Giving Rise to the Fourth Industrial RevolutionWed, 10/16/2019 - 17:07
Q: As new technologies reshape the mining industry, how will Nomada Industries be a key player in the industry’s future?
A: Industry 4.0 is a trend that is totally changing the industry. It opens up endless possibilities for optimizing procedures. At Nomada Industries, we focus on technologies that optimize mineral production and processing. For instance, we have developed NOTE, short for Nomada Telemetrics, a device for visualizing all the factors in a mine’s ecosystem, both open pit and underground. NOTE dramatically enhances, not only safety, but also productivity. It enables operators to exactly determine asset location and performance, as well as control the time it will take them to carry out a particular task.
Q: What differentiates NOTE from other alternatives in the market?
A: It makes it possible to visualize and control any variable, anywhere in the world, in real time. For example, it gives detailed access to a machine’s temperature, humidity, pressure and pH levels. If these variables fall outside the predefined parameters, NOTE alerts the operator. It has three data encryption keys, making it practically impossible to hack. Also, NOTE is immune to electromagnetic noise, which abounds in mining sites.
The data generated is stored in the cloud. Whoever has an internet connection and authorization can quickly access the data. This way of storing information creates a sort of black box. Companies intend to keep everything running optimally but when for any reason it does not, this data can help pinpoint the reasons for failure and make sure it never happens again.
At present, NOTE is controlling and optimizing manufacturing processes at a Bombardier plant. For instance, the company can know how many cuts and hits per minute its die-cutting machines are carrying out. The efficiency of the process and the productivity of the workers becomes transparent.
We are working on a neural network, fed by NOTE, that will learn from past events so as to consistently replicate them. We are using machine learning that weaves together increasingly complex data patterns. The system adapts on its own, learning how to prevent accidents and stop extraordinary situations from happening. It eventually plans autonomously.
Q: How do NOMADA boards add value to a mining operation?
A: They are the brains of technology like 3D printers, drones, NFC and RFID. In mining, NOMADA boards are mainly used as the operational core for detonation systems. We implemented them with this end at Los Pelambres, a copper mine in the Chilean Andes. Conditions there are extreme, and our boards have performed beyond our already high expectations. They are military and aerospace-grade, allowing them to withstand temperatures of -40 degrees Celsius. There have been no accidents, and our boards are still in operation, with excellent results, five years after installation. We have only provided preventive maintenance, never corrective.
Partnering NOMADA boards with NOTE devices results in the finest consoles in the world for detonating explosives. Commonly, once a detonation system receives the order, it simply detonates. But thanks to NOTE, our consoles can detect if there are people within the explosion area, or anything that should not be there. Detonation is automatically stopped, which adds incommensurably to safety.
Q: What is your growth strategy for the next five years?
A: Mining is slow to include new technology. We want to consolidate our relationships with the most important companies, like Goldcorp or Peñoles, because that is how our solutions will become widely sought-after in Mexico. At present, most of the Mexican industry is rather conventional. It lacks a systematized, digital-control system that helps to obtain the best results efficiently. The transition, however, is gradually taking place. Cyber-connected systems for boosting productivity are the future. For Nomada Industries, the future is now.