India-Russia webinar on Industry 4.0, mining post-Covid


As part of a series of web-based seminars to support Indian industry, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is organizing a digital conference for the mining sector on May 21 in partnership with Finnish-Russian digital solutions provider Zyfra.

The webinar, scheduled for 1330-1500 hours IST, is part of the series on Indian industry with a focus on mining and how the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and Industry 4.0 can help various sectors in the new post-coronavirus crisis paradigm.

According to the CII, its priorities currently fall into three phases – “Survival Phase Recovery, and Business as usual along with the digital transformation. These are some of the ways to move directly into the third phase and build a more resilient business. This webinar will answer questions about digital transformations and its capabilities, as well as hardware, software, and essential services that can optimize industry operations in the field of development and implementation of solutions based on IT, AI, and automation for the mining industry.”

Leading international and national industry experts will present their views on the use of digitalization to transform the operations of the mining sector and take questions from the participants.

In this connection, Ilya Izmaylov, Business Transformation Director at Zyfra, told the Economic Times that the company has installed another of its mine fleet management systems – Zyfra Open Mine – in its 80th location. This system improves efficiency and safety in open pit mining, based on individual requirements of the mine. This installation took place at the Shougang Hierro open pit mine in Peru of Cosapi Mineria, a Latin American leader in mining.

Another major project is under way with Thriveni Earthmovers Private Limited (Thriveni), which has awarded Zyfra the contract to implement Intelligent Mine solution at NTPC’s flagship Pakri Barwadih Coal Mining Project (PBCMP) in Jharkhand.

“The joint projects with Cosapi Mineria and Thriveni give us a unique opportunity to demonstrate the advantages and competitiveness of our solutions to mining companies in India, Latin America and Africa,” he said.

“This project would be a great opportunity for references in region to prove value of digital solutions for mining by achieved business effects. Zyfra’s plan by 2021 is to add our solutions to 100 locations across the globe – this is how we explore the world,” he added.

According to the Zyfra executive, after each load and unload, truck drivers obtain the most optimum route according to a complex of criteria. The data is visualized for the excavator operators and the truck drivers on the smart panels in the cabin to help them choose the best option.

Dynamic optimization enables the distribution of haul trucks along routes in an open cycle with a multi-criteria optimisation factor. The system also allows shift changes, break times, refueling, among others to be optimized, and haul trucks’ loading violations to be managed and monitored.

According to Izmaylov, monitoring production parameters and vehicle health in real time results in an average cost reduction through fuel saving and an increase in productivity of trucks increasing overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). The payload and fuel level monitoring systems also control the average payload of haul trucks and reduce underloading and overloading.

“In order to increase production efficiency in accordance with industrial safety standards, there is a need to develop innovative solutions for the mining industry, including dispatching and diagnostic systems, robotized autonomous dump trucks and drill rigs, analytics for solving mining process optimization problems, AI and computer vision technologies. Implementation of all these innovative solutions are the steps of the road to intelligent mine safe for people and effective for business,” he said.

“Mining companies face the challenges of providing industrial safety while simultaneously increasing the completeness and efficiency of ore output, extracting useful components from it and increasing the productivity of mining equipment operations. All these challenges have been addressed over a long period of time in the mining industry. But the use of digital technologies can make it possible to do so on quite a different level of quality” he added.

The first open-pit mine in Russia to begin implementing these digital technologies was Chernigovsky coal mine in the Kemerovo Region in Siberia owned by the company SDS-Ugol. In 2001 the enterprise has successfully implemented the Zyfra OpenMine developed by VIST Group, which is a part of the Zyfra.

Implementation of the system results in increasing the productivity of the mining transport complex by 7–15 per cent. Kachkanarsk GOK (Sverdlovsk Region, the Urals) owned by EVRAZ has increased the productivity of trucks by 8 per cent.

In 2020 Zyfra is going to realize plans of railway transport integration into the Kachkanarsk GOK. Intelligent equipment on traction aggregates is expected to be installed so that operators of electric locomotive and excavator can interact during loading. This will allow information about the ore being transported to be received and the process to be managed.

According to Izmaylov, “the path to Industry 4.0 should be followed by creating a consolidated digital culture as, in fact, the effect can equal to zero without the motivated participation of all employees, from top management to operating personnel,” he said.

“Personnel are frequently not motivated towards digitalization as it places rather high demands on the details, reliability, and timely input of information, reducing the possibility of production indicators averaging to zero. To eliminate this factor in parallel with transformation, it is necessary to change the processes and system of personnel motivation. Take a simple example: digital solutions start to work virtually immediately since data from these systems is only accepted to calculate wages,” he added.