Durban-based global supplier of surface and underground mining simulators ThoroughTec Simulation developed the CYBERMINE WX platform that monitors operator performance and provides targeted training to improve efficiencies.
The CYBERMINE WX platform is being tested at local mines where the initial results indicate that the system will deliver significant productivity, cost saving and general safety improvement returns to mine operations. The platform will be officially released locally later this year.
The platform also tracks operator performance and uses artificial intelligence (AI) and Big Data to suggest targeted, simulator-based training interventions.
“We are targeting operator behaviour and the collective workforce performance that are major factors in net organisational productivity, cost control and safety,” ThoroughTec Simulation North America GM Andre Mendes tells Mining Weekly.
“When applied to the entire productive workforce, this process of continuous, highly targeted, individual performance improvement extrapolates into significant operational gains and cost savings for the mine,” he says.
Equipment operators wear a sensor that uses a global positioning system (GPS) and inertial measurement technologies to capture machine activity, and “provides an unblinking record of operator performance and safety during a shift”, he explains.
The Big Data collected during the operator’s shift is uploaded at the end of a shift and analysed by the WX AI engine. “Our advanced, proprietary location and process-sensitive algorithms enable us to infer the lowest-level operator behaviour and decisions from this data, providing us with a unique performance record for comparison against predetermined excellence factors and operating standards,” Mendes points out.
Wherever this process highlights behavioural deviations away from prescribed or minimum acceptable operating standards, CYBERMINE WX automatically triggers an appropriate, simulator-based training intervention to target and correct the identified deviation or unsafe practice.
The intention is that the interventions proposed are small and highly focused, minimising operator downtime, while addressing the behaviour that needs to be corrected, Mendes reiterates.
“Once an operator has completed the training intervention and achieved the required performance standards, he/she returns to operations,” Mendes claims.
Further, the CYBERMINE WX platform is designed to be highly automated and, therefore, “easily adopted and managed by mines” following the initial installation and on-site commissioning phase, he asserts.
ThoroughTec is focused on the mining industry in the short term, specifically surface load-and-haul operations. “We have already started to adapt the system for underground applications and, in the medium term, we intend rolling it out into other industries, such as the construction and commercial driving sectors,” he concludes.