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Ensuring employee safety is the top priority in an electronics manufacturing workplace. One kind of potentially dangerous incident is an electrostatic discharge (ESD), where two objects with differing levels of electric charge come into close proximity. The charge is bounced back and forth between the objects with increasing speed, resulting in it becoming higher. This can result in everything from a flash of stormy lightning to a minor buzz felt between two busy children on a plastic playground slide. In an electrical manufacturing plant, however, a significant ESD can cause major damage to equipment and the delicate electronics that are being assembled. Worse, it can result in sparks, fire and even explosions that can seriously injure employees.

ESD safety equipment is built around the principles of preventing static electricity build-up, and carefully discharging any that has. Most importantly, providing protection from any sudden or unexpected surges that might occur. In electrical manufacturing or engineering environments, one of the best ways to protect workers from ESD is grounding – flooring with anti-static mats or other conductive material that controls and reroutes any dangerous electrical charges.

ESD Wrist Strap

Hetech, with its strong culture of putting safety first, has recently installed new ESD flooring in their factories. Other ESD prevention technologies include special workwear with conductive filaments, like wrist and foot straps, to avoid high charges accumulating on the body. In a large industrial environment, humidity (a natural repellent to the accumulation of electrical charge) control and careful monitoring is also important.

Hetech, certified both in Australia and internationally in electrical safety management, also adheres to international safety standards for operating an Electrostatic Discharge Protected Area (EPA). This not only includes the ESD flooring and safety equipment described above but policies and procedures to assure no delicate electronics are placed in close proximity to materials with a high-charge capacity. In their production of innovative electronics design and technology, Hetech are committed to intrinsically safe products manufactured under the very best conditions for their employees.

Thanks to ESD prevention technology, we have the utmost confidence our production process ensures the highest quality builds with fewer chances of electronic faults. Contact Hetech today for more information on ESD prevention technology, and how to ensure your electrical manufacturing employees are in the safest workplace.

The 5G rollout has begun in Australia, with fixed and mobile internet providers releasing new plans and products across the exciting new network. Mobile device users will benefit from enormous boosts in download speed, almost 100 times faster than the current 4G network at 20 megabytes per second (Gbps). Even at its lowest predicted speed of 100 megabytes per second (Mbps), 5G is still expected to perform at the top speed of the National Broadband Network (NBN).

5G Supercharges IoT Products

Other benefits of 5G include faster latency – the lag time between information sent to and back from a mobile device to the world wide web. This is anticipated to be as quick as 1 millisecond, compared to the current 40 milliseconds on the 4G network. Another major feature expected from 5G is the ability to connect more devices to the same network, without crippling the network speed.

These factors together will be of great benefit to what is popularly termed the ‘Internet of things’ (IoT). For example, 5G in the home won’t just mean faster and better-quality TV streaming. There will also be the chance for a comprehensive home network with multiple smart devices and technology (electronics, virtual assistants, security systems) working faster and more effectively together.

Industry Benefits

For IoT in the mining, manufacturing and engineering industries, the 5G network is potentially game-changing. Highly sensitive and expensive electronic technology will operate with added speed, efficiency and engagement. The fast latency enabled by 5G will allow self-driving vehicles – of major benefit to the mining industry for accessing unsafe areas – to be navigated with increased precision and accountability. The same benefits will apply to other IoT technology such as drones, automated sorting and ‘big data’ artificial intelligence devices. Multiple device network connectivity allows more IoT technology working together with increased productivity, accuracy and efficiency.

Are you ready to implement IoT?

Hetech, as a leader in electronic design and manufacturing, is ready for the 5G revolution. They have already designed a range of electronic devices enabled with IoT, allowing effective implementation via the powerful 5G network into future products.

Contact Hetech, your electronics Design and Manufacturing Partner, to learn more about the potential benefits of 5G in your new product development.

Hetech recently attended The International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) in Melbourne. The annual event is Australia’s largest mining EXPO where the world’s leading mining technology, engineering and finance companies showcase their latest innovations.

With the mining industry currently experiencing an unprecedented change in terms of process automation, IoT and AI, this years event was particularly exciting. There were several new technologies and innovations discussed which promise to make mining safer, efficient and more environmentally sustainable in the future.

Here are Hetech’s top five takeaways from this year’s event:

1. Sustainable Mining Innovation and Goals

Environmentally sustainable mining is in focus right now as climate change forces mine owners to reduce their environmental impact. As part of the initiative to create a more sustainable mining industry, the ReThink Sustainability Index was launched at the event which aims to help mines benchmark alignment with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The tool, a joint venture between IMARC and ShineWing Australia, will help mine operators measure their progress towards meeting each of the SDG’s 17 goals for sustainability. It will also highlight strengths and areas of weakness which need to be addressed to meet the industries goals.

2. Digitisation of Mines

The digitisation of mines is starting to bring real efficiency benefits to mine owners. IIoT and other technologies have transformed the way data is collected and monitored. Processes that would have previously taken months can now be carried out instantaneously with little to no human intervention.

One such solution showcased at IMARC was CSIRO’s automated groundwater monitoring system. This innovative system uses sensors to remotely monitor groundwater levels deep in the mine. The data is then fed back to a central computer to provide 24hr monitoring for contaminants. Once certified the system will replace conventional manual water sampling methods, which can take up eight weeks to complete.

Hetech with CSIRO discussing their latest automated groundwater monitoring system.
Hetech MD, Mark Steiner with CSIRO

3. Continuous Operations with Automation

Continuous operation of mines is becoming more prevalent today thanks to the increased adoption of automation systems. Innovations such as remote-controlled vehicles and autonomous underground mining equipment mean workers roles are changing from being based behind the wheel or deep underground to working behind a computer screen.

One such solution was showcased by Hetech. The Australian electronics design and manufacturing company demonstrated its Vanadium Spiral ore sorting machine which is designed to integrate with gravity-fed spiral circuits to autonomously separate minerals. The solution minimises human intervention, reduces risk and helps to improve ore recovery percentages from underground mines.

4. Employee Safety through IoT and Automation

The safety of workers down the mine is of critical importance to mine owners and operators. IIoT and automation technologies can help keep workers safe by providing a range of solutions such as automated miners, tracking of personnel and real-time data collection.

Software company Strata creates software to provide real-time tracking and monitoring of personnel across the mine. The company’s StrataConnect wireless system is designed to work in the harshest conditions and does not require any pre-existing infrastructure or hard-wired backbone for installation. It can also be used for reliable communications between personnel including voice, text, and SOS messages, eliminating the restrictions of traditional TTE communications.

5. Mining Simulation & AI

A combination of technologies including AI, drones and big data have allowed mines to be mapped and simulated in more detail than ever before. This allows operators to predict the environmental impact of mining activities including assaying, drilling, sizing, crushing and transporting before they are carried out.

Simulation Engineering Technologies (SET) is a leader in the field with its SimMIne software used to create accurate models of complex mining systems. The solution allows operators to evaluate the development process in underground mines giving them a far better understanding of production system processes. This information can then be used to limit the environmental impact of mineral extraction and develop mitigation systems for environmental issues before they occur.

Our Final Thought

You can see from the above innovations showcased at IMARC that the transformation of the mining industry is in full swing. Mines are set for the biggest upheaval since the industrial revolution in the next few years as more innovative technology gets rolled out. As a result, mines of the future will be more environmentally sustainable, safer and offer greater efficiency than ever before.

To learn more about how Hetech’s electronics design and manufacturing can assist in improving your mining technology contact us today.

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