Epiroc said that mining companies are increasingly seeking to digitalise and automate their operations to increase productivity, enhance operator safety and lower cost. This includes, for example, remotely operating machines from a control room, and collecting machine performance data to optimise use of the equipment. This creates a need for reliable, high-performance wireless connectivity at the mines.
Key advantages of LTE and 5G solutions compared with other wireless solutions include better coverage, higher reliability and stronger security, especially when machines are in the same area and share information. The technology, which is for both underground and open pit mines, has already been tested on Epiroc's machines at the company's test mine in Kvarntorp, Sweden. Further testing will be done before providing the solutions to customers.
"We are happy to team up with Ericsson so that our mining customers can get the most reliable and high-performing wireless connectivity possible," said Helena Hedblom, Epiroc's senior executive VP for mining and infrastructure. "This is a crucial step in our ongoing work to ensure mining customers reap all the benefits, including higher productivity and better safety, made possible by digitalisation and automation."
"Cellular technology and the introduction of 5G is critical to realise the full value of digitalisation and automatisation for smart industries," said Åsa Tamsons, Ericsson's senior VP and head of business area technologies & new businesses. "This will open up for new business models and ecosystems across the mining industry, telecom services providers in each market, and Ericsson. By combining our expertise in connectivity and Epiroc's cutting-edge technology in mining equipment, we will be able to ensure stable and secure mining operations, leading to increased utilisation, improved productivity and reduced costs."