The mining sector has been a pioneer in the use of digital, autonomous and remotely controlled systems. Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology is the leading global provider of mining and excavation equipment and services. Sandvik has been using autonomous robotic equipment, moving independently in mines, for more than 20 years.
Mining operations can be monitored and enhanced with the help of smart services. The monitoring of services will get easier and faster, when they can be observed in a comprehensive manner in real time using data-based information collection and analytics", says Jani Vilenius, Director Research and Technology Development at Sandvik.
"The use of digitisation, sensor technology and automation are increasing. Other development goals include increasing the use of alternative energy sources and creation of more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient production methods. There are already plenty of Sandvik machines and equipment working online in many countries and various mines. The industrial internet is in wide use in various areas of application", Vilenius says.
VTT SenseWay Oy is Sandvik's partner in the development of autonomous solutions
The mining industry is challenging and operates in cycles. Less and less new ore bodies and deposits are found, and enriching them requires increasingly complex practices. In the future, it will be possible to offer improved solutions to the challenges of the mining sector, since machine learning and artificial intelligence are developing all the time.
"With VTT, we are constantly developing new solutions and the next generations of different systems. VTT has amazing research competence. VTT's new autonomous solutions company VTT SenseWay will further strengthen the productisation of research results into hi-tech products. In collaboration with our research partner, we are creating something others are not capable of. Constant development is extremely important for securing our leading position within the business even in the future", Vilenius underscores.
In Finland, Sandvik has production facilities in Tampere, Turku and Lahti. The company exports more than 95% of its production. In order to keep manufacturing industry in Finland, the sector has to renew itself with the market. The increasing efficiency requirements can be responded to by means of using autonomous systems to optimise processes – they are the foundation of future productivity.