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Answering Questions On Digitalisation in Mining

Johannesburg South Africa, 21 August 2018. Mining executives, facing the prospect of digital mining transformation, have issues with the more complex areas of digital solution implementation, generational workforce evolution and legacy transition challenges, which is where Schneider Electric is able to offer global expertise.

“Their questions often revolve around whether digitisation is suitable for all size of mining operations; how to enable work forces; how to identify the most pertinent and quick-win areas needing digital transformation and how Schneider Electric can facilitate this transformation journey,” explains Marc Ramsay, ‎Vice President Industry Business Unit at Schneider Electric South Africa.

“We advise that in the initial stages, companies should start with a quick review of their raw material and products, as they progress through their overall supply chain. It is important to analyse areas of constraints, as these problem areas are the best starting point. Data sources and stability in basic operations should always be identified before implementation of digital solutions. This is because implementation of digital methods will amplify the issues and limit the application of more advanced digitisation smart sensors. The real benefit will also not be gained until this function is stable and efficient.

“We notice that mining companies of all sizes benefit from digital mining transformation. While the major mining companies started the trend, the next tier-down players are getting equal, or greater benefits than the early adopters. As technology and cloud scalability become more affordable, it is easier and more economical than ever before for all mining companies to benefit from digital mining transformation solutions.”

New workforce, new ideas
“The next generation workforce transformation will impact everyday operations and the digital mining transformation. Every time a resource-based industry goes through a downturn, many of the skills must be re-sized out of the organisation and unfortunately never return to the industry, resulting in a shrinking experienced workforce and overall shrinking of skills. We get caught in a repetitive cycle of learning curves. However, technologies now allow the industry to do more with less. Whether it is mobility applications or decision-making tools, or capturing intrinsic knowledge into the supporting systems, we can provide the same output, or provide the same quality with fewer people. That is one dimension of the workforce transformation.

“Another dimension is the length of time that a given employee will stay with the same company or job role. The days where people worked at an operation for their entire career are long gone. We must get our workforce trained and operational in a safe and effective manner faster than ever before. There is a large population of the workforce retiring within the next five to ten years. This means it is time to leverage digitisation methods and simulators to more quickly meet the new generation workforce’s transient characteristic with systemised experience. This generation is very digitally savvy and they expect a higher level of intuitive digital user interfaces in applications than any other generation seen before. Monochrome enterprises will not cut it anymore. Digitisation is the next step that all mines must take to be relevant for its own staff.

International Experience in Complex Solutions
“The majority of Schneider Electric’s mining expertise, gained over a number of decades, is scattered across the global mining hotspots with teams in Australia, Latin America, North America, Europe and of course South Africa. We have a number of global, regional, and local partners with which we team to define solutions and assistance with functional specification, and in total, deliver solutions. Our global ecosystem of partners, both internal and external, helps our customers realise the benefits of digital mining transformation solutions, wherever they are on the planet.

“Schneider Electric is active in smart sensing, data analysis and optimisation, to make real-time decisions for more complex resources. We have considerable expertise in augmented analysis and decision-making solutions and ultimately delivering those solutions that come from smart sensing. We can also team with partners or external companies that focus on smart sensing to arrive at the mine’s exact required solution.

“Almost all mines have some component of Schneider Electric software on site, whether that is a complete solution, or simple equipment parts. Some of our customers include Codelco from Chile, Rio Tinto North America and smaller mining companies from Australia. We look forward to implementing many more of these solutions in South Africa’s mining industry to assist it in the jump into the digital future,” concludes Ramsay.

Schneider Electric assists mining companies in addressing their challenges; be these safety sustainability, operational efficiency, value chain efficiency or projects and services; through its global expertise. For more information, go to Meeting mining challenges.

About Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric is leading the digital transformation of energy management and automation in homes, buildings, data centres, infrastructure and industries. With global presence in over 100 countries, Schneider is the undisputable leader in power management – medium voltage, low voltage and secure power, and in automation systems. We provide integrated efficiency solutions, combining energy, automation and software. In our global ecosystem, we collaborate with the largest partner, integrator and developer community on our open platform to deliver real-time control and operational efficiency. We believe that great people and partners make Schneider a great company and that our commitment to innovation, diversity and sustainability ensures that Life Is On everywhere, for everyone and at every moment.

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