Atlas Copco Underground Automation

Year 2020: End of messed-up plans in the mines

Creating workdays that flow smoothly is challenging for most people. However, for mining production planners it is stressful on a whole other level. They set up a plan, but are then left hoping for the best, in no control of all disruptions and unexpected events deep down underground. But that is about to change.

Year 2020: End of messed-up plans in the mines

To get a glimpse of the exciting changes to come, let’s travel a couple of years into the future. It’s now year 2020, and one of the production planners tells about what has happened. Let’s call him Stephen. Said Stephen, “Back in 2016, I was so frustrated. In the morning I would send the guys down the mine with a plan of what needs to get done that day. It was like sending them to the moon, I felt totally cut off from their challenges, with no ability to adjust the plan for them when they ran into unexpected events.” “Now is so much different. It is less stressful for both me and the miners. For example, if there is a delay that affects other processes, I get notified about it automatically and can course-correct planned activities for keeping a high productivity. Ten minutes ago a machine was inactive due to other
delays, so I decided for it to go to work somewhere else.”

You and the machines talk to each other?

“Yeah, they tell me all kind of things. Like ‘My mission for today is going according to plan. I have completed ten of the 100 tons planned’, or, ‘I’m not scheduled for any work next week, so maybe this is a good time to take me out of production for a 250-hour service?”

“The best thing that has happened since 2016 is that I have more colleagues here in the operation office, since the miners do more of their work remotely nowadays.”

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Wendy Elia

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