Innovative advances in technology, including digitisation, and automation, are significantly revolutionising the mining industry. Technologies such as AI & Big Data, autonomous vehicles, drones, automated sorting, and dewatering technology are reshaping the industry. Their benefits include improving mine safety, predicting mine hazards, and sending real-time information.
1. Autonomous vehicles
Self-driving vehicles are one of the progressions that mining companies are taking to improve the highly volatile sector. For a long time, mining has been faced by problems such as precarious conditions in the mines, lack of skilled labour, and high operating costs. Autonomous vehicles have provided a solution to this because they are safer, cheaper, and reliable. The vehicles integrate technologies such as GPS systems, two-way radio communication, and computing power to make navigation in mines safe and efficient.
2. Automated sorting
The mining industry has incorporated systems to separate valuable mineral ores from waste rock. Mining sorting equipment is not only a practical method to sort particles, but also a way to increase quality, yield, and productivity. The systems manage costs and have low downtime making mining operations highly efficient.
3. AI & Big Data
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data technologies present the mining industry with intelligent machines that work like humans and the benefits of data analytics to improve operations. With these technologies, mining is simplified because the devices can perform a variety of tasks such as drilling, blasting, and sampling. The application of AI and Big data also improves data exchange between users and reduces mining risks to workers because all risks are analysed.
The use of drones in mining solves numerous challenges in the industry by providing faster surveying, better blast optimisation, and improved surveillance of the mines. Data that was inaccessible or otherwise unsafe to reach can now be accessed and sent to the systems.
5. Dewatering technology
Influxes of water caused by weather conditions such as heavy rainfall can significantly slow down open-pit mining. For this reason, dewatering technology is used to handle the maximum inflow of water into the mines. These efforts reduce downtime and prevent the risk of operations.
Will Technology & Automation Replace the Workforce?
Don’t be afraid of losing your jobs to robots. The goal of automation isn’t to replace workers, it’s to ensure they don’t need to be replaced due to injury or being over-worked by moving them to a safer environment. These technological advances have brought a shift toward sustainable, efficient, and safe mining.
While manufacturing companies globally are changing the production game by adding more automation to the line, some are wondering if this is meant to replace the manufacturing employees. Rest assured that this assumption, though based on some merit, is completely untrue.
Electronics design and manufacturing companies, like Hetech, are set to update, improve and increase productivity through the use of automation. This automation is intended to assist, not replace.
While Australian SME companies are integrating into Industry 4.0, the development, addition and use of new technologies is unavoidable. In a sense, the introduction of automation into SME manufacturing companies helps to level the playing field a bit…but how?
Automation in manufacturing is simply this: The use of automatic equipment, that requires little human intervention and interaction, in a system of production processes. It has the potential to improve business for SMEs, along with making improvements in the labour force along the way.
The time and attention that is freed up due to automation will help businesses achieve a better level of productivity and labour force effectiveness. Automation is meant to enhance, not take over.
To put it bluntly, automation in Australian electronics manufacturing is becoming essential for the local companies to compete in the world manufacturing platform. Integration into Industry 4.0 is essential.
Manufacturing companies of all sizes are investing in and working towards industry 4.0. Industry 4.0 encompasses the current automation trend and method of data exchange within manufacturing technologies and companies. Often referred to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Industry 4.0 includes cognitive computing, The Internet of Things, cloud computing and cyber-physical systems.
For manufacturing companies to succeed, it is imperative that they keep up with the integration rate. Manufacturing companies, like Hetech, are investing in a variety of automated machines. These include, but are not limited to, new SMT machines, conformal coating machines, inventory and asset tracking systems and optical inspection machines. Our automated machines are fully intended to help our labour force operate at a smarter and faster level.
Automated machines can propel SMEs toward Industry 4.0 by reducing the risk, and encouraging our existing labour to work faster, not harder.
For many SME companies, it’s imperative to receive automation funding. Thankfully, SME manufacturers can look to local governments for grants to invest in automation. These grants are meant to assist SMEs with becoming more competitive, allowing them to grow in the international market. With funding, comes relevance.
Automation in manufacturing is giving SME companies the ability to succeed on a level of companies that exist on a much larger scale. The possibilities here are incredible, and paired with current labour, endless. These two components will work seamlessly together to push many SMEs closer and closer to Industry 4.0.