Automation primed for "explosive growth"

A new research report has revealed that the demand for mining automation in the upcoming years will rise, especially underground, due to the “coming trends” of autonomous systems, increased mine operations digitisation and the evolution of smart connected mines
Automation primed for "explosive growth" Automation primed for "explosive growth" Automation primed for "explosive growth" Automation primed for "explosive growth" Automation primed for "explosive growth"

Autonomous Komtasu trucks at a mine site

Staff reporter

A new research report has revealed that the demand for mining automation in the upcoming years will rise, especially underground, due to the 'coming trends' of autonomous systems, increased mine operations digitisation and the evolution of smart connected mines.

In the report compiled by Transparency Market Research, which used multiple research methods including interviews, surveys and analysts’ observations, the group noted that safety of mine workers is of paramount importance worldwide, including robotics technology. Increased productivity and decreased operational costs also play a role, according to the report.

One major restraint to the adoption of automation, however, is the large number of working population that, in some areas such as developing countries, is low-cost. To that note, it also outlined a lack of skilled workers to operate the automated equipment as an obstacle to adoption in the near future, and also cited the depletion of natural resources.

Transparency Market Research’s work took a global view, and also segmented its findings into workflow, type and region.

“In terms of technique, the mining automation market has been bifurcated into surface mining technique and underground mining technique,” it said. “The underground mining technique segment is expected to expand at a significant growth rate in the near future.”

Some major vendors mentioned by the research group: Atlas Copco, Caterpillar, Hexagon, Komatsu, Sandvik Group, Autonomous Solutions, Hitachi Construction Machinery, RPMGlobal, Trimble, Fluidmesh Networks, Mine Site Technologies, Symboticware and Schneider Electric, which it said all provide a product and services considered in its work including communications systems, software and ecosystem comprises system integrators, equipment, and distribution facility.

It defined automation to include driverless haulage trucks, on-board video systems, environmental monitoring systems for various applications to increase the efficiency of automation processes such as improved performance and reduced downtime, enhanced safety from hazardous work environment, and better cost effectiveness.

A sample of the group’s report can be viewed here.

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