Atlas automates for increased performance and safety

Atlas automates for increased performance and safety

Atlas Copco has implemented automation technology for underground mine operations. This has helped to promote productivity and reduces operating expenses by enhancing machine performance, capability and reliability as well as creating safer working conditions.

Atlas Copco products and systems are designed and engineered with the objective of improving production, productivity and safety. The development of cutting edge technology such as automation plays a pivotal role. Easy to install and use, automation technology facilitates machine operation and reliability and improves hole accuracy on drill rigs.

“With benefits such as these it comes as no surprise that automation technology is considered by investors, management and engineers alike as the only way for mining operations to ensure a sustainable future,” says Thomas Mthimunye, regional business development manager, URE. “We strongly encourage the mining industry to embrace automation as this technology enables customers to take control of their operations in a completely new way.”

Mthimunye confirms that several gold, manganese, platinum and diamond mines across South Africa have implemented Atlas Copco’s automation technology and are living the success. “Three diamond mines have automated their machines with one of the mines planning full autonomy in 2020.” Some mines have adopted automation including three Simba M6C long hole drill rigs, one Boomer M2C face drill rig, one Boltec MC roof bolter and four Simba M4Cs.

Despite the proven success of automation technology, Mthimunye says that there is still resistance to move away from manual operation which he puts down to companies not knowing the benefits of this technology.

“Unfortunately, automation is usually linked to a decreased workforce while in fact the very opposite is true. It creates opportunities. While the technology is easy to use, it still requires highly skilled operators and technicians to operate the machines. This means upskilling of personnel and subsequent higher remuneration. Furthermore, ease of automation operation attracts women and young upcoming engineers to the mining industry. The older generation’s fear of technology is another challenge. Here education is key. We need to show not just the simplicity of automation but also the tremendous value adds of this technology,” he adds.

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