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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:

Transportation

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.

Security

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.

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