Mining operations are complex, comprising many moving parts. The technology that supports these systems must perform at a high level and be extremely reliable. For the HxGN MineDiscover Core platform, reliability and performance are paramount.
To date, 1,279 units have been shipped to customers without a single one returned for RMA (Return Material Authorization). This is rare in the mining industry, especially for a third-party provider.
A measure of reliability
When the Core High-Precision (HP) and Low-Precision (LP) were released in January 2019, the goal was to provide mines with a rugged, industrial computer that could integrate a variety of Hexagon solutions.
"The biggest challenge mines face is with integration," said Joe Arico, a Principal Product Manager at Hexagon. "Looking at our own portfolios, we have a lot of different solutions and technologies we are putting on machines. You really need good hardware architecture to support all of those solutions."
The Core boxes feature Intel-based computer processing units and a wide variety of connectivity options, including WiFi, Bluetooth, 4G/LTE, and Ultra High-Frequency radio. These ensure reliable machine-to-machine communications and improved performance of Hexagon's fleet management systems, fatigue monitoring and machine guidance solutions. Additionally, the HP box includes a chassis sensor to enhance machine tool accuracy.
"That processor allows us to be connected to multiple machine interfaces," Arico said. "This reliably and consistently delivers productivity and health data back to the office. In the case of the Core HP, the processing power allows us to run more sophisticated positioning algorithms."
Creating reliable technology in a mining environment is tough. Resistance to heat, dust, vibration, shock, electrical noise and more must be considered from the product's conception. Standards must be met, and tests conducted to simulate the real world. Simulation must be followed by real-world tests to validate the theory and build confidence that the product will succeed. All the while, manufacturing processes must be perfected, and world-class assembly and test facilities need to be prepared.
Assembling Earth's mightiest heroes!
When the Core platform was in development, it was known as the Avengers project. Much like its namesake, the Core box required a talented, multi-disciplinary team. A group of 40 developers and engineers collaborated across six countries to build multiple prototypes and test them through more than 45,000 field trial hours.
The result is a product that meets industry standards, supports four of Hexagon's solutions and scales to face the demands of the most challenging mining tasks.
Core LP and HP are the standard offering for all machine applications, consolidating and simplifying all machine solutions offered by Hexagon's Mining division.