A digital ecosystem mimics nature’s ecosystem; all things have their place and work separately and together to continue life. At a mine site, independent departments carry out tasks by using specific skill sets. But it’s their interdependence — working together — that has the greatest impact on production.
So, in essence, an ecosystem is interoperability. When multiple departments, systems, technologies and applications work together for the same goal, more insights are unlocked and powerful opportunities for improvement emerge.
Modular Mining, a Komatsu technology brand, understands that when production solutions and systems are designed for interoperability, it’s easier for individual stakeholders to see how they can influence each other’s success. This has implications for a mine site’s most important daily production questions: Is everyone safe? Are machines and people where they should be, doing what they should be doing? Is everything going according to plan and, if not, how far off goal are we, why, and what’s the best path to getting back on track?
That’s why Modular Mining developed the Intellimine Synergy open-technology platform, which enables interoperability between mining systems, technologies and equipment. To answer those important daily production questions at the right time for the right stakeholder, Synergy can house a suite of brand agnostic solutions that will collaborate and create value together for customers. Modular Mining has re-envisioned the way it develops its own technologies, as well as how third-party companies can develop their technologies within Synergy, for rapid innovation of new solutions and collaboration.
The No. 1 thing customers are struggling with is the quality and the fidelity of their data. Mine operators are often juggling different data solutions from multiple vendors, which means managing their data in silos. This leads to a lot of frustration around trying to make software solutions interoperable. Being able to connect the dots and get really good data out of their systems is very challenging — and very important.
Synergy overcomes this challenge by being the ecosystem where any technology built on the platform or plugged into the platform can securely access, share and analyze critical data to enable collaboration and transform optimization for a mine site. To achieve true interoperability, this means setting brands aside so equipment and technologies can interact regardless of where they were manufactured. It also means finding a solution for two more critical elements: deployment and data handling.
Deployment Options Tailored to Customer Needs
Modular Mining has taken a modularized approach to solution deployment, developing options that can best fit a customer’s workflow. Customers can use and add solutions as they need them, building toward a full complement of solutions adapted to their specific situations.
If traditional on-premises deployment no longer works, a site can consider cloud and application versions instead. For instance, MineCare 3 health monitoring was recently deployed on the cloud. DISPATCH, MineCare and many other solutions have multiple modules that will be offered on the Intellimine Synergy platform as applications.
Data Handling That Breaks Down Silos
Managing information in silos can lead to endless versions of documents, confusion and diluted data. So standardizing data protocols is essential. Intellimine Synergy provides a single source of truth for data so it can be used with confidence, accessed easily and available to the right parties at the right time.
Two supporting auxiliary technologies that make it possible for the Synergy platform to achieve interoperable systems are Application Programming Interface (API) solutions and Software Development Kits (SDKs). Modular Mining has an extensive list of API solutions that can synergize the exchange of information and make data available to approved stakeholders. As barriers between different departments, technologies and brands are broken down, data can be consolidated — giving a mine site a rich trove of actionable insights. And because Synergy is designed to allow third parties to build on the platform with the help of SDKs, it gives customers more access to digital tools that are suited to their specific mine site setup, further helping to break down barriers.
Core Principles Start With Data Truth
To deliver these solutions, the Intellimine Synergy platform is designed with four core functions:
A foundation of site-wide and company-wide data truth and data security: data streams the customer identifies as useful and authorizes to share.
Applications giving real-time actionable insights from the real-time flow of data between all systems.
Historical analysis identifying trends of interest and bottlenecks to help departments view how their actions influence each other.
A third-party channel of customer-approved data sharing for more applications and technologies to build within the platform.
All these intentional technology builds and features add up to real benefits for people doing the hard work of running mines. From safety monitoring and asset health to long-term planning and data analysis, Intellimine Synergy is designed to deliver actionable information. And it’s a critical building block for predicative analysis, artificial intelligence and other tools to advance the industry.
The essence of the ecosystem is to connect systems in real time. And by extension, the people and teams who use other systems will benefit from the platforms’ efficiency and data fidelity. Today’s technology enables you to securely share data fluidly and accurately, and then analyzes that data into actionable steps to help your bottom line.
Neil Ferreira is the director of product strategy at Modular Mining, a Komatsu technology brand.