Hands up – who enjoyed “Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom” movie? I don’t know about you, but my favorite scene was the cart chase down the mine tunnel with the baddies in hot pursuit! When we picture a working mine, we see images like those depicted in the movie – deep caverns, tough conditions, workers wearing mining hats with head lamps, tram tracks and heavy machinery.
Of course, some of those stereotypical images are based on reality but did you know that technology is now being used to monitor remote mining equipment in some of the world’s most challenging industrial environments, allowing experts to make more informed decisions, based on data?
Leveraging technology down the mines
Take one of the world’s largest engineering companies, The Weir Group. A global market leader, Weir provided trusted technology and services to help make mining operations more productive and profitable. For example, the company designs and manufactures sophisticated machinery involved in dewatering the mines, crushing and grinding rock as well as classifying, separating and transporting materials. As you can imagine, this is high-value, mission-critical equipment – if anything goes down for whatever reason, the mine may have to stop operations, which has obvious significant cost implications for customers.
The good news is that by using the Internet of Things and Dell Gateways, Weir can now monitor the condition of the equipment second by second and help operators predict when maintenance should take place. The end-customer gains better insights about the likely timing of machinery servicing and the need for replacement parts, which results in increased uptime plus more informed capital expenditure planning. Win-win all round!
Excited about the potential of IoT
How did this heavy engineering and technology partnership begin? Established over 150 years ago, Weir places a huge focus on innovation and is constantly looking to develop new and more efficient ways of working. Back in 2013, the company was already exploring the potential of the IoT and had designed and produced a prototype platform with sensors to digitally connect its field assets.
A global partnership
Weir was so impressed with the initial test results that it wanted to move to mass production. However, the company was aware that gaining worldwide regulatory and safety certification in 120 countries would take time and knew that it would benefit from identifying a world class IT partner. Weir enlisted Dell Technologies OEM & IoT as its global partner to manufacture the units, simplify the development process, handle logistics and provide support.
A modular, cost-effective solution
Our solution for Weir is designed, customized and built in a modular fashion. A relatively small number of blocks can be configured into many different solutions – all fully tested and certified for every country of operation. The customer gets consistency, a scalable, modular platform, built on open standards, using cost-effective, off-the-shelf compute blocks that can be used across all its business divisions. We manage the entire program from initial order and sourcing of third-party components through manufacturing, customization, delivery and post-sales support.
Digitizing heavy mechanical machinery
While I can’t promise you a cart chase through the mines like the movie, I believe that Weir’s technology solution – built on Dell Technologies OEM & IoT, Intel and Microsoft infrastructure – is just as exciting. The solution changes how Weir interacts with assets in the field, delivers increased efficiencies and opens the potential for even more innovative products and services. It’s part of Weir’s digital journey and is transforming how the company serves its mining, oil, gas, infrastructure and industrial customers.
According to Weir, the internet of things offers a powerful competitive advantage, which will help drive its future growth. And, there’s more to come. Read what my colleague Bryan Jones has to say about the merging of IoT and Artificial Intelligence.
Are you using IoT to transform your business? Please join the conversation. I’d love to hear your comments and questions.
If you’re attending Hannover Messe, please stop by to say hi to our team from Dell Technologies and VMware plus partners from IOTech, SAS, Bormann, Teamviewer, ActionPoint,Tridium and Alleantia. We’ll be at Hall 6, Booth C40, April 1-5.
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