Data is everywhere and mining is no exception. From haul truck performance to staff schedules and everything in between, there’s an overwhelming amount of information available.
Harnessing that data to improve productivity and efficiency is a concept that has become increasingly prominent given the industry trend towards cost reductions.
Brisbane-based Intov8 has started on the ground level of the continued digitisation of mining in this regard.
The company, which was founded in 2006, has a Tier 1 client base including the likes of BHP, Yancoal and Glencore.
Intov8’s Corvus product suite adds a variety of connectivity options through Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)-style networking options.
Corvus validates and verifies data into a single trusted source of information.
The company’s technology has been developed “by miners, for miners,” according to Intov8 partner development manager Matthew Whyatt.
“Our developers are all from the mining industry — they’re industry insiders,” he explains. “Even when we do a full site implementation our average rollout time, including user acceptance testing, training and going live, is six weeks — it’s because we know what we’re doing.”
Corvus is made up of several distinct modules, including Axiom, Live Monitor, Wall, Dashboards, Organiser and Warehouse. These modules can be used together or in isolation to meet the needs of a particular site. This runs the gamut from coal handling, warehousing and end-of-month reporting duties, through to machine maintenance and time saving implementations.
Due to the improved integrity borne from the cycle of control and management of centralised data, there has been a transformation in the end-of-month reporting cycle with all critical production figures typically signed off at midday on day one.
“We have been personally thanked for the improvement in this space – as downstream processing is now able to begin much earlier in the cycle which relieves a lot of pressure,” says Intov8 partner development manager Matthew Whyatt.
Axiom is the core product in the Corvus suite, representing a management solution for mine data that connects with fleet and plant monitoring systems to collate data from various sources. Intov8 refers to it as Corvus’ “engine room”.
Live Monitor is a mobile and desktop app that allows users to access real-time tracking information. Production and maintenance teams can use Live Monitor to identify what trucks are in production and what they’re doing.
Corvus Wall allows information to be captured and pushed directly to a remote operations centre to help build a shift log on the fly and compare actual and planned productivity rates. Information is then available to all mobile app and desktop users.
Dashboards allow sites to view real-time data from various sources on a single monitor. Intov8 has built over 400 dashboards for mining companies to gain greater insights on the data so far.
Organiser deals with staff rosters, leave applications and similar tasks to maintain documentation across the entire mine crew.
Corvus’s latest addition, Warehouse, is designed so mine sites can drop the requirement for physical files and Excel spreadsheets, streamlining management processes and improving accountability.
“We invest a significant amount of our own money into research and development,” says Whyatt.
“One misconception of a product like Corvus is that it’s simply a reporting tool. Our customers use Corvus as a trusted, validated and verified source of data — it’s the core of the mine site.
“BMA is currently utilising the Corvus suite across all of its assets with thousands of users logging in daily. Outside of Microsoft there is no application used more.”
Yancoal has implemented the Corvus Warehouse Goods Out module across all 11 sites
Following implementation of Warehouse, the site reported time savings equivalent to two-to-three full-time employees, freeing up staff to attend to more pressing matters rather than chase up ghost items (i.e. items not logged in the system).
According to a Yancoal site controller, the roll out was “very smooth”, and “all sites are very impressed with the system and can see the value add it has on their day-to-day activities.”.
Corvus is also designed to excel at short interval control (SIC), a well-known productivity improvement technique that split work shifts into units (short intervals) of time.
As such, integration of Intov8’s technology also helps to reduce reporting time associated with problem solutions by allowing instant decision-making via updates from mobile and desktop integrated applications such as Corvus Wall.
“Because we plug into every single data system and we know the business rules and we know the numbers, from when a person walks onsite to when the coal is leaving via train, we can actually do short interval control better than anybody else through our mobile applications and dashboards,” says Whyatt.
“One observation from our years of experience is to always maintain focus on what your core skills are in order to ensure best use of time and money.
“Intov8’s key strength lies in its own unique IP, which is used in delivering mining software solutions that work, and this key focus is what allows our productive partners to focus on their core skills of actually getting on with running the mines.”
This article also appears in the March edition of Australian Mining.