Sandvik has been the leader in India in underground hard rock machines. Today, the company does not merely sell machines but also provides solutions that help customers in enhancing productivity by optimising mining processes, says Subhasis Das, Vice President – Sales Area India, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology in a media interaction.
What kind of solutions are you expecting in Indian mining industry in the near future?
India needs to upgrade to a higher level of automation while maintaining more transparency on what’s happening in the mines. Currently, the focus is on underground mines, analytics, task management and scheduling to get a better view of what your assets are doing, what you could optimise, what are the most suitable equipment to handle your productivity and, above all, safety and better returns on investments. So, our focus this year is on analytics, automation and digitalisation that includes Artificial Intelligence (AI), better Internet of Things (IoT) and internet-connected equipment, just like Industry 4.0.
Sandvik offers the industry’s most advanced automation and teleoperation systems. These solutions significantly improve productivity and safety, while lowering the total cost of ownership. The software systems also help you to monitor your machines, give you a full overview of your fleet and enable you to control and optimise your operations. And we realise that the trend here in India is also changing and people are getting more exposed to the automation and Internet of Things (IoT).
We see some of our mining customers opting for bigger, safer and more productive machines like our 63 tonne underground trucks and the 21 tonne underground loaders. These machines are so advanced and equipped that you know exactly what’s happening underground. So, in a way, we are a step ahead of competition in the automation space.
At Sandvik, safety comes first. Keeping that objective in mind we have also introduced automated fire extinguishing systems in the Indian market. These systems get activated automatically in case of any fire incident, plus there is a manual save mode as well. This is very helpful as fire accidents are common in the mining industry.
How do your solutions enable generating maximum efficiency for mining assets?
Equipment determines the efficiency and productivity of operations. If we talk about loaders and trucks, typically it takes about 20 minutes to load a 60-tonne truck and we can save two minutes per cycle and aggregate that over a year and get about thousands of tonnes, which is free in utilising the same asset. So, it is actually asset management that it finally leads down to.
Sandvik TH663i with AutoMineTM Trucking
Being a manufacturer, we are in a strong position to provide services and we have the solutions that enable our customers to leverage the full value of digitisation.
Data is the foundation of rational decisions that enable safe and effective mining.
At Sandvik, we have developed OptiMine Analytics, that utilises the data gathered directly from the customers’ fleet and operations, as well as from the vast global Sandvik fleet. The same data is then blended with the expertise of our best mining, equipment, and analytics experts. Consequently, OptiMine Analytics can provide customers with real-time suggestions on how to improve productivity. We also have a management system that helps in optimising the customers’ mining process, called OptiMine – a modular information management solution that offers a real-time view of underground mining operations. Suitable for all mining applications and whole mobile fleet, including other OEMs, the solution is designed to provide real-time tracking and production management tools for controlling manual and automatic mining operations.
One of the other state-of-the art solutions in the automation category is AutoMineTM Tele-Remote solution. This solution is the perfect way to dig into the productivity-increasing world of automation. Enabling the operation of underground loader from the safety and comfort of an ergonomic remote-controlled station, Tele-Remote offers substantial benefits in the form of higher utilization, safety and ease of use. With features such as smart, operator-assisting automatic steering, Tele-Remote is particularly suitable for rapid production in continuously changing mining environments, such as applications with small stopes or mine development.
Even though, the chances of predictions being accurate are high, they are never going to be a 100 percent. It’s not expected as well, but the bandwidth will be considerably lower than some of the other organisations.
What will be your focus going forward?
We’re focussing on underground and big private miners as they would have the fleet size to extract a tangible and very evident benefit from the analytics. The changes in their processes will immediately reap efficient results. The biggest challenge in India is to pull users out of the inertia of age-old habits. But working together, we will make it happen.
India needs to upgrade to higher level of automation and more transparency on what’s happening in mines.
Subhasis Das, Vice President – Sales Area India, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology