Can you provide a brief overview of Hexagon’s role in the mining industry and its presence in Nevada?
Mines today are under immense pressure to cut costs and improve safety, so our role at Hexagon is to integrate measurement solutions with proven technologies for planning, operations and safety. This way, we can make our customers safer and more productive, and make sense of their data.
Hexagon has been present in Nevada since 2015, however, prior to our introduction in Nevada, we already had a good basis through our mine planning software which has been around for more than 50 years. We were also involved in several areas of safety and fleet management. So, our presence in Nevada today is simply a culmination of all these different pieces. We believe that the key in mining is to combine and interconnect these efforts, making them work in conjunction with each other.
Hexagon recently introduced the Power of One to connect all parts of a mine. Can you tell us about this solution and explain how it adds value to the mining industry?
Essentially, the Power of One is a single platform that enables all solutions across the life of mine and can grow as your operations grow. We have one sensor platform which connects planning, drill and blast operations, safety, and FMS; with a single GPS/GNSS, LTE, Wi-Fi, networked sensor, as well as a similar user interface across the platform for familiarity. A cloud platform integrates all these different suites into one manageable area that allows the applications to communicate effortlessly with each other. Then, all the different pieces monitor and pull in data together from the machine control, monitoring, fleet management, and collision avoidance.
Mines these days face enormous challenges, including volatile commodity prices and increasing pressures to be safer and more sustainable, with greater scrutiny from the authorities and stakeholders. Digital transformation is well accepted as an answer to these challenges. However, digital transformation is more than niche technologies and partial solutions provided by different vendors. This is why one technology partner capable of connecting all those parts together in a mine becomes incredibly powerful.
Can you elaborate on Hexagon’s MineMeasure solution and how it can improve drill and blast processes?
It is a tailored portfolio for drill and blast which combines blast design software, high-precision drills, blast movement monitoring, fragmentation analysis and enterprise analytics.
Imagine a drill and blast ecosystem that has seamless data collection at every step, enabling machine learning and AI to automate blast designs and optimize the blast outcome. So, from one platform, MineMeasure ensures that the data does its best work and provides customers with powerful feedback to increase profit from every blast. It is a holistic pit-to-plant approach that addresses the small errors that can compound with costly consequences throughout the complex D&B cycle.
How do you see the extent of digitalization and autonomy of mines in Nevada?
Incremental digitalization has assisted many of the Nevada mines in becoming more efficient and productive. Most Nevada operations are already sitting on mountains of data, which raises the question – are we leveraging this information to its fullest extent? This question increases in complexity when the data silos and various operational roles are contracted throughout the mine. This, combined with the fact that job roles and responsibilities are changing quicker than ever, makes it hard to assess.
In this context, having a life-of-mine partner can definitely help. Hexagon’s focus on an autonomous connected ecosystem can support all mining companies regardless of their operational maturity, so we take them in baby steps. A good example of this is Hexagon’s safety portfolio, as we can assist mines in their manual operations to different degrees. First, our operator alertness system can combat fatigue and fatigue-related events. Second, incidences can be reduced with our collision avoidance system. This can be upgraded to at-level mine automated vehicle intervention, which can take over when the driver does not react. Ultimately, mines can introduce a fully autonomous solution, removing the human element altogether through self-driving vehicles.
The precursor to autonomy involves identifying and processing the right data at the right time to make the right decision with the proper feedback, and this is where many Nevada mines are now. At Hexagon, we can provide clients with a vision of what their mine could be.