The scenario is well known…on a regular basis, maintenance, environmental and safety people walk the mine areas (facilities, processing, tailings, water streams) for inspections or rounds. Usually these inspections are performed with a paper and clipboard in hand with “boxes” to be checked, filled in, and potential actions items pointed out. When necessary photos are taken and measurements can be made.

After the rounds…this check list will probably be imputed manually in some system (spreadsheet) and exported to other software tools (environmental reporting, maintenance management…)

In such conditions we can immediately identify some issues that may occur:

  • Lack of efficiency due the task of form filling, inputting data, attaching pictures…triggering manually actions
  • Such a manual process only gets done by a few people (subject experts) impacting the frequency and making some rounds a daunting task (due to large distances and several check points)
  • Major equipment failures, accidents or environmental issues could result from potentially missing check points (or overlooked), lost information and input errors

But how can we bring technology to address such tasks?

The first initial idea is to migrate the spreadsheet (or to create some checking procedure) to a tablet or smart phone, this partially addresses the problem but it still doesn’t solve some critical points:

  • Proper and automatic integration with upper layer software (including ERP)
  • Time stamping
  • Trigger special procedures
  • Integration with measurement devices (IR thermometer..)
  • Integration with barcode and RFID
  • Also it doesn’t bring flexibility to add advanced functionalities

Source: Schneider Electric - See full article