Hitachi, Wenco back open autonomy

Wenco International Mining Systems is working to advance its parent company Hitachi Construction Machinery (HCM) Group’s plans for an open, interoperable automation ecosystem among mining technology companies
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The HCM Group is developing this open autonomy approach under the Solution Linkage initiative

HCM's "vision" for autonomous mining features an ecosystem of partners that integrate their systems alongside existing mine infrastructure, as well as encouraging new entrants into the mining industry.

The group said it supports standards-based autonomy and will offer its interoperable technology to assist mining customers in integrating new vendors into their existing infrastructure.

"Open innovation is the guiding technological philosophy for [our] Solution Linkage [platform]," said HCM's vice president and executive officer, chief technology officer Hideshi Fukumoto.

"Based on this philosophy, HCM is announcing its commitment to championing the customer enablement of autonomous mining through an open, interoperable ecosystem of partner solutions.

"We believe this open approach provides customers the greatest flexibility and control for integrating new autonomous solutions into their existing operations, while reducing associated risks and costs of alternative approaches."

The Solution Linkage initiative is already available to HCM's construction clients and will now be open to mining customers as well - with support from Wenco.

HCM Group's support for open standards means it could enable the creation of multi-vendor solutions that reduce costs and increase value for customers. By designing solutions in compliance with ANSI/ISA-95 and ISO standards for autonomous interoperability, Solution Linkage aims to avoid vendor lock-in and offers customers the freedom to choose technologies from preferred vendors independent of their fleet management system.

The group said it's also simplifying connectivity between systems to reduce operational silos, enabling end-to-end visibility and control across the mining value chain. Customers using Solution Linkage can connect autonomous equipment from multiple vendors into existing fleet management and operations infrastructure.

HCM also stands behind creating a partner ecosystem, in which customers and third-party partners can leverage its experience and open platform to provide autonomous functionality and reduce the risk of technological adoption.

This initiative is already working with a global mining leader to integrate non-mining OEM autonomous vehicles into their existing mining infrastructure, HCM confirmed.
HCM is now seeking customer and vendor partnerships to further extend the value of this open, interoperable platform.

The group will reveal further details of its approach to open autonomy and Solution Linkage in a presentation at the CIM 2019 convention in Montreal, Canada.