Interoperability standards linked for digital transformation in mining

The global IREDES initiative, behind the International Rock Excavation Data Exchange Standard, is joining forces with the European Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) to enhance interoperability of mining technologies
Interoperability standards linked for digital transformation in mining Interoperability standards linked for digital transformation in mining Interoperability standards linked for digital transformation in mining Interoperability standards linked for digital transformation in mining Interoperability standards linked for digital transformation in mining

IREDES and OPC/UA prepare for digital mining

IREDES was launched in 2000 to ease communication between different types of mining machinery and IT systems by standardising data exchange. Simply put, it defines a "common electronic language", or a standardised data exchange format and method.

The data in question could be drill plans from drill rigs or performance information sent by LHDs and trucks to a mine's production department.

The standard is based on Internet-compatible formats using XML (Extensible Markup Language), a computer language for sharing data.

XML is a widely used format compatible with a number of other standards used in digitalisation, including BIM in the construction industry.

MICROMINE, for example, is one METS company that recently integrated its products with IREDES.

The mining division of Germany-headquartered VDMA, in turn, represents medium-sized companies in the fields of surface and underground mining, processing technology, consulting and R&D in Europe.

The association also works with the OPC Foundation, an industry consortium that, similar to IREDES, aims to standardise the exchange of data. OPC is the interoperability standard for data exchange in industrial automation, while the foundation is responsible for its development and maintenance.

At mines, supervisory control systems use OPC/UA (OPC Unified Architecture) to acquire process information.

Accordingly, in order to enable seamless integration of information from underground equipment into the overall coordination, IREDES content can now be integrated into an OPC/UA companion specification for mining. OPC/UA will thus become a second way of exchanging IREDES standardised content.

The cooperation between IREDES and VDMA means IREDES profiles, beside their availability as XML data sets, will be accessible as OPC/UA profiles for integration into the automation space.