Measurement Solutions Blog

From belt scales to boardroom: The road to using Big Data is shorter than you may imagine.

Big Data is much more than just a buzzword. It is now being used by companies all over the world – including those in the mining sector, to refine the process of operating in the metals, minerals, oil and gas industries.

More pieces of equipment than ever before can now share information with other digital devices, meaning there is less human input and error – resulting in more accurate data attained in next to no time. Such a huge benefit is being widely adopted today, despite some people seeing it as a technology innovation for the future.

In fact, research from the Computer Sciences Organisation points to an incredible 4,300 per cent growth in data generation since 2009, which will continue until 2020.

In the mining industry especially, companies are looking to make their operations less time-consuming and more productive, and this is possible through the intelligent use of data.

A crucial part of collecting such precious information comes stages whilst measuring bulk material as it moves through the mining process, and this is why high-quality measuring equipment is becoming so necessary.

Big Data in mining

One of the more high-profile cases of Big Data use in mining has been seen by Rio Tinto. The global corporation streamlined its effectiveness, improved productivity, reduced expenses and used this to then help it stay competitive in the market.

According to a 2014 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the value of this data has been easy to gauge.

"The company's innovation group is now shifting focus to studying the Big Data generated by truck and processing plants reporting to have already reduced costs by $80 million through analysis [and] identifying opportunities to deliver efficiencies."

In fact, Rio Tinto CEO Sam Walsh accompanied the research by saying: "We've seen value immediately. The world is talking about big data and how you use it".

However, it would be foolish to think that Big Data is an innovation reserved for the largest corporations. The widespread use of technology is allowing practically every mining-based company to keep up.

The increasingly important role of measuring instruments

The real advantages of using Big Data in the mining sector are improved accuracy – leading to less wastage – and a reduction in the time spent by workers on jobs a computer can do in seconds.

Measuring instruments are a key part of the data collection process. Take belt scales, for example; when optimised, the devices can work with extremely high precision.

They give mine operators the direct benefit of reducing waste, but also indirect information that can be used throughout the mine-to-market supply chain.

Information gleaned from the weighing process can help in transport and logistics, in monitoring production, and for benchmarking the efficiency of the operation. Even in the boardroom, such precious data is useful for better understanding the cost of production, maximising mine yields and determining market prices..

To learn more about high-precision measuring equipment, contact the experts at SRO Technology today on 61 2 9525 3077 (New South Wales) or 61 7 3395 6136 (Queensland).