Visitors to the world’s biggest mining expo – MINExpo 2016, held at the Las Vegas Convention and Exhibition Centre, were left in absolutely no doubt that the industry is not only facing new challenges but embracing these challenges with innovative solutions and ground-breaking technology. Here are our top 5 takeaways from an awe-inspiring exhibition.
1. Drone and UAV technology
No surprises here – Drones or UAVs (Unmanned Aviation Vehicles) are making some big differences in the mining industry and all the drone manufacturers exhibiting at MINExpo 2016 were keen to point out that UAVs should be thought of as tools, not magical efficiency solutions in their own right. The big developments in drone technology include their increased fuel efficiency with the latest models able to travel up to 200 kilometres away from their controller for a duration of up to two hours.
In Australia, automation is already making its presence felt, particularly in transport, with regions such as the Pilbara in WA, home to fully automated trains, trucks and port-loading facilities. Automation is soon going to be a fact of life for many industries, and while there are concerns about potential job losses, there are benefits, particularly in safety. Mining has always been a dangerous industry and while modern safety practices have made huge improvements over the last 100 years, taking humans out of the highest safety risk situations should be seen as a positive change.
Whether we’re talking about big data, data capture or data storage, the d-word is certainly everywhere. At MINExpo 2016, a lot of the data talk was about the software developments taking place that will drive the new technologies such as UAVs and automated processes. With mining personnel moving from the mine site to centralised control centres, theoretically controlling more than one mine simultaneously, getting timely and absolutely accurate data is critical.
4. VR (Virtual Reality)
Until recently, VR or virtual reality was thought of as something for the games industry but at MINExpo 2016, visitors to the many VR technology booths could experience first-hand how this technology can help visualise complex geology, solve mechanical issues remotely and create completely realistic training sessions based on real-life scenarios. This technology is currently seen as the cutting edge of what is possible for the mining industry, but if the current level of professional interest is anything to go by, leveraging this technology to increase productivity and safety will happen quickly.
This wasn’t so much a theme in itself, but was something than ran consistently throughout all the big ideas and new technologies presented across the three days. Whatever the new technological innovation may be, both the potential customer and service/product provider wants to know how it can be adapted to their precise requirements.
Customisation is a highly valued characteristic of Drake Trailers, with each of our trailers being custom-built to the individual specifications of our customers. Our design team can also use the latest software to build a completely unique trailer that includes all the quality hallmarks of the Drake Group. For more information about our range of customised transport trailers, contact us today.