Mining companies are increasingly seeking to digitalize and automate their operations to increase productivity, enhance operator safety and lower cost. This includes, for example, remotely operating machines from a control room, and collecting machine performance data to optimize use of the equipment. This creates a need for reliable, high-performance wireless connectivity at the mines. Epiroc and Ericsson have agreed to work together to provide mining customers with high-performing LTE (Long-Term Evolution) and 5G mobile technology solutions.
Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s Senior Executive Vice President Mining and Infrastructure, says: “We are happy to team up with Ericsson so that our mining customers can get the most reliable and high-performing wireless connectivity possible. This is a crucial step in our ongoing work to ensure mining customers reap all the benefits, including higher productivity and better safety, made possible by digitalization and automation.”
Åsa Tamsons, Ericsson’s Senior Vice President and Head of Business Area Technologies & New Businesses, says: “Cellular technology and the introduction of 5G is critical to realize the full value of digitalization and automatization for smart industries. This will open up for new business models and ecosystems across the mining industry, telecom services providers in each market, and Ericsson. By combining our expertise in connectivity and Epiroc’s cutting-edge technology in mining equipment, we will be able to ensure stable and secure mining operations, leading to increased utilization, improved productivity and reduced costs.”
Key advantages of LTE and 5G solutions compared with other wireless solutions include better coverage, higher reliability and stronger security, especially when machines are in the same area and share information. The technology, which is for both underground and open pit mines, has already been tested on Epiroc’s machines at the company’s test mine in Kvarntorp, Sweden. Further testing will be done before providing the solutions to customers.