January 11, 2017

Contemporary mining operations survive by applying feedback mechanisms, a means of live-streaming current flow conditions. In days gone by, an open loop production model saw rises and falls in output, but these variations were regarded as acceptable. That’s no longer the case, not when mining equipment efficiency has adopted a closed loop design, a configuration that assures output uniformity by monitoring production output. It all begins by gifting the mine with awareness.


The feedback systems we’re referring to add an element of automation to the production line. Yes, a management team can make a key decision at this point. The administration team can make a decision to accelerate production based on gross output, but mining equipment efficiency provides a far more accurate indicator here, one that works in real time. Initially, the machinery is monitored on the conveyor belts by special sensors, electronic eyes that measure current processing efficiency. Streams of digital telemetry zip across to mainframe computers, at which point a computerised decision is made based on key program settings.


As the initial cut is transported along the monitored conveyor system, the equipment is adjusted in response to the feedback signal. Secondary crushers are brought online if congestion is an issue. Likewise, power consumption wastage is averted by turning off a line segment that’s not meeting its load expectations. The gear is self-aware, in a way, electronically smart enough to save energy or ramp up its production potential. Again, this isn’t a simple task, nor is it done in some crude binary manner. Machines aren’t just turning on and off as the monitoring system detects a mineral surge, they’re varying via a series of precisely controlled pneumatic actuators. Flow management systems absolutely rely on this degree of system oversight.


This is a sector of the mining industry that’s likely to radically transform in the next decade. Fuzzy logic controllers are already coupling with sensors that are as sharp as the human eye. They analyse flow and crushing capability at every stage of the mine. The upshot of this information technology takeover is a new breed of mining gear, a move toward mining equipment efficiency that augments inventory output.

The key to this digitally aware network is its real-time feedback mechanism. Yes, sensors are sharper than ever and computers are able to reach into every dark mining corner, but it’s the near instantaneous closed loop data return channel that makes the biggest difference. It automatically adjusts the equipment in response to current demands to create a profitable bottom line.


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