According to a recent report, the smart mining industry is due to increase in value to $24,047.6 million in 2027. These economic projections are so favourable for a reason, with smart electronics helping to increase industry efficiency and reduce costs. In this post, we’re going to take a look at how smart mining is the future of the industry and what kinds of technology you can implement.
What is smart mining?
As harsh mining atmospheres continue to impact employee health and business profitability, many manufacturers have begun introducing smart mining solutions into their workforce.
Smart mining involves the use of automation and technology to reduce operational costs and increase productivity.
While some systems gather data to offer accurate information about the mine’s performance and resources, others free up essential workers by mechanising processes.
How IoT solutions can help mining
A mining system utilising the Internet of Things (IoT) involves various pieces of technology integrated over a single WiFi connection. They can help monitor emissions and air pollution, for example, to ensure compliance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Equally, they can help implement automation and reduce costs for businesses. Vital categories in which IoT solutions are aiding smart mining include:
- Hardware– Covering trucks, excavators, load haul dump, drillers and breakers, IoT can help automate hardware and monitor its performance from a single location.
- Sensors– From wearable sensors for the workforce to ensure their vitals remain healthy to pollution and noise sensors, smart mining technology can help you gather data about your business’s performance.
- RFID Tags– Otherwise known as Radio-frequency identification tags, these handy pieces of technology use smart barcodes to monitor the location of equipment. They help improve security, reducing your insurance costs.
- Intelligent Systems– With an IoT solution, all of this information is in one place, making it accessible and easy to use.
Mining types that will benefit from smart technology
Different kinds of technology will benefit from certain types of mining techniques. For example, underground mines can utilise accurate noise and dust data to minimise health risks for employees or enable location tracking to keep your workforce safe. Meanwhile, surface mining, such as an open pit or open cast miners, can benefit from an automated fleet of remote-controlled equipment to help move materials with ease.
Hetech has been involved in the manufacture of LASC (Longwall Automation Steering Committee) products to improve the safety for underground mining employees.More details on the CSIRO website
At Hetech, we specialise in advanced manufacturing of IoT technology and electronics that can benefit the mining industry. Our Australian designed and made products can help you future proof your business, so get in touch today to find out more.
Why risk your bottom line? A secure supply-chain management plan is vital for the successful manufacture of high-quality products, delivered to the timescales your customers demand.
1. Your production needs to continue
Regardless of where your materials and components are sourced, your operation needs to keep creating items in the volume your customers require. Opting for a national supplier if possible helps to reduce the risk of production being compromised, irrespective of the wider international situation.
2. Tensions between China and the US continue to remain high
With China and the US becoming increasingly hostile towards one another, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, companies who rely on suppliers from either of those two nations are in a perilous position. With Brexit likely to cause issues with European supply chains, there’s every reason to consider national suppliers in order to minimise the risk of unwanted delays and component scarcity.
3. Be Proudly Australian Made
Being able to market your products as “Australian made” has an enormously beneficial effect on sales. Customers want the guarantee of quality and integrity which nationally sourced and supplied products can bring.
How can Hetech help secure your product supply-chain?
Hetech has launched our Supply Chain Consultation service. We will conduct a complete supply chain risk audit, used to identify high risk components, long lead times and unique suppliers. From this an action plan is created, with the aim of enhancing supplier and component supply security.
When you choose to partner with Hetech to secure your supply chain you will receive:
- A Comprehensive Supply Chain Audit to identify risks
- Access to Hetech’s global reach of suppliers
- Exceptional obsolescence management programs
- Local support and order management
Talk to us today to get a complimentary initial assessment of your supply chain*
07 3297 9700 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The mining industry is leading the way in AI technology innovation, which is due, in part, to its reliance on expensive equipment. In order to succeed, the efforts of mining companies are focussed on improving their efficiency, which means developing pioneering artificial intelligence technology to speed up industrial processes and minimise errors and accidents. Some uses of artificial intelligence in the mining industry include:
Autonomous trains have now joined autonomous haul trucks in the mining industry to transport goods without the assistance of a driver. The anglo-Australian mining company, Rio Tinto, has now put these automated trains to use, transporting goods via 240 train cars that travel over a distance of 1,700km. The innovative information technology company, the VIST Group is also implementing AI-automated transport in the form of haul trucks with the Russian coal producer, SUEK.
Mining companies across the globe currently use AI sensors to monitor vibration and temperature to warn dispatchers and drivers about mining conditions that could potentially be dangerous. Leading global resources company, BHP, has provided their truck drivers with caps installed with smart AI technology to monitor their brainwaves and notify them when they begin to fall asleep to avoid accidents. Mining equipment manufacturer, Caterpillar, has stated that one of the leading causes of equipment accidents in the industry is driver drowsiness, and so they have partnered with leading AI vision company, Seeing Machines, to incorporate eye-tracking technology into a number of their mining trucks.
Sorting and granulometry
AI smart sensors are another useful tool for mining companies to utilise, as they are able to detect chunks of rocks that are too large to be crushed and may waste valuable time. Tomra has developed a smart sensor that can use infra-red rays and X-rays to detect pieces of rock in the slag stream and separate them from clay, dirt and other minerals. In fact, one of Tomra’s smart sensors managed to detect a 227-carat diamond.
See some of Hetech’s mining projects HERE
For electronics manufacturing and design services you can rely on, get in touch with the experts at Hetech today.
Designing a new electronic device from scratch is no easy task. The process can seem overwhelming at first, especially if you’re an entrepreneur or startup with little to no experience of electronics design or engineering.
But don’t let that put you off creating your dream product. By breaking the process down into a few simple steps you can easily create a functional prototype which can then be used to raise additional funds or venture capital.
So in this blog, we want to share with you our five-step process for creating a prototype electronics device.
1. Create the circuit schematic
The first step is to create a circuit schematic for your device. This is effectively the blueprint for your product. At this stage, you will need to make decisions about which topology to use and select relevant components. If you don’t have any experience with electronics design you can outsource this step to an electronics engineer.
If you do have some electronics engineering experience, you may want to create your own schematic. There are several software packages available for this but for smaller projects we recommend DipTrace. This is a low-cost software suite which is easy to learn, but still capable of creating and simulating complex schematics.
2. Design the PCB layout
With the schematic designed, it’s time to create the PCB layout. You can do this in DipTrace as well. Alternatively, your PCB manufacturer will be able to design the layout from your schematic.
If creating the PCB design yourself, you will need to obtain a specifications sheet from your PCB manufacturer. Each manufacturer uses different specifications for trace spacings and wire widths etc. So these will need to be accounted for in your final PCB design.
3. Evaluate and debug
Once your PCB has been designed you can create a prototype board. This will allow you to evaluate and debug the product in its most basic form. You will usually find a couple of issues at this stage, but don’t worry this is a normal part of the development process. Just work through the problems one by one until you are happy.
4. Program the microcontroller
Most devices these days have a microcontroller which acts as the brains of the device. This is usually programmed in ‘C’, but if you have a device which needs to be super-efficient you may want to consider Assembly language. Once again you can outsource this step if you don’t have any programming experience.
5. Create a prototype
Now it’s time to create a working prototype. Start by creating a 3D model of the device using CAD software. This will show you how the final design will look and help you create accurate costings.
Most prototypes are made using 3D printing technology these days. But if you outsource this step to an industrial designer, choose one with experience of both injection moulding and 3D printing techniques. It is quite common for inexperienced designers to create 3D models which are suitable for 3D printing but which cannot be injection moulded.
While this is just a quick overview of the electronics manufacturing and design process, you can clearly see that in just a few simple steps you can easily go from idea to working prototype.
If you would like help bringing your idea to market, get in touch with the electronics experts at Hetech. We can help you create circuit schematics and PCB designs or we can provide complete turnkey product development and manufacturing services to help bring your product to market quickly.
Give us a call on 07 3297 9700 or complete the form here.
Having an excellent electronic design is only one element of the electronic design and manufacturing process. One other essential element you must consider is how durable and long-lasting your product will be. You must carefully consider where and how your product will be used and how you can protect your product against any harsh environmental factors that it may be subject to.
If you have designed an electronic product that may be used outside, you must consider how UV rays will affect the quality of your product. Even if your product will not be exposed to direct sunlight, you must calculate how the temperature of UV rays may affect your product adversely.
Should your electronic product be used in the industrial or mining industry, you may wish to consider how dust will affect your product. On a PCB (printed circuit board), dust can cause electrical leakage and harm the resistance between conductors.
If your electronic product will be used in outdoor environments, you should be aware of how consistent exposure to moisture will affect the quality of your product. Can your product handle being caught in a heavy downpour? You should have a full understanding of this before you release your product to market.
How will your electronic product meet flammability standards? It is important you have a thorough understanding of this before trying to market or sell your product.
How can I protect my product against the aforementioned environmental factors?
Conformal coating is a protective layer that can be applied to your electronic product to protect it against harsh and harmful environmental factors. It is essential, however, that conformal coating is applied by an expert company to ensure the coating does not pool and no areas of your product are missed.
Contact Hetech today
Hetech is your design and manufacturing partner and can help you at every stage of the electronics design and manufacturing process, including applying and preparing conformal coating. To learn more about how we can protect your product against environmental factors, do not hesitate to get in touch with us today.
The world is an uncertain place, so it makes sense to be prepared for the unexpected. Having basic management plans (such as Obsolescence Management) in place enables your organisation to deal effectively with a threat to your product, no matter what direction it might come from. As an experienced electronic manufacturing firm, we have seen our share of crises over the years. Drawing on what we’ve learned, we’ve put together a handy checklist that provides essential pointers regarding how best to respond when a crisis looms.
Have your obsolescence management plan alternatives ready
If you’re relying on a limited number of companies to source your obsolescence parts, a glitch in the supply process could cause all sorts of problems. Ensuring you have back up suppliers ready to swing into action if needed is important for your obsolescence plan to work smoothly, no matter what’s happening in the world.
Communicate with your suppliers
The more you’re able to tell your suppliers what demand is likely to be for their parts, the easier it is for them to meet your needs. Similarly, if suppliers suspect there may be a problem with their ability to maintain supply for whatever reason, early warning helps you come up with alternatives. Hetech pro-actively keeps stock levels high, enabling us to cope with fluctuating customer demand smoothly. By communicating regularly, the chances of supply and demand matching are far higher.
Forecast product requirements
The more notice you can give your suppliers of the volume required and the deadlines you’re looking at, the easier it is for them to make sure that your order is ready to go on time. Particularly when you have a long-standing arrangement with a supplier, they will often be able to have your stock set aside months (or even years) before you need it. In the event of a crisis, this can really help.
Support local businesses
Using Australian businesses to meet your needs makes economic and ethical sense. When you use an Australian supplier, you can be confident of receiving high-quality goods that offer excellent value.
Get in touch to find out more about Hetech and what we can offer.
When it comes to developing actual physical products electronics engineers have two options: Proof of Concept and Prototyping. But what is the difference between the two stages and which one is most appropriate for your stage in the design lifecycle?
In this blog, we are going to explore the difference between the two concepts because while they are similar there are key differences between them which you need to understand if your final design is to be successful.
What is Proof of Concept?
When designing and developing new electronics products, it is a good idea to validate your initial ideas with a physical device.
Proof of Concept is an early-stage physical product which is used to test the feasibility and demonstrate the functionality of your design. Proof of Concept devices are usually constructed using off-the-shelf components and development kits to keep costs down and speed up development.
Proof of Concept designs are also useful for forecasting the cost of manufacturing. Often product designers add functionality which is not strictly necessary but significantly adds to the cost of the product. A Proof of Concept can help designers focus on the functionality which is needed and remove everything else.
Finally, Proof of Concept can also be used to create a minimum viable product to showcase your product to investors. Entrepreneurs are more likely to get funding for a new product if they can show a physical device to potential investors.
What is Prototyping?
Prototypes are constructed later in the development cycle, usually, after the schematics and PCB design have been completed. A prototype should be based on the final “real-world” product and allow end-users to carry out extensive field testing of the device.
The prototype stage is one of the most important in the product design lifecycle. Prototypes should be used to uncover any problems which were not predicted during the design and feasibility stage. This ensures all issues are corrected before going into full production greatly increasing reliability out in the field.
Get in touch
If you would like more information about Hetech’s electronics design and prototyping solutions, get in touch with us using the contact form here or give our team a call on +61 (0)7 3297 9700 to discuss your project further.
If you are currently developing a product, one important factor you must consider is the durability and life-span of your product. If your electronics design works perfectly but reduces in quality quickly due to exposure to external factors and lack of protection, customers will not want to repurchase the product due to its lack of durability. So, how can you extend the life of your electronic products?
What is a conformal coating?
Conformal coating is a thin polymeric material which is popularly used as a coating on printed circuit boards as it is able to conform to the contours of the circuit board without compromising its performance. Coatings are usually 50µm thick but can vary from 25-75µm in thickness.
Why is a conformal coating beneficial?
Conformal coating is beneficial for printed circuit boards as it is able to protect the circuit board from dust, moisture and chemical contaminants. The coating can even protect the PCB from harsh environments and weather conditions. This is ideal for electronics that may be used in the mining and industrial industry, or any industry where electronics are constantly exposed to harsh or hazardous environments.
Is conformal coating necessary?
Without a conformal coating, as soon as your product is exposed to a new environment it may begin to decrease is quality. To ensure your products are reliable and long-lasting, conformal coating is an essential stage in the electronics design and manufacturing process.
Conformal coating services provided by Hetech
Hetech operates with a state of the art conformal coating machine. This ensures conformal coating can be applied as accurately and efficiently as possible. Using such an advanced machine ensures no sections of the PCB are missed and no pooling occurs, this ensures a high-quality finish to each and every product coating.
Contact Hetech today
To learn more about our advanced conformal coating machine or any other of our design and manufacturing services, do not hesitate to contact us today. We are your design and manufacturing electronics partner and we can offer turn-key solutions to ensure your product is as reliable, long-lasting and as durable as possible.
There is no room for error in electronics manufacturing.
The components that make up complex systems for sectors like defence, mining and heavy industry must work exactly as they are designed with total reliability over a long period of time.
These exacting standards require a thorough and dedicated approach to manufacturing, overseen by a rigorous Quality Assurance programme.
When looking for a manufacturer to develop or build electronics, it’s vital that the company has a strong in-house QA programme to ensure there aren’t any problems further down the line.
More efficient project cycles
A major benefit of a strong QA programme for electronics design and manufacturing is the ability to develop more efficient processes.
Problems or snags in the design or production phases can be identified and solved quickly, streamlining the entire process so that the production cycle is shortened.
And in a highly competitive market, the ability to get your product made at a faster rate without compromising safety or quality is very valuable.
Higher quality products
Quality Assurance is all about ensuring the end product meets an exacting standard, whether it’s one unit or a thousand and more.
Having a strong QA process to oversee electronics engineering ensures that every component is designed and constructed to an accountable standard that’s rigorously enforced.
Greener manufacturing processes
Another big benefit of Quality Assurance is that every process that gets streamlined reduces the overall environmental impact of the manufacturing process.
This is an increasingly important consideration for electronics manufacturers, who seek to advance the world through innovation while also protecting the environment.
Hetech’s Quality Assurance programme
Hetech has been leading the way for electronics manufacturing for many years and has always strived to the highest standards.
To push our perfection even higher, we have received a number of successfull QA audits from top tier manufacturers like Boeing and Rheinmetall.
And to ensure our high standards continue, we recently appointed an in-house QA manager to allow us to attain even higher accreditations.
So if you want the best possible standards for your electronics manufacturing project, contact us at Hetech and be assured that quality is our highest priority.
When you are designing a new electronic product, the last thing on your mind may be your new product becoming obsolete or ineffective. In reality, shifts in technology and product design trends can cause changes in components and assembly practices which can cause some electronic designs to become obsolete. To avoid this negatively affecting your business, obsolescence management is essential.
What is obsolescence management?
Obsolescence management is an essential stage of electronics design and manufacturing as it analyses all the components used to create a product, and creates a management plan for how to replace the components of a product before they become obsolete. Obsolescence management also involves determining the lifespan of individual components and creates a plan of action for replacing them before they become redundant and begin to have a negative effect on a product or system.
Why is obsolescence management important?
Without effective obsolescence management, certain components may begin to wear and age without the owner realising. The product will begin to become ineffective, eventually creating a negative option of the product and the company that sold it. Obsolescence management looks to replace components with a short lifespan for better quality, cost-effective alternatives, if an alternative cannot be found, they can guarantee replacement services for consumers after a specified period of time.
Obsolescence management for existing PCB assemblies
Obsolescence management services are not only available for new electronic designs, but existing products, such as PCB assembly boards can also benefit from obsolescence services. For example, if you have an assembly board with design flaws or your assembly board is created with products that have been recalled or discontinued, obsolescence management services can help to find and fix the flaw and find an effective replacement solution for discontinued components. If you’re looking to upgrade a PCB assembly board, obsolescence management can be a great place to start.
Contact Hetech today
At Hetech, we are your electronics design and manufacturing partner. Our expertise in electronics design and manufacturing allows us to deliver high-quality obsolescence management services. For more information about obsolescence management or PCB design, contact us today!