Mines have long sought to remove workers from unsafe areas and operate as remotely as possible. This goal has new emphasis and urgency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To help you maintain business continuity while keeping your employees healthy and safe, in partnership with PTC, we’re offering free access to Vuforia Chalk, a collaborative remote assistance tool, through June 30, 2020.
Read on to learn how this tool, and other augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies, can help you increase the amount of virtual work your employees can perform and also enhance your mine’s safety and productivity.
Conveyors have long been a time-consuming piece of equipment to troubleshoot and fix. Consider this example to improve productivity when an issue occurs on a conveyor:
Instead of walking along miles of conveyor to locate the issue, an operator can “travel” the length of the belt using a digital twin on a computer or mobile device. Without ever physically visiting the control cabinet, the operator can review the details of the issue and access motor data like current and temperature to troubleshoot and make a diagnosis. Armed with all this information, the operator can deploy the right technician to the right place with the right tools to fix the issue. This dramatically reduces employee travel time. It also means far fewer surprises for technicians as they’re performing repairs, so they can get the job done quicker.
The repair process itself presents another opportunity for mixed-reality technology. Using a mobile device or headset, technicians can use AR technology to see the device’s current operating data overlaid on the physical device itself. They can also view digital work instructions to get step-by-step guidance for repairing the issue. And if they need help, a remote expert or partner can join them in the AR environment to talk them through the repair process. With both parties viewing the same thing, miscommunications that can have dangerous consequences during equipment servicing and repair can be avoided.
It's Achievable Today
Developing AR and VR environments may sound elaborate or futuristic. But today’s mature technologies make it easier and cheaper than ever to implement. And there are already mines out there taking advantage of this technology.
You can use your existing 2D drawings and 3D models, or even aerial photos of your mine, to build the environments. Industrial IoT software can connect these AR or VR environments to data sources like control systems and ERP systems. And analytics software can combine and contextualize different raw data into relevant information for operators.
Learn more about how AR and VR technology, as well as other information solutions tools, can help companies enhance worker safety and reimagine the equipment maintenance process. And download Vuforia Chalk, a collaborative remote assistance tool, for free through June 30, 2020.