A common misconception about digital deployment world is that it erodes job functions. In a remote environment like a mine, technologies that connect workers empower them to make informed, real-time decisions, driving operational efficiency, worker safety, and profitability. The rugged and geographically dispersed nature of mines makes fast and accurate communication critical. Mobile devices are handy, quite literally, and constant connectivity is an indispensable tool.

We’ve identified 8 reasons that digitally connected mine workers are safer, more informed, and more productive than their non-digital counterparts.

1. Before any work begins, a workplace exam is performed to detect hazards — for example, falling rock or flooding. Operators notify other miners about any hazards, and corrective action is taken before work can begin. Software that connects workers using mobile devices performs this function seamlessly so that all workers are operating with the same critical information. Both rapidInspect and groundHog offer these capabilities.

2. The ability to instantly detect toxic gases is life-saving. What works best? Sensors that leverage IoT to detect and instantly notify all the stakeholders. (IoT combines smart sensors, cloud computing and big data with connectivity.)

3. Water quality at tailing dams must be monitored. An integrated digital solution is ideal to detect tainted water, send notifications quickly, and trigger corrective treatment. groundHog and rapidInspect both facilitate these decision-making processes.

4. Deploy a Short Interval Control (SIC) system based on a customized fleet-management platform (such as groundHog). The brilliance of SIC is that it allows you to review performance data throughout a shift. For example, use mobile devices to track asset utilization yield. By recording in-shift tasks and progress, you can make on-the-fly decisions to maximize productivity and minimize inefficiency. These short-term gains go a long way toward helping a mine reach optimal production capacity and reduce cost.

5. Managers need on-demand access to real-time information to make decisions on everything from worker safety to productivity optimization. The ability of remote operations centers to schedule activities depends on having the right data to assess the current situation. From these centers, personnel can assign trucks and loaders, monitor machine conditions, schedule maintenance, and track production. With SIC, there is no need to wait to take action.

6. Peer-to-peer connectivity is the most practical solution to ensure network reliability in underground mines. Wi-Fi at every face is prohibitively expensive in underground mines, and cellular service can be a problem for remote locations. For more on this issue, read our recent blog.

7. Having an integrated network paves the way for predictive analytics on maintenance, safety, and production. This promotes cost efficiency by reducing downtime, maximizing utilization, avoiding potential losses and promoting good behaviors. groundHog enables predictive analytics.

8. The use of dashboards plays a critical role because it opens a window into your operations. A good dashboard distills the reams of data into usable forms. Data visualization has become a buzzword because it’s a great tool to inform decision making in real-time. It’s not just about collecting the data; it’s also about presenting it in usable and efficient ways. Customized dashboards put the data at your fingertips.

The activities of an underground mine have been compared to a black box: The inputs and outputs are apparent, but what happens in between is a mystery. If you can’t access that information, in real time, your mine might be less safe and less productive than it could be.

We’ve identified today’s mining mission: Collect the most pertinent data reflecting your mine’s operations and communicate it to all stakeholders in easy-to-digest and actionable formats. groundHog lifts the lid on the black box and allows you to eliminate previously unknown inefficiencies.

Digital technologies unleash data-driven insights. But the lack of a connected workforce erodes your ability to optimize your operations. Ready to request a demo of rapidInspect or groundHog so you can make some informed decisions?

A Digital Inspection App for Mining Ops

rapidInspect is an app designed specifically for miners, equipped with digital tools adhering to MSHA’s new Workplace Examination Rule. rapidInspectApp helps miners perform digital workplace inspections, peer-to-peer sharing of hazard notifications and automatic record management.
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