A key part of mining operations is not just
about having the right equipment or methods in place but being able to properly
maintain them. Many businesses within the mining industry are looking to
revolutionise their processes and raise the standards within their workplace.
For this to occur, top-level management and advanced maintenance systems must
be in place. This is why many organisations across industries are choosing to
integrate paperless solutions within their daily processes. For most mining
businesses, paperless checklists such as mining maintenance notification forms
are crucial to understanding what needs to be attended to, and what is
currently working well. Simple or complex, these forms can trigger
notifications to the right maintenance department in the form of a safety
issue, corrective action, maintenance request or a simple ‘all clear’ notice.
Within these forms there are often opportunities to describe the findings in
more detail using visual aids in the form of photos and annotated images/drawings,
as well as GPS and timestamps.
Another important aspect of mining
operations to consider is their electrical compliance and safety. This can also
have a huge impact on the long-term efficiency of processes, safety environment
and profitability of the organisation. Just like more general mining
maintenance checklists, electrical reporting can take advantage of mobile
device features. Reports can include subsections on training and employee
compliance with regulations as well as section on the suitability of the
electricians and electrical safety procedures. For electrical testing, a common
misconception is that mobile devices themselves present an issue in certain
working environments. Whilst true to some extent with regular consumer devices
in certain high-risk environments, the majority of mining workplaces are still
safe for use. For those areas deemed high-risk, there is now the possibility to
use IECEx-certified intrinsically-safe devices [Zone 1 or 2]. This allows
inspectors to take their device anywhere in order to measure things like
voltage, zone safety, permit and lockout procedures etc.
Features in Modern Paperless Inspection Applications:
Speech recognition has dramatically
improved over the previous years and is now a viable way of inputting
information fast. The almost standard feature on phones can be useful when a
truly ‘hands-free’ approach is required, as well as for making more casual
notes and recordings.
With internet connectivity still not
guaranteed everywhere you might go, its highly useful to be able to
applications and the reporting mechanisms offline. Whilst the internet is
needed to send data to the back-end server, reporting can still often be
carried out without being online.
Many applications provide some form of
tracking of assets, marrying report history with a listed equipment piece. What
is more exclusive to the premium applications today is full life-cycle tracking
from cradle to grave. This allows a more dynamic ROI to be calculated using age
against actual use, a more accurate way in measuring performance and planning
A crucial part of any maintenance, safety
or management system is having an integrated trigger notifications system. This
can include emailing of reports to the necessary stakeholders, informational
updates to maintenance teams or simple reminders of compliance procedures and
inspections that needs completing.
Businesses often need to upload important
documents and checklists to ensure that all equipment operators have the
necessary information in order to carry out their activities. This also
includes past reports as well as reference manuals which can provide valuable
insights into asset performance.
Cloud (SaaS) or on premise hosting
Many paperless applications give no option
of hosting, but where premium paperless applications show their value is in the
choice of hosting. This can be hosted remotely via SaaS (Software as a Service)
or on a private in-house server. This ensures that whatever IT needs a business
might have can be catered for.
Customisation and configuration
Where basic paperless applications really
struggle compared with premium paperless solutions is the customisation
abilities that the user, businesses or management have. This can be on a
checklist, asset management, interface, automatic notifications, business
intelligence or report content level. Customisation and tailoring are key to
the paperless system working well with your mine in a seamless fashion.
Perhaps the most important feature of any paperless
inspection solution is the support team behind the product/service. Premium
solutions often provide global support 24/7 via phone, email or on site meetings,
with user groups demonstrations and on-site visits.
When selecting a mining maintenance
inspection solution, its important to remember what is important for your
business. What is crucial to success and what can transform your current situation.
After establishing this, its important to select a trusted, experienced
provider that can tailor a paperless solution to your needs.