conditions in the mine and mine organization), to the performance of mining processes and the overall operational efficiency.
Information will be offered as a service and will improve on several levels the way users currently operate, as it automates data collection from the mining site, it unifies data lakes that refer to mining processes (sensor data, image data, data from third party sources) and it automates data analysis, aggregating information based on mining-specific scenarios.
Users and their needs
MEMT mainly targets mining companies headquartered in Europe, operating small and medium size open-pit mines and quarries. The users at operation level are mine manager, foreman, machine operators. At group level there are 2 additional users: regional / technical / operational / digitalization / innovation managers and data experts. In addition to these, a secondary user segment are service providers of auxiliary mining services, that need to digitalize their processes.
Users have identified following needs:
to automate the monitoring and reporting of the production and material mass flow in the mines
to monitor and optimize equipment utilization by reducing non-productive work (idling, preparation work, unnecessary driving etc.), for reporting and controlling, to ensure proper equipment usage (train personnel and avoid machine damage, incidents etc.
to have a digital overview on different processes in the mine, so they can identify optimization potential (correlate excavation performance with material quality and different benches, implement road maintenance works to keep transport performance within standards, adapt mine organization (shifts, working hours, machine pairing/dispatch) to meet different production targets, correlate blasting and loading performance)
implement digital systems also in remote mines (with no terrestrial communication networks available)
Service/ system concept
MEMT is an intelligent digital tool, based on AI, computer vision and sensor data analytics, that delivers information as a service, covering all phases from data collection and transmission, to analysis and aggregation, and finally to visualization. Integration with third party systems (data imports and exports) will also be ensured.
The concept is to capture processes on site with the help of different sensors, transmit the collected data via terrestrial communication networks or via SatCom, process the data so that relevant mining events are being identified by AI algorithms and deliver the results to users via an interface.
A unique feature of MEMT relies on combining different kinds of data, so that the users get situational awareness on the mining heavy machines and also on the working environment, that they can use to optimize their operation.
Space Added Value
MEMT will use Satellite Navigation and Satellite Communication.
SatNav: location data is one of the most important data from the set – together with the timestamp they ensure the correlation between the interacting machines, the environment and the working conditions. The hardware for data collection that will be installed on the mobile heavy machines will include GNSS among other sensors (accuracy of 1,5 - 2 m is enough for our applications). GNSS is included as a base element in our products and services since 2017.
SatCom: 30% of the mines operated by one of our pilot partners have poor or no TC connectivity (“offline mines”). For providing our services to such mines we will use satellite internet for transmitting data between the hardware in the field and our servers. Mining customers, operating "offline" mines need to provide a possibility to communicate with the abaut backend and provide/receive data. Such systems basically consist of a Wi-Fi-Router-Hub for connecting towards the mobile machinery that are equipped with abaut Edge sensors but also other devices within the mining area (smartphones, laptops).
During the first months of the project, we engaged intensely with our three pilot customers in guided discussions about their needs, how these are related to user responsibilities and customer internal business processes, how the needs are currently fulfilled and what do users want to improve. After prioritizing user needs, user requirements have been extracted. In parallel we engagement with customers external to the project, on the occasion of our participation in trade fairs on mining and construction, to validate our findings.
In the next period we will focus on finalizing the system architecture and data collection from the selected mining operations of our pilot customers is planned to start this spring.