Engineering & Mining Journal

NOV 2017

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DATA NETWORKS NOVEMBER 2017 • E&MJ 45 www.e-mj.com ness whose software solutions provide users with a comprehensive picture of a mining operation that includes real-time positioning, and status information about vehicles, equipment and personnel. And, somewhat surprisingly, other sec- tors are starting to reach out to mining for insight. A case in point: Hitachi Group recently merged three digitally oriented companies — Hitachi Data Systems, Pen- taho and Hitachi Insight Group — into a single entity named Vantara, which in Sep- tember announced the release of Lumada 2.0, Hitachi's newest commercial inter- net of things (IoT) platform offering. The Lumada IoT platform has been updated with a portable architecture that enables it to run both on-premises or in the cloud and to support industrial IoT deployments both at the edge and in the core. Wenco, a subsidiary of Hitachi Con- struction Machinery and a well-known de- veloper of fleet management systems for mining, participated in Hitachi's NEXT users conference, held in September, to develop and promote the interoperability benefits that could be exploited in the Lumada platform by Wenco's Readyline real-time equipment health solution. However, a Wenco product manager mentioned in the company's blog that Wenco's industry experience also drew in- terest from organizations throughout the parent company, stating that "…a lot of the other Hitachi Group companies are looking into developing mining solutions, but they need some guidance on the min- ing side of things. There are data scien- Avoiding Digital Difficulties One of the basic premises of a recent study** on digital prog- ress — or lack of it — in the mining industry is that even though "digital mining" has, in various forms, been around for several decades, there is a perceived, and often real concern that tech- nological implementations haven't always delivered their mon - ey's worth. Here are some of the common pitfalls that can lead to project failure or shortcomings: • Lack of detail on the implementation pathway: There is con- sensus between stakeholders on the digital vision but little dis- cussion on how to practically and effectively move from cur- rent state to this vision. • Perception of high costs: There is a valid perception from decision-makers that projects linked with IT systems often over-promise and under-deliver, often with a significant bud- get overrun. This perception delays decisions to commence a digital initiative. • Unclear accountability and disconnect with the current oper- ating model: Owners of digital transformation are often un- clear, and silo organizational structures are mismatched with a fundamentally different way of operating. • Ill-defined business model and business case: There is a de- gree of skepticism from leadership as to the robustness of the business case for digital and a lack of clarity on what the new business model will look like. • Lack of digital education and understanding: This can result in behaviors such as: o An aversion to change or the implementation of something not fully understood. o A naïve rush to implement something on promise often through a misguided desire to appear progressive. • Remote decision-making creates dissonance with local leadership: o Cultural difficulties of new remote operating models are not fully recognized. o Operating site leadership is reluctant to concede critical process ownership to external teams, and the external teams often fail to deliver positive outcomes due to a lack of deep understanding of the site issues. o Resourcing requirements to support a global business from a single location are under-estimated, as are the difficulties in gaining access to accurate data. • Data systems lack maturity to support the future vision: Perhaps one of the biggest disconnects with the vision of the digital future is the quality of the data available for decision-making. While in some areas there are massive amounts of new data, there are other parts of the value chain with gaps in data quality and issues in gaining access to required information. • Systems and processes are already in place but are not being optimized: Business cases often do not recognize that there may be a significant digital footprint already in place. Leaders must understand why this footprint is not fully utilized before implementing new approaches. ** Ibid. Wenco's Readyline machine-health solution will take advantage of Lumada, parent company Hitachi's latest IoT platform.

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