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Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Help Underground Mines Improve

Artificial Intelligence is the Next Frontier of Improving Underground Mining Operations

Artificial Intelligence is the Next Frontier of Improving Underground Mining Operations

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Help Underground Mines Improve

What is Artificial Intelligence to Mining?

Artificial intelligence IS the next frontier of improving underground mining operations. But, we’re not talking about turning your mine into a hive of drones. This isn’t about upending your operations. Machine learning (ML) algorithms pull out patterns in data collected around your mine and fleet to predict problems before they occur. This vastly improves the efficiency of your mine.

"What machine learning algorithms do is pull out patters in data collected... to help predict problems before they occur..."

At Agnico Eagle’s Goldex Mine near Val d’Or, Que., they’re saving on maintenance costs for the engines of their haulage trucks. This is thanks to the predictive analysis made using their historical data collected by Newtrax and applied to ML algorithms.

The maintenance team at Goldex discovered that their truck engines were sometimes failing, a lot earlier than expected. The team had suspicions on what was causing the problem and were alerted by the Newtrax Mobile Equipment Telemetry (MET) system. This provided them with a good indication. However, by using ML, we were able to sift through the data collected from the truck’s engine sensors far more quickly. We were able to pick out the patterns of what was happening with confidence resulting in faster time to action.

“[Newtrax] developed a system that enables us to predict issues at least two weeks in advance, even before the alarms, so we can intervene before we incur problems that break our engines,” Agnico's Daniel Pinard says.

Rather than spending $100,000 to replace an engine, they only had to spend about a quarter of that to make the necessary repairs. And at the same time were able to leave the truck in production, where it moves about 500 tonnes of material a shift.

This is what AI is all about. Finding small, manageable solutions that save costs and optimize processes.. Newtrax combined its in-house advanced ML expertise with the client’s data to achieve quick wins.

Read our previous article on how AI also improves Safety, Productivity and Profitability.

Machine Learning Intern explains ML algorithm in meeting on whiteboard for Underground mining

Newtrax AI Intern Léo Boisvert explains an algorithm to team members.

"It's not just engine failures that machine learning algorithms can predict in advance, it can see failure in smaller components, too."

It’s not just engine failures that machine learning algorithms can predict in advance! ML can see failure patterns in smaller components, too. Take batteries, as an example. Typically during normal usage, a battery puts out a precise voltage that holds steady for its entire life. But as a battery ages, and approaches failure, subtle variations start to appear.

Newtrax engineer Louis-Pierre Campeau saw the algorithm was picking up a change in the output. When he looked at it, and said, “Well, it’s 26.7 Volts, and it was 26.7 before so it’s okay.” But the algorithm was saying there was a problem.

“Then looking deeper, the average was 26.752, and afterward it was 26.716,” Campeau says. “It’s a very small change you just couldn’t pick up by looking at it.”

"This is the REAL power of machine learning. A single person isn't able to look at all the data... but an algorithm can..."

This is what he says is the real power of machine learning. A single person isn’t able to look at all the data for the different measurements given off by a fleet of vehicles. But an algorithm can, and it’s able to draw connections of things a person isn’t likely to even see as related.

“Sometimes there are too many factors put together that you can’t really look at as a whole,” Campeau says. “If one measure goes up while another goes down, at this average and the temperature is going down. There’s a certain limit of information you can process out simultaneously.”

"Newtrax has a large collection of anonymized data..."

What Newtrax brings is a focus on underground mining. You won’t be a client with a company that’s adapting their algorithms for the train yard to fit the underground environment. Newtrax has a large collection of anonymized data from our client base of underground mining companies. We’re able to draw on right from the start, Campeau says.

“Each mine is part of the large pool of clients we have, and can use all of these insights we get from our previous experience to apply it right away,” he says. “Rather than having to figure out everything from scratch.”

"You may not have seen your LHD's in every possible situation, but there's a good chance we have, and can pull patterns from it right when we start."

We’re able to draw on a large database collected from a number of different mines, that gives us a huge wealth of real-world data to train our algorithms. You may not have seen your LHD’s in every possible situation, but there’s a good chance we have, and can pull patterns from it right when we start.

We recommend reading ‘Live to learn – The Future of Mining Innovation’ by Mining Magazine to further explore the value of AI and Machine Learning.

For more information on Newtrax successes at Goldex, you can read this case study:

Data collection mining

How Data Collection and AI Will Change The Future of Mine Safety and Profitability

How Data Collection and AI Will Change The Future of Mine Safety and Profitability

Data collection mining

1.  Safety in Mines

Data collection and analysis, especially with the availability of AI algorithms, makes it easier to foresee possible risks that can arise in underground mines, and prevent them.  Predictive maintenance would be the best example of this. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, companies with a 9% reactive maintenance rate had a recordable incident rate of .1%, while those with a 64% reactive maintenance had a recordable incident rate of 4.3%.

These statistics highlight how having reliable equipment is safer.  Interpreting real-time data on your equipment and how they interact in the mining environment keeps everyone safer in the mine.  These algorithms are preparing today for the future needs of safety compliance in safety and prevention.

2.   Mining Productivity and Profitability

Productivity in mines is lower than in other industries, and working underground creates a gap of knowledge transfer between supervisors of different areas of the mine in real-time.  Decisions are made while there are still variables which are unknown. Data collection and analysis however, makes it possible to have a global view of situations for better decision making. There are serious cost savings when you can make important decisions with a full and clear picture in mind.

— Download the Slide Deck to Learn How Use AI on Mining Data To Create Value In Less Than 3 Months —

Download the AI Slide Deck To Learn More

This AI Slide Deck prepared by Newtrax VP of Artificial Intelligence, Michel Dubois, shows how to create value with data collected in underground mines using Artificial Intelligence algorithms.

3. Data collection for Mining

Mines have started digitalizing their fleets and collecting data.  This is where data contextualization comes in. Through the fleet and network agnostic systems at Newtrax for example, the data collected can be connected and contextualized.  Being able to have the full context of any piece of data will bring more possibilities and using trends and algorithms trained by multiple mines can help predict events in any given mine.

Mining will be much more calculated in the next 5 – 10 years, this means knowing exactly what is going on under the surface from to make the mine safer, more profitable and understanding how all of these elements interact with each other to have the most productive operation possible.

Michael Place, Unit Manager of Granny Smith Gold Fields Mine using Newtrax Technology

Newtrax is Attending & Exhibiting at IMARC 2018

Newtrax is Attending & Exhibiting at IMARC 2018 Booth B90

Michael Place, Unit Manager of Granny Smith Gold Fields Mine using Newtrax Technology

Newtrax will be attending the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) in Melbourne, Australia from October 29 to November 1st, 2018.  This is our second year attending the show, and we are very proud to be a sponsor.

Be sure to register to listen to Michael Place, Unit Manager for projects at Granny Smith Gold Fields Mine speak about his experience integrating Newtrax technology at 13:55 on Wednesday, October 31st in the Technology Theatre.

Watch the video to see what it’s all about!

Stop by Booth B90 to see what Newtrax can do for you!

Let’s meet to discuss how we can partner with your mine to achieve your KPI’s.  Click the link below to have a Newtrax representative schedule your IMARC meeting today!

Mines & Technology 2017 Toronto

Newtrax is Presenting at Mines & Technology 2018 in Toronto

Newtrax is Presenting at Mines & Technology Toronto 2018

Newtrax will be attending the Mines and Technology conference in Toronto on October 16 2018. As Silver Sponsors, we are excited to be supporting this essential platform where coveted speakers from all around the world are gathering to share their latest projects and ideas for the mining industry.

Newtrax will be speaking on October 16 at 14:15 -on the topic of “Artificial Intelligence Using Real-Time Data”.

We will also be taking one-on-one meeting requests for those who are interested in learning more about how Newtrax helps mines achieve their digitization goals with the latest Internet-of-Things (IoT) and analytics technologies.

Using Technology to Increase Safety during Mine Evacuations

Using Technology to Increase Safety during Mine Evacuations

One of the biggest challenges underground mining operations deal with is visibility of events happening underground from the surface.  When monitoring an evacuation situation, this limitation is even more pronounced when ensuring miner safety during an emergency.

The team at Gold Fields’ Granny Smith mine recently decided to change this by using technology to increase safety.  Newtrax was engaged to provide an underground personnel tracking system using their enabled cap lamps.

Through the Newtrax enabled-cap lamp technology, the Granny Smith Mine was able to improve:

  1. Safety
  2. Performance
  3. Profitability
  1. Improved Safety

The technology incorporated into the Newtrax enabled cap lamps transform the lamp into more than just a Personal Safety Device, it is an integral part of a mine evacuation system. Where the limitations of communication through two-way radio make it difficult to be 100% sure of the miners’ safety during an emergency, the Newtrax Evacuation Notification system is able to position each team member underground in real-time.

All existing Cap Lamps at the Granny Smith Mine were replaced with the Brando Corded and Cordless Cap Lamps with Newtrax Safety Features and a High-brightness Light. This allowed Granny Smith to integrate with the Newtrax Evacuation system which sends an emergency message underground to every cap lamp. When activated from the surface, the lamp lights flash, notifying all employees that an emergency has been initiated. They set up their system to work in parallel with their stench gas system and their voice over alarm.

The Newtrax Evacuation system allows Supervisors and the Emergency Response Team (ERT) to quickly determine the location of all employees below the surface, improving safety.

  1. Improved Performance

Emergency drills are important, and they take time and resources to effect, ensuring that all personnel are accounted for while handling the incident. Mines rely heavily on two-way radio for communication, and in an emergency visibility can be lost when the understanding is only as good as the radio calls made to and recorded on the surface.  

The first ever Newtrax Evacuation test was conducted at Gold Fields’ Granny smith mine on July 31st, 2018 through an underground mock emergency exercise. This is the second time worldwide that the Newtrax Evacuation system was adopted in its full capacity, and the hardware functioned seamlessly.

These systems allow the Emergency Rescue Teams (ERT) to know exactly which miners are in which refugee chambers in the mine, and refocus their energy on those who have not yet made it to their chamber.

  1. Increased Profitability

The Newtrax Evacuation system allows for effective and accurate safety drills. Using Newtrax technology reduces the time and resources needed to effectively execute and complete the drill, leaving more time for production.

The result of setting up the Newtrax Evacuation system in the Granny Smith mine was evident: improved safety, performance and profitability during an evacuation drill. Due to the safety features that the Newtrax enabled cap lamps offer, additional features can be added on to the software as required. These include vehicle proximity detection and full mine employee tracking and positioning through an expanded Newtrax Minehop network.

Talk to an expert today on how to best implement the safety measures your mine requires today.

Improve Safety, Performance and increase Profitability.

Have a Newtrax expert contact you to learn how our Custom systems can integrate into your current infrastructure.

Future of mine safety

The Future of Mine Safety and Profitability through Data Collection

The Future of Mine Safety and Profitability through Data Collection

Future of mine safety

“I think that what we are doing right now at Newtrax is defining the future needs of the mining industry.” Louis-Pierre Campeau, an AI expert with Newtrax Technologies said while describing his role and its impact on mining.

Campeau was the subject of our recent blog on  “How Big Data is Solving Three of Mining’s biggest Challenges”.  Since his role and expertise will have such a huge impact on how the mining industry will conduct business in the future, we took some time to sit down with him and talk about his personal journey, and where he sees his work impacting the mining industry over the next 5-10 years.

  1. Future of Safety in Mines
  2. Future of Mining Productivity and Profitability
  3. Future of Data collection for mining

The Mining Industry is very niche, what inspired you to branch off into Mining Engineering?

“I always knew that I wanted to go into engineering, but I wanted to do something different and unexpected.” Said Louis-Pierre who took Mining Engineering with Polytechnique. He has found the mining industry to have become much more of a passion than expected.

The new reality will make it easier to foresee possible risks and prevent them...

1.  Safety in Mines

How will the algorithms you are developing impact safety for the underground mines of the future?

“The new reality will make it easier to foresee possible risks and prevent them.  Predictive maintenance would be the best example of this” explained Campeau. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, companies with a 9% reactive maintenance rate had a recordable incident rate of .1%, while those with a 64% reactive maintenance had a recordable incident rate of 4.3%.

These statistics highlight how having reliable equipment is safer.  Interpreting real-time data on your equipment and how they interact in the mining environment keeps everyone safer in the mine.  These algorithms are preparing today for the future needs of safety compliance in safety and prevention.

2.   Mining Productivity and Profitability

How do you see the shift toward technology impacting the future of Underground Mining profitability?

Louis-Pierre explains how productivity in mines is lower than in other industries, that working underground creates a gap of knowledge transfer between supervisors of different areas of the mine in real-time.  “Decisions are made while there are still variables which are unknown. Solutions like what Newtrax offers makes it possible to have a global view of situations for better decision making.” There are serious cost savings when you can make important decisions with a full and clear picture in mind.

3. Data collection for Mining

Once mines are collecting data and digitizing their systems and fleets, what’s next?

Mines have started digitizing their fleets and collecting data.  This is where data contextualization comes in. Through the fleet and network agnostic systems at Newtrax, the data collected can be connected and contextualized.  Louis-Pierre explains “Being able to have the full context of any data will bring more possibilities. Using trends and algorithms trained by multiple mines to predict events in any given mine.”

Mining will be much more calculated in the next 5 – 10 years, this means knowing exactly what is going on under the surface from to make the mine safer, more profitable and understanding how all of these elements interact with each other to have the most productive operation possible.

Digitally transform your operation today!

Speak to an expert about how with Newtrax you can monitor data in real time, improving Safety, Productivity, and Maintenance.

How Big Data is Solving Three of Mining’s Biggest Challenges

How Big Data is solving three of mining’s biggest challenges

Blog_BigDataSolvingMiningChallenges

Advancements in Industrial IoT systems have made data collection in hard to reach places such as underground mines more accessible than ever before. Thousands of sensors can now automatically upload millions of data points, revealing potential insights that were previously unattainable.

The pioneering work that Newtrax is investing in to collect this data is on the forefront of the digital transformation that the mining industry is going through, helping mining companies around the world solve their three biggest challenges:

  1. Increasing Safety while optimizing productivity
  2. Reducing costs
  3. Reducing waste to increase sustainability

However, while invaluable, all of this data can quickly become overwhelming.

To sift through the data-noise, Business Intelligence (BI) analysts can interpret past data to understand the historical performance of a business, while Machine Learning (ML) algorithms can analyze the past data (trends or patterns) to make future predictions.

Louis-Pierre Campeau, Ph.D. candidate and expert in mining optimization joined Newtrax to help us do the latter.

“If you’re on the sidelines waiting for the right moment to enter the world of Big Data and Machine Learning, you could easily get left behind,” Campeau said. “The bigger the datasets you start building now, the better equipped your Machine Learning algorithms will be five years from now, giving early adopters an incredible competitive advantage.”

For a typical large-scale operation, the mine accounts for a third or more of total operational cost. Some mid- to late-stage mines can expect capital and operational costs to double in the next five years as they navigate geological, operational and regulatory challenges.

That’s why operators of Tier 1 assets are accelerating their investments in data collection and analysis capabilities to be better prepared for the wave of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

The Big Data collected underground through IoT systems will solve mining’s biggest challenges in the following ways:

 

1. Through the data collected from people working underground, Machine Learning algorithms will be able to clearly identify trends in dangerous and hazardous situations based on past behaviour and incidents. This will enable mine management and the Health & Safety departments to take preventive measures to significantly reduce the risk of accidents and fatalities underground.

2. The data collected from mobile equipment, such as tire pressure and engine performance, will enable the prediction of maintenance so precisely that time and cost associated to unplanned maintenance will be significantly reduced, or even practically eliminated. The better we can predict the previously unpredictable, the more productive the mine will be.

3. The environment, such as water, ground and gas levels, are also very powerful data points that can enable the mine to significantly reduce waste and mine with precision. By collecting, analyzing and interpreting historical data on the environment, underground mines can increase the safety of their workers and significantly reduce waste for a more sustainable mining operation.

_________________

Is it time to go Big Data?

Big Data is, well, really big. It can be overwhelming for companies to determine where to start. Newtrax is well-positioned to provide the services, the technology, and the coaching to guide mining companies on their Big Data journey. Our staff of engineers, technology experts, and data scientists are here to help you become the industry’s next data-driven underground mining operation.

Using Big Data will help your underground operation.

Get in contact with a Newtrax expert.  Learn more about how Big Data can increase safety, reduce costs and increase overall sustainability.

Newtrax Celebrates 10 years of Servicing the Underground Mining Industry

Newtrax Celebrates 10 years of Servicing the Underground Mining Industry

10 years in the making

Newtrax celebrates ten years of servicing the underground mining industry.  Over the past ten years we have seen remarkable growth, and as we celebrate this milestone it’s important to reflect on how far we have come.

Just ten years ago we were a small basement start-up with 3 employees and a vision of partnering with underground mines to facilitate their digital transformation through wireless IoT.

To where we are today

Fast forward 10 years later with over 110 employees worldwide, with systems deployed in over 90 mines across the world, with no signs of slowing down.

We are so proud of our growth and of our team.  This global movement has been possible because of the passion of the people behind what we do.  We have been fortunate to continue attracting top industry talent as a part of the Newtrax family.

Where we are going

We don’t know what the next ten years will hold, but we do know that we will continue to strive for excellence through teamwork and trust while supporting our partners productivity, health, safety and security goals.

Luke Clements VP Africa Newtrax

Newtrax Welcomes New Vice President for Africa region

Newtrax Welcomes New VP of Africa

Luke Clements VP Africa Newtrax
Luke Clements, VP Africa, Newtrax

Montreal – December, 2017 —  

Newtrax Technologies Inc. (‘Newtrax’) – the leading provider of safety and operations management systems for underground hard rock mines is pleased to announce Luke Clements has just joined the Newtrax team as Vice President for the Africa region.

Luke Clements brings to Newtrax over 20 years of experience introducing new technologies in underground hard rock mines around the world. Luke started a degree in Engineering at Victoria University and has become a specialist in Automation and Mobile Equipment Telemetry over the years.

Luke’s previous industry experience, in conjunction with over 20 years in the mining industry, has given him a clear understanding and unique perspective on how Operational Technology can deliver business improvements for mining companies throughout the Africa region, no matter their size, complexity or maturity level.

IMARC Conference

Newtrax is Attending & Exhibiting at IMARC 2017

Newtrax is Attending & Exhibiting at IMARC 2017 Booth B27

Newtrax will be attending the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) in Melbourne, Australia from October 20 to November 2nd, 2017. It will our first time attending this essential conference and are looking forward to sharing our learnings, provide inspiration and most of all spend time with your customers and peers.

Newtrax will be exhibiting from October 30- November 2 at Booth B27.

We will also be taking one-on-one meeting requests for those who are interested in learning more about how Newtrax helps mines achieve their digitization goals with the latest Internet-of-Things (IoT) and analytics technologies.