May 17, 2020

An inside look at Caterpillar's MineStar technology

5 min
An inside look at Caterpillar's MineStar technology
Its a tough time for the mining industry. The commodities sector continues to struggle with unstable prices, casting uncertainty across an industry whos...

It’s a tough time for the mining industry. The commodities sector continues to struggle with unstable prices, casting uncertainty across an industry whose fate is tied to the materials it extracts.

It’s an unfortunate setting, but for equipment manufacturer Caterpillar Inc., necessity continues to be the mother of innovation.

The U.S.-based equipment manufacturer has formulated Cat MineStar™—a comprehensive suite of mining technology products to contest the volatile environment companies face. Cat’s brainchild enables miners to configure technologies to fit their needs, providing everything from material tracking to sophisticated real-time fleet management, machine health systems, autonomous equipment systems and more.

MineStar uncovered

Simply put, MineStar™ is designed for mine operations and equipment management. The system is comprised of five configurable features -- Fleet, Terrain, Detection, Health and Command -- that have the ability to enhance mine site safety, reduce costs, improve profitability and boost efficiency.

Fleet provides an array of services from real-time machine tracking to assignment and productivity management. Fleet enhances the management of all types of equipment operations, across one or multiple mine sites, as well as enabling fleets to share data and information with other electronic mine management systems.

• Related content: [VIDEO] Improving fleet management with Caterpillar's MineStar technology

Terrain is a powerful tool that enables high precision management of drilling, dragline, grading and loading operations through the use of guidance technology. With in-cab display, Terrain provides operators with exact position of their machine within its work zone, including work to be done and completed work, as well as highlighting avoidance zones.

Detect is designed to improve safety. Using a combination of radars, cameras and an in-cab display, Detect provides equipment operators with enhanced awareness of its immediate environment, including manned or remotely controlled equipment, for increased site safety. The Detect system also has a range of additional capabilities to fit each and every site’s needs.

Health includes comprehensive health equipment and asset monitoring capabilities to deliver critical event-based machine conditions and operating data for the entire fleet. The objective for Health is to identify potential equipment problems before failure, minimizing unscheduled downtime and productivity loss. Health also goes beyond just equipment health, providing problem areas within the mine site itself to generate reports showing where health and operational alerts occur.

Command is the next phase in mining automation. It provides various levels of operator control from remote control, semi-autonomous and fully autonomous systems for surface and underground mobile mining equipment. By integrating Fleet, Terrain, Detect and Health, the innovative system is designed to deliver dramatic improvements in safety, productivity and availability during operations.

Adding value to MineStar

Earlier this year, Caterpillar made a minority investment in Uptake to jointly develop an end-to-end platform for “predictive diagnostics” to help customers monitor and optimize their fleets more effectively. The idea is to take the mountains of data spewing from Cat’s equipment and turn it into meaningful information that can help customers catch potential maintenance issues before breakdowns occur, minimizing downtime.

“In the early days, we looked at autonomy for just trucks. Now, we look at mining systems and integrating autonomous technology through the entire mining operation process—from planning to reclamation,” said Ed Rapp, group president for Resource Industries at Caterpillar Inc.

“The partnership with Uptake will do two things: Take our data analytics from our machines and take it to another level. It will also take the data and integrate it into the work flow. Uptake has a lot of experience in this. It will not only predict potential failures but it will initiate the work flow to ensure action is taking place.”

• Related content: [VIDEO] Caterpillar Invests in Uptake to Develop Analytics Solutions

According to Doug Oberhelman, chairman and CEO of Caterpillar, the partnership will combine Caterpillar's world-class product engineering and design expertise with Uptake's software, application and data analytics expertise.

“As a result, we'll be able to transform the quintillion bytes of incoming data we see every day into useful information we feed back to our customers for on-the-spot decisions and planning purposes to further reduce owning and operating costs.”

“We'll build a platform to bring the next generation of our technology services and products to market sooner, and will act as a springboard for years of development after that. We want to empower our customers with the insight necessary to shift from a reactive ’repair after failure’ mode to a proactive ’repair before failure’ stance.”

Customer-driven technology

The purpose of MineStar™ is to enable companies to improve operations by simultaneously reducing costs while enhancing safety.  To effectively do so, as well as meet the needs of their customers, Caterpillar strives for continuous improvements.

In May, Caterpillar invited its customers and dealers to Tucson, Arizona to learn more about their MineStar™ technology and how it can improve operations for them.

• Related content: [VIDEO] Built For It: Caterpillar tees off new Driving Range video

According to Rapp, one of the purposes of the conference is to gain first-hand feedback from customers on MineStar™, and assess how they can improve to meet the needs of their customers. 

“For me, it's real simple: we need to be driven by customers each and every day. Conferences like this are our opportunity to get first-hand feedback from customers to hear about the things customers like about the technology, or the things they don't like.”

Rapp added, “Customer feedback provides two things: it points you in the right direction, and it provides collaboration. If you can sit down with an individual customer and talk about their issues, they may give you a narrow view. However, if they can listen to someone in a similar application, a similar challenge, it opens their minds up in terms of the possibilities. I think we get the best input when we put multiple users together and let them collaborate.”

“Our conferences get the highest level of participation when mining has been at its most depressed level. It tells you they see value in this industry, and so do we,” concluded Rapp. 

For Caterpillar, necessity remains the mother of all invention. That mentality hasn’t changed. For the last 90 years Caterpillar Inc. has been making sustainable progress possible while driving positive change on every continent. With MineStar™ at the helm, the equipment manufacturer is primed to make it another 90. 

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Dec 3, 2020

Net zero benefits the mining industry and the environment

digital mining
Dan Brightmore
3 min
Learn how to future proof your business for a zero-carbon world with help from Emitwise and the Oren Marketplace.
Learn how to future proof your business for a zero-carbon world with help from Emitwise and the Oren Marketplace...

How do we get the world to net-zero faster?

Emitwise’s founders, Mauro Cozzi, Eduardo Gómez and Ben Peddie, approached a network of more than 100 of the world's largest enterprises and asked their CEOs, CFOs, and sustainability managers the big question: How do we get the world to net-zero faster? The challenge many shared was the lack of timely and accurate emissions data to enable strategic decisions. Companies often relied on annual audits of their carbon footprint for carbon accounting purposes. However, static yearly results were outdated upon publishing.

Emitwise saves companies an average of 260 working days a year by automating their scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions data. With the added benefits of clean audit trails and auto-populated accounting reports in line with GHG Protocol, all at the click of a button. Their easy to use solution enables businesses to quickly identify the carbon hotspots to target, and the precise real-time data empowers teams to remain agile and respond effectively, making achieving those goals possible.

Unique AI Technology

Emitwise’s unique AI technology empowers businesses to automatically measure, report and reduce their carbon footprint across their operations and supply chain, future-proofing companies for a zero-carbon world. It is the only solution that enables companies to fully automate their carbon accounting across all business units and suppliers, therefore liberating them from the drudgery of collecting and processing emissions data.

By using artificial intelligence to precisely measure emissions in real-time, businesses can identify and tackle carbon hotspots swiftly, enabling them to devise a trackable roadmap to net-zero carbon. At the same time, accurate audit trails and auto-populated annual reports ensure that companies comply with international reporting requirements, and align businesses with global climate targets to mitigate risk across their operations and supply chain. 

The Oren Marketplace

Environmental management, social license to operate, safety, renewable energy to lower emissions and operational efficiency for mining can be supported by a range of digital solutions enabling dynamic operations. To address these issues, Shell and IBM joined forces to create the Oren Marketplace – the first B2B solutions platform for the mining sector. 

With the adoption of many of the digital solutions offered through Oren, mining companies can adapt in real-time to risks or adjust plans ahead of a problem occurring. The goal is a shift towards proactive management as the optimal outcome for all stakeholders – community, shareholders, and employees.

Emitwise was founded with the goal of helping industries across all sectors reduce their carbon footprint. Similarly, Shell aims to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050, or sooner, in step with society and its customers. And Oren is focused on offering innovative products and services that can help mining companies track and reduce their emissions. 

“Oren is the starting point for how we help our mining customers to de-carbonise,” explains Carol Chen, Global Lubricants Marketing, Vice President, Shell. “It’s our ambition to work with sectors like mining to help them find their own pathway to net-zero emissions through collaboration. The Oren marketplace offers a great opportunity for collaboration between the miners and technology companies that are joining this digital marketplace.” 

Web Summit

Emitwise will be showcasing its vision for a net-zero future live from Lisbon at this year’s Web Summit. Bringing together the people and companies redefining the global tech industry, the online event welcomes 100,000+ attendees from around the world to hear from more than 800 speakers and view offerings from 2,500 startups covering a vast range of topics from Data Science and Climate Change to AI and Machine Learning. To find out more and book your ticket visit Web Summit. 

Emitwise is one of many solutions providers on the Oren platform seeking to address the pain points and environmental concerns of heavy industries like mining. To discover a range of solutions that can further support your operation’s digital transformation and commitment to sustainability, visit the Oren Marketplace.

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