Drives and Control Solutions

Motors, Control Solutions, Power Transmission and Advanced Motion Technology                                                                 

March 26, 2018

By Sujeet Chand, Senior Vice President of Strategic Development and Chief Technology Officer, Rockwell Automation

I was recently invited to speak at the Future Mining Summit 2017 event hosted by the Global Mining Standards and Guidelines Group. The two-day conference was held in early December 2017. The venue was a fitting one: 20-metres below ground in Stockholm, Sweden at Epiroc’s test mine.

In addition to my presentation, the event hosted mining companies from around the world, equipment providers, and technology thought-leaders. Presenters shared key trends they’re noticing in the mining industry, as well as opportunities for growth and improvement:

  • Operations challenges arise as mines get deeper and deeper. Machine utilization at depth is relatively low – around 50-60%, compared to 80% in an open pit mine. There’s a need to better track and optimize machine use below ground.
  • There are too many "Clouds." With each automation vendor and OEM providing a separate instance of cloud data, it’s difficult for mining companies to aggregate data across systems and identify trends. Mining companies are interested in open systems so they can better own and leverage all of their data.
  • Everyone is talking about Block Chain. Block Chain is not being utilized in mining today, but there are potential applications to enhance traceability, recordkeeping, and security of transactions across the supply chain.
  • Fossil-free mining. Battery operated equipment is picking up steam (pun intended) as mining companies strive to minimize their environmental footprint.
  • The safe connected mine (PDF). Mining companies are seeking strategies to implement greater mobility and use of wireless in their mines to enhance worker safety and optimize production.

I was also given a chance to share my insights about the future of mining, based on broad market trends I’ve observed as well as conversations I’ve had with our customers.

Insight #1: Mining companies don’t need to collect more data, they need to collect the right data. When you’re running a man-made process, there are only so many variables and meaningful data correlations – most of which we already know to expect.

And we also know that there are some pieces of data that will never connect or correlate. To prevent amassing vast, unusable amounts of data, mining companies will begin seeking ways to pre-analyze data before sending it to the Cloud, so only relevant information is moved.

As OEMs insert more and more intelligence into their machines, mining companies will be increasingly able to perform this pre-analysis.

One of the OEMs that we work closely with in the mining industry, Metso, is already moving down this path with their rock crushing machines: they’re transferring only key pieces of data to the cloud to allow for comparison with other rock crushing equipment.

This enables mining companies to find optimization opportunities based on performance measurements from across multiple sites. It also prevents them from wading through a lake of unusable data. 

Insight #2: Analytics in the future will be distributed, and will leverage scalable computing. Analytics can take place in the Cloud, at the server layer, or right at the device level. In the future, mining companies will seek strategic methods of performing ‘right size’ analytics to solve their problems.

Insight #3: Safety and security are converging. As virtual threats increase in severity and frequency, physical safety and data security are merging into a single objective.

This is a trend I’ve noticed across all industries. Companies must begin drafting internal processes with this in mind: placing the same level of emphasis on virtual mine security as they do on physical mine safety.

This topic generated a lot of conversation, and GMSG took an action item to create a working group to help mines better plan for the convergence of safety and security. 

Changes in the way we think about data collection and analysis will have a big impact on the mining industry. And as more and more of our information is transferred between devices and to the Cloud, a subsequent need for increased data security will change the way we think about worker and company safety.

I’ve already begun to see some of our clients adapting to these trends. How do the trends shared at the GMSG summit match up with what you are seeing in the industry? Are you taking steps to address any of the challenges we discussed at the event? Drop me a note via email or LinkedIn.

And of course, if you’d like more information about the solutions we provide for mining companies, visit our mining automation web page.

 Nexans Webinar - Key 2021 Electrical Code Changes Impacting Wire and Cable  

Nexans Free WebinarJoin NEXANS for a free webinar with Isaac Müller, Applications Engineer for Nexans as he reviews and discusses the changes to the 2021 Canadian Electrical Code related to wire and cable. This free webinar will take place Wed, Jan 27, 2021 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST

This webinar includes:
- Updated rules to protect cables (12-514,12-516)
- New conditions of use for wire & cable (Table 19)
- An opportunity to ask your questions

Click here to register today.


Editor's Pick: Featured Article

ABB EC TitaniumThe EC Titanium integrated motor drive by ABB promises ‘synchronous reluctance and permanent magnet technologies for a sustainable, wirelessly connected solution that improves customers bottom line.’ According to Global Product Manager, Mark Gmitro, the product was inspired by direct customer feedback requesting an IE5 efficient product, that could function as a drop-in replacement for standard NEMA mounted motors.

As new system efficiency regulations emerged, ABB responded to the demand with the development of the EC Titanium motor, integrated drive, and motor product line. 

Read More



More and more measurement instruments are being ordered online from Endress+Hauser. In the first five months of 2020, incoming orders via nearly doubled. With the introduction of the new FLEX product segmentation structure, integration of the global E-direct portal into the website and further optimization of the e-commerce area on, finding and ordering the right products online will be even faster and easier for customers.

“By merging both shops and introducing several innovations on, we are making it even easier for customers to do business with us digitally,” says Nikolaus Krüger, Chief Sales Officer at the Endress+Hauser Group. 

Read More


Product News

  • Prev
In early October of 2020, Wajax was proud to announce its Canadian distribution of DESMI Pumps. ...
New additions to AutomationDirect’s offering of WEG Electric motor controls expand its application ...
Working on your next design? Sit back, take a load off. Littelfuse can partner with you to select ...
Nexen’s Spring Engaged, Air Released Servomotor Brakes are available safety certified to comply ...
Manufacturers who require accurate position, velocity, and torque control are increasingly using ...
Klein Tools, for professionals since 1857, recently introduced its new 2020 line of winter gear, a ...
The new Prosense Basic series of proximity sensors offer great value for general industrial ...
Maxon’s new IDX compact integrated servo gearmotor + drive combines a powerful, brushless EC-i ...
Identifies product cross reference via photo or text.      

New Product

IDEC: Drive and ControlThe IANG1 Integrated Stepper Controller + Drive product is a ground-breaking approach to PLC-based motion control systems.

Traditional motion controllers are difficult to integrate with PLC-based automation systems. There are so many manufacturers, so many different choices, and each solution contains proprietary features that complicate installation, programming and compatibility. You’re also faced with mechanical challenges because these motion controllers often use non-standard mounting hardware. And their configuration involves learning another software program and/or language foreign to your controls environment. 

Read More


Latest News

  • Prev
Tundra was recently excited to announce that they’re now a part of the Wajax Corporation. Be sure ...
In October of 2020, orders in the mechanical and plant engineering sector matched the previous ...
Brave Control Solutions Inc. was recently pleased to announce to have been awarded the Value ...
A panel of experts from Nexans will discuss the opportunities and challenges to the world’s drive ...
The solution will mitigate the environmental impact of building a major dam and hydroelectric ...
Kerrwil Publications Great Place to Work. Certified December 2019 - December 2020

538 Elizabeth Street, Midland,Ontario, Canada L4R2A3 +1 705 527 7666
©2021 All rights reserved

Use of this Site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy Policy (effective 1.1.2016)
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Kerrwil