A new technology-centric project designed to help enhance productivity in work environments that are high on risks and hazards has been launched by five leading engineering companies. As part of this pilot project, the five companies—ABB, Ericsson, Volvol Construction Equipment, SCIS Swedish ICT, and Boliden—will develop a 5G system that will feature a combination of old and new technologies to remotely manage a Volvo truck that transports iron ore within the precincts of the mine.
It is not yet clear what the actual location for this pilot project will be, but according to sources close to the pilot project, a shortlist of Boliden-operated mines has been created.
TorbjörnLundahl, Ericsson's 5G program manager for the Sweden program, said that if such technology is successfully implemented, it will help enhance safety by several notches. He said that as more such machines function on mines, there will be a lesser need for humans to undertake hazardous and dangerous tasks. This, in turn, will help improve both productivity and safety whist enabling better monitoring.
According to Mikael Walter, technology manager of Boliden’s system technology, the results of the pilot project will be interesting to see. He said that his company is continually on the lookout for processes and practices in the mining industry that leverage the benefits of digital technology.
The Swedish government has, for several years, given a lot of importance to improving safety at mining sites. The country has set a target of tripling production from mining by 2025. The country currently leads the EU in the mining of ore; it is also the leading producer of silver, copper, and zinc in the EU region.