Aerial photograph of vehicle assets in a mining site connected remotely through IoT

How IoT is transforming remote asset management in mining

16/3/23 | 5 minute read

In the world of mining, managing remote assets has always been a challenge. These assets, which include everything from equipment and machinery to vehicles and infrastructure, are often located in remote, sometimes dangerous, locations that are difficult to access and maintain.

With the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT), remote asset management is drastically helping mining operators overcome these challenges. IoT is helping businesses throughout the industry change the way they work for the better saving time, money and to better protect the lives of their staff.

According to market data, mining businesses saved an average of 1.76% on costs in 2018 showing that cost optimization is a significant benefit of mining automation. This is predicted to climb to 16.02% in 2023. This outstanding ROI is the result of years of integrating IoT technology in mining.

A significant advantage of IoT is that it eliminates the need for manual inspections and maintenance, which can be time-consuming, dangerous, and costly. Instead, businesses can use predictive maintenance based on the data collected by IoT sensors to schedule maintenance tasks only when needed, reducing downtime, and extending the lifespan of their equipment.

More importantly, it increases the effectiveness of health and safety processes. The mining industry is no stranger to injuries on the job, and even some fatalities. Minimising such incidents should be the number one priority. And with robust IoT solutions readily available that utilise resilient satellite network connectivity, there isn’t a reason mining operators shouldn’t be adopting this type of remote asset management.

Here are some of the ways IoT is transforming remote asset management in mining:

Although IoT can be applied to a wide range of systems, processes, and tasks in almost any sector, this blog focusses on the benefits for the mining industry. Please read on to find out about specific examples that show how mining operations are being transformed by IoT remote asset management.

Predictive Maintenance

One of the biggest benefits of IoT in mining is the ability to perform predictive maintenance. IoT sensors can monitor the condition of mining equipment and machinery in real-time, alerting maintenance teams to potential issues before they become major problems. This allows mining companies to schedule maintenance and repairs when they are needed. In traditional maintenance methods, equipment is often maintained on a fixed schedule, which may not account for the actual condition of the equipment. As a result, maintenance may be performed too frequently or not frequently enough, leading to lost productivity, increased costs, and potentially catastrophic equipment failures.

However, with IoT-based predictive maintenance, mining companies can avoid these problems by performing maintenance and repairs only when necessary, based on the actual condition of the equipment.

Improved Safety - IoT sensors can help improve safety in mining operations.

Sensors can be used to monitor the location of miners and vehicles, detect hazardous conditions, and track the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). This data can be used to identify areas where safety improvements are needed and to implement new safety protocols.

IoT can also optimise the monitoring of air quality, temperature, humidity, and other environmental factors in mining operations. The sensors can also detect the presence of gases, such as carbon monoxide and methane, which can pose a significant risk to miners.

By monitoring these factors, sensors can alert workers and management to potential hazards, allowing them to take action to mitigate the risks.

Increased Efficiency - IoT can improve the efficiency of mining operations.

Real-time data from sensors can help optimise the use of equipment and machinery, reduce downtime, and improve fuel efficiency. Additionally, IoT can be used to monitor the supply chain, ensuring that materials and equipment are delivered on time and in the right quantities.

By setting certain thresholds, alerts can be used to optimise the decision making of mining operators. If an asset such as a vehicle is not performing as well as it could, it can be brought to the attention of the mining teams.

Automation can be integrated into this process, so anything that does not need sign off from the mining staff can be adjusted automatically by the IoT system once a certain threshold is reached. This can free up people for mission critical tasks.

Cost Savings - IoT can also help mining companies save money.

By optimising the use of equipment and machinery, reducing downtime, and improving efficiency, IoT can help reduce operating costs. Additionally, by remotely monitoring assets, mining companies can reduce the need for on-site personnel, which can save on labour costs.

In conclusion, IoT is transforming remote asset management in mining by providing real-time data and insights into assets, allowing mining companies to optimise their operations, improve safety, increase efficiency, perform predictive maintenance, and save costs.

As IoT technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more innovative solutions to the challenges of remote asset management in mining.

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