Health & Safety Industry 4.0 applications in mining: Part 2
If you’ve not read the first part of this blog, then do read it here first.
It’s important to reiterate before further exploring the applications of Industry 4.0 technology in the context of the Health & Safety in the mining sector, that there are known knowns and known unknowns.
Industry 4.0 technology in the form of a Sustainability Performance Platform (SPP) and the use of sustainability solutions can assist the sector with both aspects of it, unlike specific technology applications e.g. vehicle electrification, PPE upgrades etc.), because it provides miners with new ways to analyze risk holistically (using machine learning) and improve functions to achieve a strategic business objective (not a technology one) based on that analysis.
In this blogs, we’re focusing on the operational areas where the application of sustainability solutions can have significant impacts, rather than the analysis of a particular technology because multiple new technologies may be needed to achieve the business-changing outcomes wanted and to reach zero harm.
Holistic operational analysis:
Process optimization (Digital Twinning). Current best practices in mining are reliant on doing the same thing, day after day; following best practice. This makes the analysis of deviations in current practice, in an effort to find better ways of operating, difficult because those are the very behaviors that are trying to be avoided. With digital twinning, it is possible to test new operational models or set algorithms with the task of analyzing all the current variables and finding better ways of functioning without risking harm. As long as there is a way of measuring success, then any scenario can utilize machine learning and be tested.
Plant, mine, country and cross organizational analysis. The aggregation of data from multiple sources across an entire organization makes it possible to uncover best practices, identify superior assets and plant (e.g.by brand, age, model etc.), as well as identify areas for improvement based on much larger data sets. This works at the short-term, site level, but also will improve the results being made via longer-term optimizations (e.g. better staff training) and takes away the barriers that sometimes exist between departments and business units.
Remote operations + superior skill set identification. The application of sustainability solutions built on a Sustainability Performance Platform (SPP) to leverage the ability to operate machinery remotely and leverage superior skill sets is an obvious one. Through the use of detailed data analysis, it is possible to examine individuals’ performance who conduct similar functions in a business. By doing this, organizations can understand what it is that makes them better so that they can upskill a wider workforce, or even set-up remote control and operations rooms that enable top performers to conduct their highly-skilled roles across multiple sites without ever having to visit sites and be potentially put in harm's way on transport or other on-site activities (e.g. moving amongst unmanned vehicle operation).
Aggregated risk profiling. The operation of certain types of machinery at very high temperatures isn’t a problem in itself, but it could be if the external temperature rises beyond norms or an external heat source, such as a welding torch, is applied in close proximity. Using a sustainability solution built on a Sustainability Performance Platform (SPP) you can leverage machine learning algorithms that can explore the impact of certain activities and provides the ability to create accurate, aggregated risk scores that can’t and mightn’t be foreseeable.
Standard operating procedure adherence + safety margins. Putting in place all of the safeguards and procedures needed to achieve zero harm is always going to be ineffective if incidents aren’t reported, standards aren’t followed or if the safety margins that they are based upon are insufficient. Through real-time monitoring of assets and employees, it’s possible to identify where deviations are occurring, where margins are insufficiently strict (or even where they’re too constraining), as well as pick up on the small incidents that may never make it onto incident reports but which, occurring repeatedly over time, may be a key lead indicator of a problem that could have potentially more catastrophic consequences.
Improved emergency performance. Using a sustainability solutions built on a Sustainability Performance Platform (SPP), it is possible to analyze how previous incidents occurred and the effectiveness of previous responses. By creating a score for each individual aspect, businesses can analyze where improvements can be made and decrease the likelihood of an injury turning into a fatality in the future.
There are numerous other applications and potential benefits that can be derived from the use of Industry 4.0 technology and sustainability solution, such as reducing the manual and error-prone reporting burden, the retention of knowledge and freeing team members from repetitive work to focus on other aspects of their role -making it easier for employees to consider safety standards and apply them correctly. It also makes it easier for management to adopt competency-based risk management practices, ensure that they have the full picture when it comes to real-time safety performance and make better decisions that will enable them to achieve zero harm workforce goals.
The thing that all of these benefits have at their centre, though, is the correct application of technology; namely sustainability solutions built on a Sustainability Performance Platform (SPP) that has access to the right data in real-time from all potential sources via extreme interoperability, which is then coupled with in-field real-time sensors to, comms and networks, and other safety-related technologies, such as wearables.
I4 Mining is a sustainability technology provider to the mining sector, offering ready-to-deploy ESG solutions that help miners to succeed both strategically and operationally without ever getting in the way of good business.
Our solutions enable you to easily develop strategies, deliver accurate sustainability metrics and reports in real-time, improve sustainability and business performance, as well as make predictive analytics and forecasts part of your everyday so that you can reduce risks and optimise from mine-to-market.
Speak to us today to book a demo and discover how you can get started on your digital sustainability journey.
Want to know about industrial AI + IoT more broadly?
If you'd like to find out more about the technology that underpins all of our digital mining solutions, other industrial uses of AI + IoT, or are eager to get into the detail of precisely what AI and IoT technology are then visit the Rayven blog.