Robotics is an important part of the mining industry, with some claiming that it may eventually replace humans altogether. Mining is a dirty and dangerous business, so robots often make the perfect substitute for human labor.
The robots involved vary in size and shape for different tasks, but all are designed to operate in hazardous environments just as safely as their human counterparts. Robots are used primarily to take over tasks such as welding and de-welding inside of a mine or drilling holes into ore.
These primarily involve spraying hot material onto an object or opening up ore using a drill bit for more concrete data on what exactly goes into creating a robot that can undertake these difficult tasks despite the difficulties of working underground in extreme temperatures.
Application Of Robotics In Mining Industry
Humanoid robots are also used in the mining industry. The DFR, developed by VeChain Robotics, is a human-sized robot capable of climbing 3-foot (1 meter) high ladders and working inside of mines.
It can help to make repairs or transport materials to and from locations. While the DFR is still being experimented on and is not yet ready for full-scale production, it is an example of how robotics will be applied more frequently in the future.
Another company that specializes in humanoid robots is Boston Dynamics (BD). One model they have created is called “BigDog.” It is a quadruped robot that carries supplies for soldiers.
It can go over rough terrain, climb up and down steep hills, and has the ability to carry up to 400 pounds. The BD website claims that it “can run faster and go farther than a soldier carrying 100 pounds of gear.”
The robots market share in the mining industry is anticipated to grow to USD 2.04 billion between 2021 and 2026 at a CAGR of 20.08%, according to Technavio’s market sizing methodology.
Another company, Robosoft Technologies from Turkey, manufactures simulation systems and training robots. The company’s products are used in mining operations as well as other industries like aerospace.
Robosoft’s Simulation System is used to simulate realistic industrial situations and mine risks through training sessions with lifelike human-machine interfaces (HMIs).
Importance Of Robotics In Mining Industry
Robotics is not a new topic in the world. There are many companies that have invested their time and effort in the advancement of this technology. Robotics has been used for many purposes like medical, military, entertainment and manufacturing.
A robot will make your life easier when you feel tired or don’t have enough time to do whatever you need to do. But now, there are robots which can help in mining industry too because these robots can work much better than humans or other humans can’t work at all.
Future Of Robotics In Mining Industry
Robotics in mining could prevent 11,000 to 13,500 deaths annually that are a result of mining operations while also allowing mining companies to search uncharted areas for lucrative minerals.
The use of robots in mining has been increasing at a rapid pace. Due to the high demand for this technology, it is expected that the number of bots and their overall capabilities will be increasing dramatically in the coming years.
By 2050, it is even expected that most mines will have an entirely autonomous system in place which will help miners to complete their tasks more efficiently than a human work force could.
Benefits Of Robotics In Mining Industry
Mining technology is constantly evolving to meet the needs of the industry. One of the latest trends is the use of mining robots. These robots can be used for surface mining operations and can even enter abandoned mines.
This robotic technology is changing the way mining is done and making it safer and more efficient. There is a growing trend in the mining industry to use mobile robots to perform tasks that are traditionally carried out by human divers.
This is due to the fact that mobile robots can work in confined spaces and reduced maintenance costs. Mining engineers are responsible for designing and operating these robots.
1. Cost-Effective And Low Maintenance
Robots used in mining are extremely cost effective and do not need to be replaced often. Since a significant amount of work in mines involves drilling and cutting, robots are used to complete these tasks instead of humans.
This is due to the fact that machines can perform these tasks without any physical restraints or feelings of exhaustion. Robots also do not need to be trained, which is an additional cost savings for companies using them.
In addition, because animals do not use up oxygen breathing like humans, they do not consume as much oxygen as a person would. This allows a company to use fewer workers and to limit the cost of oxygen supplies needed.
This also makes it possible for miners to enter deeper into caves or other areas that humans would be unable to work in. Robots can work continuously and do away with the indirect costs of driver breaks and shift changes.
The cost of maintaining a robotic system is very low because they are not made out of organic material and are not subject to the same wear and tear that human bodies are.
Robots can operate continuously with little maintenance on the part of the owner, which means that there is no need for paid labor for repairs or cleaning out debris from clogging. The reduction in human labor required is one of the main reasons why robotic systems are so ideal for companies in the mining industry.
2. Easily Portable
Even though most robots are not designed for traveling at high speeds, they are still easy to move. They can be easily loaded and moved from location to location without the need for heavy lifting and large transportation vehicles.
Robots can also be taken apart so they can be transported in small spaces like helicopters or on top of cars. This is especially beneficial because it allows companies to relocate their work areas more often than a human-operated mine would.
3. No Risk Of Injury Or Death
While humans may choose dangerous professions for the thrill, robots do not have this luxury. Currently, extreme environments such as mines do not accommodate a human life well. Robots can effectively complete the same tasks without knowing or feeling the danger that humans may experience underground.
This is because robots are made to withstand extremely cold and hot temperatures, high amounts of pressure, and the weight of objects that humans cannot handle. In addition to being able to operate in dangerous situations, robots are more durable than humans.
They are also programmed to make repairs more quickly than a human operator would be able to complete. As such, they are less likely to become damaged or broken when used in dangerous environments where they may be exposed to sharp objects and chemicals.
4. Reduces Waste And Pollution
Robots require very little upkeep, which is beneficial to the mining industry because there is a lot of destruction and waste involved. They can be used over and over again, allowing for less of a need for production and manufacturing.
Because robots do not produce harmful chemicals as humans do when they eat, sleep, or breathe, there is also little risk of pollution or contamination. The minerals in mines are often extremely toxic, so it is important that humans do not have to come into contact with them during their workday.
Robots provide a safe alternative to humans and allow mines to be operated at maximum capacity without endangering the lives of workers.
5. Can Perform Repetitive Tasks
Humans are very limited in what tasks they can complete. For example, a human being may be able to complete one task an hour, but if it was done by a robot at the same time, it would likely finish the task (subsection #1.1) or have a lower chance of error.
There are also many tasks that humans just cannot do, like repairing pipes or working inside areas with highly dangerous chemicals. One robotic system can cost up to $2.5 million when it comes to robots employed in the mining industry.
Currently, there is no program that could teach humans how to repair pipes and perform other safe, manageable tasks in hazardous areas. The only way around this problem is by having robots do the jobs that humans aren’t able to do on their own.
6. High Level Of Accuracy And Precision
Robots are built to be extremely accurate and precise. They can operate in a way that is very similar to a human, but with the precision and durability that comes with machines. This allows them to be trained to do specific tasks without needing to be highly skilled.
The training also allows them to complete a task more quickly than humans could, which is invaluable in the mining industry where time is crucial. Currently, many miners cannot find employers who will pay for training because they do not believe they will find their jobs done well enough by robots to be worth the cost of training.
However, when robots are successful at their jobs, they are perfect for the mining industry because of the accuracy that comes with a robotic system. While humans need much more training to become proficient at certain tasks, robots can be taught basic tasks and then be trained to perform new tasks in an efficient manner.
7. Reduce Interruptions
Because robots don’t require sleep or food or rest, they are very effective in reducing the amount of interruption that workers experience on a daily basis when they have to take breaks and rest.
This allows companies to work faster because the worker is not exhausted and is able to help complete more work within a shorter period of time than if he was operating with full human resources.
Risks Of Robotics In Mining Industry
During the forecast period, APAC will account for 48% of market growth. Recently, neural networks have been employed in an effort to make mining economically viable in difficult environments, such as flooded tunnels.
Laser range finders are used to create a 3D map of the tunnel, which is then used to guide the neural network. The system is still in development, but has shown promise in early tests.
1. Unforeseen Events
Unlike humans, robots are not able to identify problems that they encounter which could lead to the creation of new possibilities with robots and mining. Currently, mining is a dangerous profession that typically has a high fatality rate.
This is due to unforeseen events occurring and causing injuries or death. Robots do not have the ability to recognize hazards or react in time, which means there is always a risk of injury or death for miners when robots operate within mines.
Even if precautions are taken, unexpected events can still occur on site, causing harm to workers and property. In worst-case scenarios, this could result in injury or death if humans were involved.
2. Lack Of Autonomous Learning System
Robots are currently not able to learn on their own. They are programmed to perform tasks and then repeat those same tasks over and over again.
There is no flexibility within the robotic system, which means they are not able to identify when their performance levels have stagnated or when new problems arise that may require new solutions.
Currently, humans are still necessary in the mining industry so they can teach the machines what they need to know quickly. Without this ability, robots would likely be of little use in a mine because they would be performing tasks inefficiently and at a slower pace than humans would.
3. High Cost
Due to the high level of technology used in robots, it can cost as much as several million dollars to purchase and implement a robot system. In addition, robots require more maintenance to perform effectively and are subject to other unforeseen problems like other mechanical systems in the area.
Maintenance on robotic systems is also very expensive, taking up a lot of time and resources. This makes it virtually impossible for small- or medium-sized operations to purchase these systems and implement them onto their mines without incurring significant expense.
Although some companies have proved that they can save money with these automated programs, there are no guarantees that they will be able to continue using them efficiently in the long run due to increased costs caused by purchasing bots.
4. No Collaboration Or Interaction With Humans
Unlike humans, robots are not able to communicate with their fellow workers or identify the problems that they encounter. Because of this, there is no way to effectively and efficiently work together with a robot in a mine setting. Since many mines are highly dependent on teamwork between workers, it can prove difficult for robots to contribute in any way because they lack the qualities required for effective communication.
5. Lack Of Ability To Innovate And Adapt
Robots are unable to innovate or adapt to changes within the mining industry, which will make them less effective than human resources over time. Humans are able to adapt to changing conditions and learn new skills quickly.
Since robots cannot learn on their own, they will not be able to respond to changes in the mining industry. To increase productivity, mining corporations including BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Anglo American, and Vale are investing in robots technology.
By 2035, most mining companies have already started automating their mines due to a lack of skilled workers available within the industry. Some companies are still holding out for a few more years until the demand for miners has been filled by robots or other automatic systems, but most believe that this shift is inevitable within the next decade or two.
In conclusion, Robots are used in Mining Industry every day at different heights and depths because they can efficiently do the tasks carried out by human workers.
However, in recent years, many companies have begun to shift away from hiring humans and begin to use robots instead because they are more reliable and productive.