Tech opportunity to control rising maintenance costs

IFS Australia and New Zealand managing director Rob Stummer has commented on how new technologies and AI could help to control rising maintenance costs in the mining industry.

Citing statistics from BIS Oxford Economics’ Mining in Australia 2017 to 2032 report, which states maintenance costs could increase by nearly 60 per cent over the next five years, Stummer explained in his How new technology and AI can control rising maintenance costs essay that careful management and coordination of maintenance service contractors would be required to control future maintenance costs.

The BIS report, likewise, flags rises for exploration and production costs.

According to Stummer, “now is the time to invest in systems to keep expenditure under control”.

“New technologies — including cloud computing, mobile devices, the Internet of Things (IoT), predictive maintenance, planning and scheduling optimisation, big data, artificial intelligence and augmented reality — all have a role to play in controlling maintenance costs,” he said.

Among the MD’s recommendations for companies were the use of predictive analytics, augmented reality and AI — IFS has used machine learning algorithms for the purpose of schedule optimisation as part of its Planning and Scheduling Optimisation (PSO) software, for example.

Stummer states that mining companies have been moving away from calendar-based preventative maintenance to condition-based maintenance incorporation technologies, such as sensors and IoT integration.

“By far the optimal way to manage maintenance of equipment and other assets is through predictive maintenance,” he adds.

Augmented reality, meanwhile, will “revolutionise maintenance”, with the potential to improve productivity in “the same way that driverless trucks have improved the productivity of haulage operations in recent years”, particularly for remote environments.

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