The world we are living in today is getting smarter and increasingly interconnected thanks to the fast-changing development of technologies such as internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), big data, advanced sensors, communications infrastructures, etc. The fact of the matter is, compared to other industries, generally the resources industry is lagging behind in terms of embracing new technologies which could help build and run safer, more efficient and smarter operations. The question remains: how to integrate new technology into a conventional industry such as coal mining & processing to make it smarter?
Realizing the challenges & opportunities, DADI has been dedicating significant amount of resources on the development of SmartMine solutions. Today, our SmartMine™ solutions include both smart mining solutions and smart plant solutions.
Nowadays most modern coal & mineral processing plants use different technologies to monitor the plant operation. A lot of data, including production data, lab analytical data, critical equipment operating data, are being generated all the time. The challenge is how these data shall be utilized to help increase the operational efficiency?
To build new smart plant or upgrade a conventional plant into a smart one, the first step is to equip the plant with enough sensors to monitor the entire process including measuring mass & or volumetric rates, product quality info., critical equipment status, etc. The plant is completely “wired” or wirelessly connected via 4G or 5G network & all the data is stored in the cloud which can be accessed via internet using either PC or mobile devices. Then here is where the smart plant technology comes to play: the system could alert plant operators once abnormal operating conditions occur and or predict premature equipment failure happens, thus greatly reducing plant down time. By constantly monitoring and analyzing the plant data using the unmatched computing capacity & tools such as big data & data mining, machine learning, etc., the smart plant technology passively enables the plant to perform at its optimal level.
Our smart mining solutions focus on automating the underground mining process, notably smart integrated longwall top coal caving (LTCC) solutions. The technology has been successfully applied at several large-scale underground mines where hundreds of sensors and cameras were installed on the longwall miner system which allow the miner to be remotely operated on the surface. The system is able to monitor, collect & analyze large amount of data in real time to make sure the miner operates at its optimum performance. Compared with a dozen of miners required to operate a conventional longwall face each shift, a smart long wall system only needs a couple of workers underground to keep an eye on the system, thus the operation safety and productivity can be greatly increased.