Internet of Things: Perspective from Mine Expo 2016

The Internet of Things (IoT), enabled by digitization and data connectivity, is impacting many industries by changing business models and efficiencies. By connecting the previously unconnected, manufacturing and process industries are utilizing data for predictive maintenance, techniques designed to help determine the condition of equipment in order to predict when maintenance should be performed, to improve uptimes and through-put. The transportation industry is leveraging connectivity to increase safety and optimize fuel consumption.

Mining is another industry where IoT technologies are gaining traction. Many companies are deploying autonomous mining trucks that operate around the clock and use various sensors to monitor key parameters like temperature, pressure, vibration, terrain, etc., and use connectivity for remote operations and asset management. In addition, the diagnostic information collected from all these sensors enable predictive maintenance of mining equipment using big data analytics, resulting in reduced operational costs and increased uptimes. Some mining companies also offer autonomous drilling systems and other automated systems with connectivity for remote operations.

Internet of Mining, which encompasses IoT solutions for the mining industry, is a perfect example of advanced technologies improving the safety and productivity in profound ways:

  • Reliability and Uptimes: Mining equipment like crushers, mills, pumps and filters are being monitored in real-time using various sensors to optimize operations and for predictive maintenance. This can prevent line-down situations that can cost tens of thousands of dollars in mining revenue.
  • Safety: Sensors continuously monitor underground mines for gas levels and other parameters. This data is analyzed to predict and prevent unsafe conditions and to raise alerts.
  • Through-put: Sensors are used to monitor the quantity and size of minerals and to avoid roping to improve through-put to optimize profitability
  • Productivity: Autonomous systems are used to enable continuous operations and increase productivity of mining operations.

At last week’s Mine Expo 2016, I came across many companies, large and small, that are utilizing IoT technologies to improve process monitoring, equipment reliability, fleet management and operational efficiencies. Global equipment OEMs like Caterpillar, Komatsu and Liebherr were showcasing their autonomous trucks and Caterpillar was also showing their Minestar® asset management platform using large interactive touch-panels. This IoT platform enables fleet management, equipment health monitoring, tracking and control operations. GE showed their Predix platform for mining data analytics and visualization. A couple of other companies talked about ‘connected mines’ and mine equipment maintenance management using IoT to reduce unscheduled downtimes by 20 percent using predictive maintenance.

Dell is partnering with leading mining technology and services companies like Weir Minerals (, to develop innovative IoT solutions to enable improved productivity, operational efficiency and safety. Dell has the industry’s broadest infrastructure portfolio provides spanning from smart edge computing platforms to server and datacenter platforms and offers a strong partner ecosystem to provide value-added IoT solutions for various industries. Learn more at

Attending Dell World this month? We’ll share more about how we’re working with Weir in Session “MT119: Digital Transformation: Cut through the hype to propel your organization forward” on Thursday, October 20 at 9:30am.  

About the Author: Satish Ram