Digitalization can help as smart plants and operations reduce the number of operators required. But there is the prevalence of the syndrome of proven technology. All companies want to benefit from new technologies but no one wants to be the first to try them. They know that digitalization can greatly benefit the industry, but they are not quite sure how. So, we make sure to speak directly with our customers to create a common understanding of the problem and, step-by-step, to start building a solution that will provide continuous improvement. The idea is to incorporate digitalization throughout the whole value chain to also gather integrated data.
I believe the biggest problem is that mines try to cut costs excessively. Sometimes the highest cost in an operation is personnel, due to the number of people needed but also the impact unions can have on production. Understandably, many mines want to automate their processes to reduce costs and increase safety. With the FMSL, autonomous or semi-autonomous trucks are spotted using the latest 3D cameras and RFID sensors to assist accurate truck alignment. Distanced from the shovel operation, truck drivers (if present) can enjoy a safer and more controlled working environment, as they are separated from the swinging shovel bucket. Our goal is to ensure the FMSL can be controlled by a single shovel operator. With personnel reduced and autonomous trucks introduced, site safety is greatly increased.