As the mining sector adjusts to a new way of operating in light of the current pandemic, the ability to unlock greater value with technology has become critical for success. RPMGlobal remains at the forefront of this charge, as MiningMagazine learns.
The mining industry's transition to a digital based mine has been greatly aided by enterprise software applications, helping to unlock a new level of integration and efficiency.
As the industry adapts to a new normal, with COVID-19 presenting some unique challenges for the mining industry, RPMGlobal Chief Executive Officer Richard Mathews said enterprise platforms are now more relative than ever.
"Gone are the days where mining software was dominated by siloed desktop products that had limited flexibility and non-existent integration abilities," he explains.
"Enterprise software supports product integration and data sharing which is now vital for the successful digital mine.
"RPMGlobal's established enterprise platform provides options for our customers to work in a completely integrated and cloud-based environment which is absolutely essential for the modern day mining climate."
Unlocking collaboration with technology
As mining companies across the globe seek to maximise value from operations in challenging circumstances, Mathews said integrated technology that unlocks greater collaboration was no longer a nice to have, but an imperative.
"While some mining companies had already been pushing remote operating tactics to increase operational efficiency and collaboration in an inherently dispersed and complex environment, the current situation has suddenly placed technological enablement and remote management solutions on the top of management agendas," he says.
RPMGlobal has remained ahead of the curve when it comes to having scalable, enterprise solutions that enable miners to work from anywhere.
"Over the last seven or eight years we have invested a significant R&D spend towards ensuring a mobility component for all of our solutions so personnel can work from anywhere," Mathews said.
"Many of our applications have a strong mobile component and are web-enabled which is providing real-time data directly into the hands of the decision-maker, even when not on site."
RPMGlobal's Data Intelligence solutions are one such remote-enabled example helping miners unlock greater value in this ever-changing environment.
The solutions are able to provide different departments and personnel with complete visibility of equipment, performance and equipment status, underpinning the ability to plan intra-shift activities and break through operational silos.
"When trying to accomplish short-term interval control on a mine site for example, it is vital that users have regular updates about resource availability and how they're progressing against their plan. MinVu Shift Manager's dedicated app provides exactly that," Mathews says.
A key component of any digital mine is a short-term scheduling solution that empowers remote planners to be productive all the time.
"The modern-day mine planner needs to be able to view activities in real-time so that they can make informed, timely decisions that maximise their mining operations inside a shift and planning window. With this new state of play, it is now essential that this can be done on site or remotely, 1,000 kilometres away," Mathews said.
"The innovative architecture that underpins RPMGlobal's short-term scheduling solution means that real-time data is made available through any connected source," Mathews says.
According to Mathews, the uptake of the company's short-term scheduling solution in the past 12 months has been overwhelmingly positive, which is partly a reflection of the industry's renewed focus on plan compliance and driving more predictability into their planning processes.
In the solutions' recent functionality updates, the product development team has placed a key focus on advancing the mobility component, in line with the industry's increasing shift to automation and digital transformation.
The latest mobile app enhancements include additional support for real-time data feeds from Fleet Management Systems so users can see how they're progressing against that plan in real-time.
"With the app, mining personnel are connected to vital information at all times. For example, a mine planner who is off site can log in to the planning app and catch up with what has happened on site overnight without the need to physically be on site," Mathews says.
And as we move increasingly toward autonomy, Mathews says innovative short-term scheduling solutions will prove even more vital to future-proofing mines worldwide.
"With more automation comes less physical human intervention, with better data collection and integration comes better execution and with better execution better outcomes are realised."
Staying at the forefront of digitalisation
Against a backdrop of challenging market conditions, RPMGlobal remains steadfast in its mission of helping mining companies accelerate their digital transformation.
"Core to the success of transitioning to a digital mine is system integration which helps to deliver context, and drive better outcomes through the ability to amplify decision-making capabilities," Mathews says.
"With the state of play we all now find ourselves in, having connected systems that instantly turns data into actionable insights is vital to operational success. Committing to a true digitalisation effort means you're laying the groundwork and foundations for this to occur."
While the current climate is presenting an array of challenges for the entire sector, it has also provided the opportunity for companies to accelerate their digital agenda and move to remote operating strategies.
"If you look back at the industry a mere five years ago, the concept of remote software implementations was a fairly foreign one," Mathews says.
"As it has transpired, we are now rolling out our software virtually with a big project currently being undertaken in Chile and we expect to see more of this remote approach in the longer term—not just across the METS sector, but for the entire industry as a whole."