By Reuben Adams
A partnership between Komatsu and General Electric will use Internet of Things (IoT) technology to provide crucial big-data analysis services to mining customers – potentially saving each mine millions of dollars a year.
The IoT refers to a growing global network of physical objects, including machines, embedded with electronics, software, sensors and connectivity which enable the exchange of data between manufacturers, operators, other machines and connected devices.
Under the partnership, Komatsu would send operational data – collected from sensors attached to its mining dump trucks – to a GE data centre in the US, where it would be processed using GE’s big-data analysis capabilities.
The resulting information could be used to recommend optimal truck routes and positioning, as well as speed and braking requirements based on the terrain and site conditions.
Additional control equipment could also be installed to increase fuel efficiency.
“Existing data analysis capabilities already available through Komatsu allow fuel efficiency to be improved by 5 per cent through more efficient truck scheduling and haul road management,” Komatsu Australia managing director Sean Taylor said.
“Now by harnessing IoT technology, combined with GE’s big-data analysis capabilities, we can lift that figure to significantly greater than 10 per cent, potentially saving millions of dollars a year per mine in fuel and other costs,” he said.
“There will also be flow-on benefits in terms of optimising production, reducing equipment wear and tear, and maximising machine uptime.
Komatsu and GE successfully trialled the concept across the past year at a South American copper mine.
“[W]e want to start offering data analysis services to mining and resources companies in the near future, including iron ore and coal mines in Australia as well as other mining regions,” Mr Taylor said.
This follows a joint venture agreement in February 2014 – Komatsu GE Mining Systems LLC – to develop a new generation of underground mining equipment.