One year on from the commercialisation of MineHarmony, the Industrial IoT operating system developed by Huawei, the Chinese information and communications technology provider has entered the stage of large-scale commercial use, with 5G + AI taking smart mining into a new phase.
Industrial IoT technology used in mining
The MineHarmony OS is a joint innovation by Huawei and China Energy Investment Corporation. Utilising soft-bus technology, the software helps mining enterprises collect data online, in real time, synchronising the data with equipment and systems across scenarios, thus building a solid foundation for the development of an intelligent mine.
Speaking at Huawei Connect 2022, Ken Hu, Rotating Chairman of Huawei, emphasised the company’s commitment to working with its partners to help industry customers choose the right technology for their needs, and how to make the most of that technology.
"To provide our customers with scenario-based solutions that truly meet their needs," Hu said. "We have to work side-by-side to truly understand the challenges in their industry."
According to Hu, just one year after its formation, Huawei's Mine Team has made solid progress, adding that the system has been deployed on 3,300 sets of equipment in 13 mines and one coal washery.
In particular, the system has been deployed throughout the entire Wulanmulun (also known as Ulan Moran) Mine in Inner Mongolia, where significant progress has been made in connectivity, interface, and data access.
The operating system covers a multitude of innovative scenarios, including smart control of equipment, auto patrol of fixed sites, and online upgrade of equipment, the time for which has been shortened from one day to just four minutes, the technology giant said.
With cutting-edge ICTs that are deeply interwoven with field practices, the Huawei Mine Team has created a mining Industrial Internet platform that runs on unified standards and unified frameworks and is dedicated to a unified set of data specifications, the statement continued.
“By building a next-generation IoT with cloud platforms as the core, data as a key factor, and security as a safeguard, the Mine Team is focused on forging a new mode of applications that integrate next-generation information technologies into the mining sector to forge new modalities for mine companies, supply chain, and the industrial chain,” it said.
“In this process, the Team will work closely with the sector to unleash new value for the mining industry. This will help the industry to become safer and more efficient, while requiring fewer people for undesirable and dangerous assignments.”
Simplifying mining operations with new technology
Huawei said that its Mine Team and China Energy have teamed up with more than 30 partners to develop MineHarmony, which is the first Internet of Things Operating System in the mining sector. This was accomplished within three months, it added.
“Underground coal mines are fitted with all kinds of devices and equipment running on different protocols and finding a way to connect them all is a major challenge. The first challenge for any mine is establishing the interconnectivity and interoperability of equipment and inaccessibility of data. Key to this is to find the most suitable network technologies.
“Huawei has taken its 5G capabilities, as well as fully optical connectivity with FTTM and IPv6+, underground into the pits. These technologies, known for their low latency and high reliability, are ideal for multiple scenarios from video backhaul to remote equipment control,” it continued.
“MineHarmony not only provides unified protocols for different equipment, but also simplifies operations with unattended inspections. The system covers equipment of all sizes, and uses unified protocols, to enable data sharing between equipment and interconnectivity between users and devices.
“Furthermore, 5G+AI video stitching technologies have enabled remote and precise control of mining machines, which in turn allows people working in offices to remotely control underground operations, thereby improving their work environment as well as mining safety.
“With 5G transmitting real-time video of the main belts and AI algorithms accurately identifying anomalies, the system turns time-phased manual inspections into 24/7 intelligent monitoring, in addition to cutting the number of underground inspection personnel by 20%,” the statement concluded.