We all know the Internet of Things (IoT) is driving a revolution, but the way its data is helping to make the mining industry more efficient is going far beyond expectations. Don Warden, head of business intelligence at Freeport-McMoRan, provided his valuable insights on the matter at the Teradata Partners event in Atlanta.
For industries like mining, the data provided by connected sensors and devices can be used to improve operational efficiency when used in conjunction with the right analytical tools. In the fleet of 331 haul trucks used by Freeport-McMoRan in the company’s mining operations, the vehicles are fitted with 124 sensors providing two billion values per day.
“Our company is directly affected by commodity prices, which has been falling recently and that’s been indicated in our shares,” says Warden. “We’re unable to change that, so we’re always looking to improve efficiency within the company.”
The sensors range from providing some of the more traditional data – such as OBD information like gear changes, fuel use, speed, and gradients – to more new-fangled technology such as eye-tracking in the cab to detect fatigue and help to prevent accidents.
Using a combination of sensor data, Freeport-McMoRan was able to build a heat map of ‘choke points’ on haulage routes. Through drilling into this data, the company was able to reduce how long and costly each haulage is through identifying areas for improvement such as road design and driver training. “We’re looking for that competitive advantage, reducing how long it takes for decisions to be made,” explains Warden.
Of course there’s little sense in making a significant investment setting up an Internet of Things infrastructure for your business if there’s little return over the long-term. In the case of Freeport-McMoRan, after investing $2.8m in their pilot IoT program, the company is now reaping savings of $4.8m every year.
Are you surprised Freeport-McMoRan’s savings after implementing their IoT strategy? Let us know in the comments.
Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their IoT use-cases? Attend the IoT Tech Expo World Series events with upcoming shows in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.