Caterpillar is adding a new platform, MineStar Edge, to augment the Cat MineStar Solutions suite of technologies and to align with the way many mining operations manage their businesses. Edge creates an operational ecosystem for mining companies. Rather than having data in individual silos, Edge brings visibility to the entire mining operation and enables managers to see how activities early in the process impact those further down the value chain.
MineStar Edge also leverages cloud computing and recent technology advancements, such as data fusion, machine learning and artificial intelligence—so it will continue to grow as it collects data, identifies patterns and learns to make decisions. These capabilities enable mine managers to focus on improving operations rather than collecting and interpreting data. Edge also automates data collection, which ensures accuracy, unburdens personnel and enables managers to trust the information they receive.
“MineStar Edge makes it possible to measure, manage, analyze and improve the entire mining operation,” says Sean McGinnis, MineStar Solutions Product Manager. “Yet the design makes Edge cost effective even for smaller operations—with the capability to scale up as needed. This platform will grow with Caterpillar and our customers.”
Because Edge is delivered as a cloud-based, subscription managed application, it reduces costs of deployment, service and training. Caterpillar takes care of all office-based deployment, support, updates and upgrades. The platform design also speeds the time from order to use.
Customers select an offering by role, function or task—paying only for those functionalities they need. This new model makes buying and using technology more cost effective and efficient and allows operations of every size and type to more easily take advantage of the benefits technology makes possible.
Edge enables supervisors to access information from a computer or tablet from anyplace with an internet connection, whether in the pit or in a distant office. Receiving information in near-real-time allows supervisors to make changes during the shift to achieve performance goals.
“In early deployments of Edge Equipment Tracking and Production Recording, we saw the mines achieve significant gains,” says Ryan Howell, Commercial Manager, Cat MineStar Solutions. “A phosphate mine was able to increase the average tons per load by 15% and to reduce the number of underloads by 29%. The mine also reduced shift change time by 17%.
“A limestone quarry increased production by 20% by using the information to reduce underloads, and tracking data helped them improve blend compliance,” Howell continues. “We estimate that sites currently using paper reporting systems will be able to increase production by 20% to 30%. For mines using production recording technology, Edge will increase accuracy, and, through the use of cloud technology, Edge will reduce system support tasks for the customer.”
Equipment Tracking provides consistent information on each asset, including data on location and movement, velocity, payload, cycle times and fuel level as well as hour meter reading and time utilization. Supervisors can view scheduled and unscheduled downtime along with scheduled and unscheduled operational stoppages. This information drives operational changes to maintain productivity.
Production Recording pairs with Equipment Tracking to deliver an accurate and automated near-real-time solution that measures and reports on every aspect of the load-haul-dump cycle. It provides accurate, reliable and actionable data with no operator input required, eliminating the risk of incorrect data entry. Production Recording helps mines of all types and sizes improve the efficiency of their operations and increase their overall tons produced.
Edge also includes availability of in-cab displays to empower operators. With accurate information, loading tool operators can improve payload compliance and material selection.