Global mining technology and workforce optimisation firm Immersive Technologies successfully launched its Operator Performance Analytics service at the end of last year, says Immersive Technologies regional VP Johan Stemmet.
He notes that this service is the only platform currently available that integrates machine operational data with training data to analyse and report operator performance and training needs.
It turns raw data points into insights to better inform workforce development strategies, Stemmet notes.
“When dealing with data, you need to provide facts, facts require evidence, evidence needs to be related to results and grounded in credibility. Our proprietary system enhances data credibility and creates a lever for improving mining operations, enabling managers to make decisions with authority.”
He adds that adoption of the product – which was showcased at the Investing in African Mining Indaba earlier this year – has been steady, with customer installations active in five countries.
One of the early adopters was OK Tedi Mining Limited (OTML), in Papua New Guinea, where the company focuses on operator safety and machine care, says Stemmet.
With multiple operational data sources integrated into the performance dashboard, OTML can now identify operator events and performance variability, and assign operators to the “most efficient and effective training pathway”.
He explains that Operator Performance Analytics has enabled for faster analysis of mine operator performance and identification of trends or patterns to mitigate risk associated with equipment reliability, while providing operator productivity metrics.
“We now have a reliable operator data platform that provides a real, comprehensive data view to approach our operators and discuss training development needs or reward and recognise them for outstanding performance, based on risk and productivity criteria.”
Uptake of Simulator-Based Training
Stemmet tells Mining Weekly that the strong uptake of simulator-based training solutions will continue in South Africa.
It will become even more important to use simulation-based screening and development initiatives, taking into consideration that a large segment of the country’s labour force is unskilled and that mines target local rural communities as talent pools, combined with the relatively high cost of training in terms of production, he adds.
“We assist mines, original-equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and training consultants with initiatives to screen, identify and develop future talent for their operations.”
Immersive Technologies has initiated another project, expected to start later this year in the Northern Cape, in conjunction with an OEM. The OEM’s goal is to assist mines in harnessing and developing local talent, futureproofing their businesses while supporting the local communities.
However, Stemmet points out that from a global perspective, South Africa is lagging in using simulation as a business improvement tool.
The company is working closely with its clients, OEMs and other data harvesters to demonstrate the substantial results of simulation-based training in terms of business improvement initiatives. He adds that it will take time to embed the concept as a priority point in production meeting agendas throughout South African boardrooms.
Further, Stemmet notes that, owing to Covid-19, the mining industry, particularly in South Africa, will continue to be heavily affected by the suspension of operations, staff absenteeism and travel restrictions.
He adds that Immersive Technologies’ vast experience in the industry ensures that it is “well versed in the ups and downs” inherent in the mining industry.
“We rely heavily on collaborating closely with clients to solve mining challenges. Fortunately, our ability to offer support remotely when needed, has proven effective.”
Additionally, many mines are projecting a large retraining effort, especially where mines have been temporarily suspended, says Stemmet.
He adds that the company is heavily focused on preparing mines through contingency plans for the resumption of operations.
“We are participating in a range of strategic planning initiatives with clients, providing virtual demonstrations of technology solutions, providing trainer advantage certification remotely, and delivering curriculum packages remotely when we cannot get to site.”
Immersive Technologies’ technical support services team has been deemed an essential service for mining operations in South Africa and has been certified as such by the Companies Intellectual Property Commission.
Stemmet concludes that the health and wellbeing of Immersive Technologies clients and employees remains paramount and, as such, its essential service provider status will be called upon only for emergencies, when it is unable to assist clients remotely.