For the quarry, construction, and manufacturing industries in Ireland to reach full potential, they require specialised training on diverse and advanced technology, to keep up with a future that is evolving at an ever-increasing pace.
Join us online on Thursday 6th May as we launch the Industry 4.0 Skillnet, a new learning network providing bespoke and subsidised training for companies in the quarry, construction, and manufacturing industries across Ireland.
We will be joined by keynote speaker Heather Humphreys T.D., Minister for Rural & Community Development, as well as hosting a panel discussion with prominent players in the Industry 4.0 field, from companies such as: SolasVR, Skellig AI, KUKA Robotics, UtilityAR, and Irish Manufacturing Research.
The Industry 4.0 Skillnet network supports companies in the quarry, construction, and manufacturing industries across Ireland. The objective of this national network is to support the growth and development of these industries by enhancing skills and knowledge and broadening access to skills development opportunities.
Industry 4.0 is becoming more strategic, more valuable, and more integrated. We will work to improve obsolete processes and support the workforce to be future-ready, through specialist training programmes. Industry 4.0 Skillnet aims to provide opportunities to our members to gain competitive advantage in the quarry, construction & manufacturing industries.
What is your view on robotic development? Amazing to watch Robots dancing, our technology advancement in robotics needs to have EU and global regulations and protocols under Safety and Standard. This needs to be develop in all governments Globally. We don’t need robots to be used as military weapons or any other harm to the human race. https://www.facebook.com/fossbytes/videos/788486135069545/
While some argue about whether we are in a new industrial revolution, it is clear that the era of the digital enterprise or ‘Industry 4.0’ is upon us. Policy-makers and technology providers have embraced the philosophy as the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ or the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) for its promise to converge information and communication technologies to transform the way producers run operations. With national leaders’ energetic support of Industry 4.0, and investments made by GE, Cisco and others, the digital enterprise will be a driving force for years to come. In fact, Accenture estimate that the IIoT could add US$14.2 trillion to the world economy over the next 15 years.
Big data meets IIoT
In an Industry 4.0 ecosystem, all devices or ‘things’ in a factory or manufacturing process have sensors that are connected to the Internet. These sensors stream massive amounts of data back to the manufacturer, who can then use software and analytics to interpret the data to support real-time decision-making.
Connecting digital technologies with industrial products and logistics is not an entirely new concept. The mining industry, for example, has applied this approach for years. Today, pressure on aggregate product margins due to competition and the rising costs of production is just one of the factors pushing aggregates producers to rethink the way they work too.
The rise of Industry 4.0 in the aggregates sector
Improvements in cloud technology and cloud-based applications are also helping to advance the concept of the IIoT and universal data exchange in the aggregates industry. Before the era of enterprise cloud computing, collecting and storing a vast amount of data was an almost impossible task for most small and mid-size manufacturers, including quarries. Most managers would have been overwhelmed at the prospect of managing data centers and IT systems, in addition to running day-to-day aggregate operations. But now technology is getting simpler, faster, easier to use and less costly than ever before. This makes technology adoption and deployment possible for small and mid-size aggregate operators.
Industry 4.0 concepts and the seamless transfer of data between quarry productivity applications − such as machine control, wheel loader scales, measurement tools, planning and load-out applications, and fleet-management systems − is changing the aggregates business now and for the future. By connecting data between production equipment and systems, managers get a more holistic view of site operations, with the ability to create valuable production and performance reports for extraction, processing and load-out operations.
The Industry 4.0 ecosystem allows for a streamlined quarry workflow in five main areas – extraction, processing, load out, inventory and transportation and distribution:
Extraction Excavator scales, wheel loader scales and haul truck management systems let managers track pit loading and haulage targets and estimates automatically. Data can then be analyzed and reports created that allow for continuous improvement; this eliminates the guesswork or ‘gut feeling’ that used to govern much of the extraction process.
Processing In a quarry environment that ties weighing systems, such as belt scales, with mobile production management applications, the need to manually track throughput and final tonnage is eliminated. For instance, measurement tools on the belt accurately capture data and show how machines are running, including tonnes per hour, total tonnage, reasons for downtime, empty run times, and more. In turn, this level of detail about throughput gives quarry operators the ability to monitor and improve the crushing and screening process. Better analysis allows more proactive decision-making when it comes to plant performance. This includes the ability to look deeper into any bottlenecks and the ability track every product. By measuring weight, downtime and performance of multiple belts automatically, quarry operators can decide on the optimal mode mix when planning production to meet sales forecasts.
Load out Delivering the right product to the right customer at the right time is a critical component of any operation. In a quarry operation that has embraced Industry 4.0 principles, accurate loader scales seamlessly exchange data with load-out management applications. This optimizes the load-out process and helps ensure each truck is loaded safely and quickly, and to the optimal capacity. These connected scales also generate billable information and generate tickets straight from the loader scale. By exchanging information freely, these solutions can feed data into load-out management tools that provide real-time customer job lists. Load accuracy and better analysis capabilities help with machine utilization and customer satisfaction.
Inventory Using conventional methods to conduct a ground survey of an active pit or quarry can be time-consuming, as well as potentially dangerous. Measuring inventory with UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) keeps quarry personnel out of danger and helps operators improve data collection accuracy and efficiency. This helps with forecasting and avoids costly write-offs at the end of the year if stockpile estimates are inaccurate.
Transportation and distribution Data automatically collected about vehicle location, condition and driver behaviour minimizes the need for manual load sheets and reduces driver frustration. Asset and fleet-management tools that exchange data let operators know when and where machines are working compared with targets, so operators can make the right decision at the right time.
Although quarry productivity technology is becoming easier to use, operators should never underestimate the importance of selecting the right supplier and choosing a good local partner. Whether the quarry is a major producer with many sites or a single-site operation, having the right partners in place that can troubleshoot problems and have a grasp for the complete aggregate workflow is critical. Other best-practice adoption strategies include:
Keep it simple To start with, focus on a specific area of the quarry that needs optimization and work outwards from there. For instance, if extraction estimates are always in question, consider a solution such as a haul truck management system. Sophisticated monitors provide in-cab displays and sensor systems that collect production figures and payload data, without the need for manual tally sheets. A next step would be connecting these sensors to the Internet and using a production-management application with cloud reporting tools to highlight material movement issues. From there, reports would show haul truck activity, loading time and waiting time. Better data in one area allows operators to make key adjustments to variables such as cycle time and product ratios, which together have a big impact on meeting plant demands.
Focus on ROI Similarly, start on the area with the biggest opportunity for return on investment (ROI). For instance, running the pit loading operation at capacity can eliminate the cost of additional machines and trucks to support the excavator. Even small tweaks in the pit loading operation can eliminate load adjustments, the dumping of excess or turn-arounds during haulage, which can save significant money and time. When ROI is high, quarries can make additional investments incrementally, building the technology infrastructure methodically while mitigating risks.
Establish manageable benchmarks Set benchmarks during the adoption period to monitor progress. When technology used across the quarry is linked, operators have a historical perspective and analysis of data from multiple sources. This insight allows teams to better benchmark operational performance and then compare time periods, operator performance, product inventories and sites to identify cost drivers and opportunities.
Have a long-term plan While it is important to start small, having a long-term plan will ensure each technology component (ie machine control, scales and load-out applications), as well as the supporting infrastructure, is interoperable. The seamless, universal exchange of data is the foundation that will support the operation’s long-term goals for connectivity and optimized production.
While it may take several years to fully realize the benefits of Industry 4.0, many quarry operators are acting now to improve their operations. The vision for a more connected aggregates production process and real-time data sharing is no doubt driving quarry operators forward. By syncing data captured across the entire aggregates workflow, from pit to processing and then load-out, quarry managers will continue to benefit. Those aggregate operators that apply best practices and next-generation technology today will experience increased visibility across the production site as well as improvements to production efficiency, machine productivity and personal safety.
What will industry 4.0 mean to the quarry and construction industry future jobs. What will the new jobs be? When do we start training our young people? These are all questions that government need to put in education plan under Industry 4.0
We see Finland and Japan leading the development of 6G. Ireland needs to get involved in the roadmap and the conversation on the development of G6. VR and AR development with be come more proven into industry, using them for remote engineering exercise and operational, health and safety training training