Komatsu and GE team up with “big-data” technology

Komatsu has announced a partnership with General Electric to provide “big-data” analysis services for mining companies using “Internet of Things” technology.

The announcement follows an agreement from February 2014  that saw n Komatsu and GE Transportation announced a joint venture – Komatsu GE Mining Systems LLC – to develop a new generation of underground mining equipment.

Komatsu says the “Internet of Things” (IoT) refers to a growing global network of physical objects or "things" – including machines – embedded with electronics, software, sensors and connectivity.

This enables them to achieve greater value and service by exchanging data with manufacturers, operators, other machines and other connected devices.

GE is a leader in the field of IoT, and already uses the technology to monitor a diverise range of equipment including aircraft engines and gas turbines.

Komatsu also makes use of remote monitoring technology through its KOMTRAX and KOMTRAX Plus offerings to track the position and status of its mining and construction machinery.

Now under Komatsu’s partnership with GE, it is looking to offer big-data analysis to mining industry customers.

Komatsu Australia’s Managing Director Sean Taylor said this latest partnership would have significant benefits for Australian mining companies.

He said with the current downturn in commodity prices, companies were looking to reduce their operating costs while optimising productivity and machine performance.

“GE Mining has long supplied electric drive systems to Komatsu, which is the world’s market leader in electric-drive dump trucks,” Taylor said.

“Australia was the first market in the world to commercialise Komatsu’s Autonomous Haulage System for driverless trucks, and is the first country to market the 35-tonne Hybrid Excavator.

“We are also the industry’s pacesetter in ICT applications, including our KOMTRAX and KOMTRAX Plus remote monitoring systems, and our new line of Intelligent Dozers.

“Now we want to start offering data analysis services to mining and resources companies in the near future, including iron ore and coal mines in Australia as well as other mining regions.”

Taylor said Komatsu and GE have successfully trialled the concept over the past year at a copper mine in South America.

Under the new partnership, Komatsu will send operational data collected from sensors attached to its mining dump trucks to a GE data centre in the US where it will be processed using GE’s big-data analysis capabilities.

Applications for the resulting information including recommending optimal truck routes and positioning, as well as speed and braking requirements based on the terrain and site conditions.

Additional control equipment can also be installed to increase fuel efficiency.

Taylor said fuel efficiency can be improved by greater than 10 per cent by implementing the technology.

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