In November 2021, Strata Worldwide began a strategic partnership with Nerospec SK, a technology firm that developed a unique line of intelligent machine controllers and data loggers to interface with the mechanics and sensors of heavy machinery. These controllers, or StrataHubs, collect and wirelessly transmit data off the machines to provide analytics on the current health, maintenance, operating hours, productivity levels and possible repair requirements of any given machine. This data can be used to make safety, production, maintenance and future purchasing decisions.
This digital interfacing technology is OEM-agnostic and can be tailored specifically for individual customer needs.
Digitizing machines adds value to mining operations in several ways:
Mine operators can optimize maintenance by monitoring data on nearly any component of a connected machine. This data provides real-time values, providing on-the-fly diagnostics. By observing hours of operation, wear and stress on specific elements, maintenance engineers can proactively plan maintenance instead of reacting when parts fail unexpectedly.
This also increases the safety of operations by helping to ensure machinery is operating in optimum condition. Additionally, StrataHubs provide speed-brake interlock, which regulates speed; this is set according to individualized mining conditions and slope grades. Controlling the maximum speed of travel, as well as monitoring the condition and performance of the machine braking systems, helps to prevent unsafe practices, uncontrolled sliding or runaway incidents.
Furthermore, when equipped with a third-party Level 9 proximity detection system (PDS) such as Strata’s HazardAvert, StrataHub technology monitors how often the PDS intervenes with the controls to slow or stop machinery. Based on this information, safety managers can make decisions and necessary adjustments in traffic management, proximity warning zone sizes and personnel safety training.
Data collected during daily operations can provide valuable insights into the productivity effectiveness of each machine. The Short Interval Monitoring and Control platform (or SIMAC) capabilities interpret the data, enabling engineers to make informed decisions about where and how to deploy machinery to maximize production.
Having access to information from connected machines can help mine operators improve performance of their entire operation; both for machines and human resources. As a training tool, data from machines can ensure that the equipment is used within design limits, reduce risky behaviors by crews and identify training needs for safe operation of equipment.
“Strata has a global reputation for innovation in underground technologies,” says CEO Mike Berube. “These new intelligent data hubs can revolutionize the way mines manage their costs, equipment and their operations. We strongly believe that connected machines are the future of mining.”